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How do you make sure your laptop doesn't get stolen while traveling? Tips?

How do you make sure that your laptop does not get stolen while traveling? We will be doing all of our work on laptops so we want to make sure they will not get stolen. Do you carry it at all times? It seems like that can be hard to do. What if when we leave our stuff in our hotel or hostel? Any advice or tips?

12 Answers

top answer by
Christopher from Melbourne

I work from cafes, libraries, hotel lobbies and anywhere else where I can get Internet and a power point. When I started this, I was paranoid and always locked it away whenever I couldn't be near it. This was particularly troublesome as I'd need to pack everything up just to go to the loo - this started to become an issue especially when I'd have curry the night before and I didn't really have time to stick everything in my backpack.

In the end, I learned three valuable things:

1. You can trust people.

Need to go to the loo? Ask someone to keep an eye on your stuff. A smile works wonders and you might make a new friend.

2. Laptops are just stuff.

Sure, things may get stolen, sucks to be you when that happens. So what? Take this opportunity to cash in on that expensive travel insurance you paid for an get yourself a brand new shiny toy. Just make sure that all your stuff is backed up. This applies to non travelers as well.

Backup. Backup. Backup. Backup. Backup. Backup. Backup. Backup. Backup. Backup. Backup. Backup. Backup. Backup. Backup. Backup. Backup. Backup. Backup. Backup. ALWAYS.

Plus, make sure that your computer and external drives are encrypted. If they do get stolen, people try to steal your identity. If they see it is encrypted, they won't bother. Sure, there are ways around security steps, but they aren't going to waste their time unless they know you're some millionaire or US diplomat.

3. Don't be an idiot.

If you're in a dodgy place, don't flash around your expensive gear. Don't make yourself a target and be mindful of where you are and who you're with. Criminals don't target everyone. They target stupid people. 

In the end, all you need is common sense and a little bit of trust. Sure, carrying around a pacsafe security system with padlocks and alarms may help but that'll eventually drive you mad.

- grum

4 thankscomments (4)

answered by
Stines from Tilburg, Netherlands

It is not possible to make sure your laptop doesn't get stolen. Try to always use the safe in your room. If there is no safe or locker with a secure lock you might consider leaving it at front desk. If it is a sketchy hotel maybe you shouldn't do that either.

2 thanks

answered first by
Rasto from Edmonton

Hi Nina,

there is not really 100% proof system that would prevent your stuff from being stolen if you are staying in a low/mid-range budget accommodation or generally when traveling and moving around a lot using public transportation. If someone really wants to steal your belongings, they will do it either by force or by taking advantage while you are not there.

I would suggest:

  1. Always backup your work both to the cloud and on external drive or USB stick which you can carry around while your laptop is unattended in your hostel room.
  2. Have an emergency fund $1,000 or whatever needed that would allow you to buy a new laptop if it gets stolen and installation sw packages crucial to your work in the cloud so you can download them and install it on a replaced laptop.
  3. Worry more about your laptop when on a bus or train and your luggage is out of your sight rather than when left unattended in your room. I stayed in dozens of better or worse hostels/hotels during my trips and except one dirty towel nothing ever got stolen from me. But I got mugged on the bus.

Traveling taught me never carry more than I absolutely need and with things I will not cry for when they get stolen. I travel to explore and experience new cultures and countries not to replicate comfort I have at home. The less gadgets on my trips, the better. I have more than enough of that in my daily life. Guess it's a bit different story when you travel and work at the same time which is I assume your case.

2 thanks

answered by
Emily from Los Angeles

I think it really depends where you are traveling and where you are staying. But in any case - if you know the people around you a little bit, they are much less likely to steal your stuff!

If it's light enough - take it with you. If not, just realize that there is a chance it will get nicked and go about your travels anyway.

There were a few times I felt compelled to sleep hugging my possessions - but that was mostly on overnight trains and that type of thing.  Or if you are a light enough sleeper - you can slip something thin under your pillow to keep it safe.

Good luck - and even if your stuff gets stolen, don't let a few jerks ruin your time. Just think of all the people who didn't steal your stuff!

1 thanks

answered by
James from Calgary

Before you travel backup your laptop and keep a copy on an external drive at home, some people who are away for long periods of time will ship an updated backup on an external drive home.

If your flying or taking a bus you can either lock your laptop bag or place it under the seat in front of you. 

If your going to be bringing your laptop to a cafe or a restaurant keep your laptop under the table between your legs it's more secure then placing it in an empty chair beside you.   

If your staying at a hostel unless you can trust everyone staying in the same room it's best to take your laptop with you. However if your staying at a brand name hotel (ex. Best Western, Hyatt, etc...) you can just leave your laptop in the hotel and place the Do Not Disturb sign on the door that usually works for me. 

1 thanks

answered by
Jüri from Tallinn, Estonia

Don't take it with You! :)

1 thanks

answered by

ONLY leave in your room inside the safe which most rooms have!

answered by
Hazel from Port St. Lucie

I never had a problem. I always carry on rolling computer case. Has all my office supplies prepacked. Plus one complete outfit. Plus phone cords. Plus all cords plus brand new extension cord. Never Never Never out during flight. Turned off during flight. My feet are on it. Also l pack scarf, mask, earphones, tissues in it. Also nail file, scissors and sharpies. Plus IKEA pillow for travel.

answered by
Steve from San Francisco

You can leave your stuff like laptops etc. in a reliable hotel/hostel as there your stuff should remain safe or as the alternative you can deposit the same in cloak room of the hotel. 

answered by
Theresa from Hollywood

As everyone's mentioned you can't prevent it from being stolen...but I suggest getting travel insurance! It's a small investment that can end up really saving you major bucks in the end.

answered by
Tobias from Morpeth, Northumberland

I highly recommend installing some software such as

This wont prevent your laptop getting stolen but will make it more likely that you can retrieve it.

answered by
Pawan from Delhi

Stay In 5 star hotels. If not, than leave your laptop at the concierge or front desk and get a receipt of your luggage.

comments (1)

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