Financial Travel Tip #89: Protecting Your Laptop and Data While Traveling

by Nora on July 20, 2013


Last week we touched on security while managing online savings accounts effectively. And if you’re traveling with a laptop (more so if your laptop is your career), you need to protect your laptop and data against all kinds of perils from hacking, to total systems failure, to loss, theft, and damage.


Protecting Your Laptop

I’ve got custom decals on my laptop to prevent scratches, a rubberized shell for little knocks, a keyboard cover for dust and (very) light spills, and a super-protective case for transporting (which in turn, slips into my theft-deterring daypack).


I may be a wee bit over-the-top, but since my computer is the reason I can travel full-time in a financially sustainable way, I’m going to wrap it in every bit of protection I can find.

I used to say that I would throw myself in front of a bus to save my laptop, save for the fact that without me, my laptop wouldn’t be much good.

So now, I just protect my laptop as best I can.



Protecting Your Data

I’m equally as pedantic about backing up my data as I am about protecting my laptop. I’m not a fan of working solely in the cloud; I don’t know when online access might be stymied (as can happen on the road), and call me a dinosaur – but I’m not comfortable with “everything” being online.


Having said that, pretty much everything I have is stored online…somewhere.

-insert foot into mouth-

I’ve described how and where I back up different kinds of data; I use both online and offline methods.

And in classic Nora-style, I add an extra layer of protection to it all with my little USB stick trick.


But I’m not nearly as effective at protecting my data as Anil Polat of Foxnomad is. I interviewed him (a couple of years ago) in the below post, and his advice inspired my own data protection plan – which continues to work like a charm.

Protecting Your Laptop & Sensitive Information Abroad


Anil recently released a new edition to his popular Tech Guide for Travelers, which I recommend if you plan on being reliant on a laptop while traveling.



Some related Financial Travel Tips you might be interested in:

Financial Travel Tip #39: Backing Up Your Stuff

Financial Travel Tip #38: Total Travel Protection With the USB Stick Trick

Financial Travel Tip #6: Managing Finances Securely While Traveling



{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Christoffer Moen July 21, 2013 at 2:34 am

Great tips! Especially about protecting your data. For me its standard procedure when out on a trip to backup my photos or any important doc to cloud storage and man has it helped a lot clearing up space on my hard drive. Keep the tips coming! Cheers.


2 theprofessionalhobo July 21, 2013 at 10:26 am

Hi Christoffer – Thank you!
So does that mean you remove your photos and important docs from your computer/hard drive and leave them entirely in the cloud when you travel? (That’s what I’m scared of – I keep files on my computer as well as physical external hard drives).


3 Christoffer Moen July 24, 2013 at 11:47 pm

You’re welcome! Like you the ones on cloud are mainly backups or temporary/disposable files.. I still keep the main ones in an external drive..oh lordy, it’s pretty scary losing all that data puff in a smoke just thinking about it gives me the heebie-jeebies! 🙂


4 theprofessionalhobo July 25, 2013 at 9:19 am

Ha ha – heebie-jeebies indeed…we are cut from the same cloth then! 🙂


5 Jocelyn July 25, 2013 at 7:49 am

We use an external hard drive and also back up pictures to the cloud. Our challenge is we do a lot of videos so we have a ton of huge files we can’t load to the cloud… so we’re very dependent on our external hard drive! I think we’re going to get a new one soon, copy everything over, and mail it back – so we have a back up of a back up!


6 theprofessionalhobo July 25, 2013 at 9:26 am

Hi Jocelyn – For backing up videos of unlimited size, you might be interested in what I use: Zenfolio is a site for backing up photos (and now video too)…the Unlimited plan is $60/year, and I use it for backing up photos and videos – as well as hosting photos on my site (which improves load time). If I were so inclined, I could also use it as a site for selling my photos (but my photos aren’t that good!).

Check it out under the “Photos” heading on this post below; it includes a discount code for 10% off.


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