Painful laptop theft has opened my eyes and made me realize a number of things I didn’t take into account when I was buying my first laptop for travel. Samsung Q320 was a beautiful machine and it worked like a charm. I loved absolutely everything about it and it would have been my day to day companion for a very long time had it not been stolen. Fact of a matter is, when I was buying it, I took into an account everything but the fact that I will be traveling through the third world countries with it and once you spend an extended period of time in a country where 80% of people who see you are looking for an opportunity to steal from you, it only becomes a question of time before someone succeeds. You cannot be 100% alert and suspicious all the time. And what’s worse, people in third world countries will use the fact that this is where they live so they will portray themselves as extremely disadvantaged to make you want to help them and when you do that, you set yourself up cause that’s when you’re most vulnerable.
Samsung Q320 was the best laptop available on Canadian market at the time of purchase. It was also the best value for money and an insane powerhouse which would allow me to do any kind of work wherever in the world I would be. That’s why I bought it – I went for power, for a machine with which I could do absolutely anything while still keeping the size at around 13″. However, even though Q320 was an amazing value for money, the price tag was at $1,299 CAD. That is a lot of money to lose and that’s what I didn’t add to the equation. Laptops are slick, easy to grab items with narrow profiles which make them easy to hide. There is no wonder that there is one laptop stolen every 53 seconds in the USA alone. What it is on a worldwide scale I’m afraid to imagine. Laptops are plain and simple easy to steal and high demand makes them easy to sell. What better motivation could seasoned or opportunistic thieves need?
You can count on the fact that 90% of people in the third world countries who will see you using a laptop will have all kind of thoughts running through their heads. This one slick, easy to steal product could make them more money even if heavily undersold than they can make in 6 months of daily employment. Cell phones are as attractive, but their worth is lesser than that of a laptop which makes laptops so much more desirable. A thief would have to make 5 or more successful cell phone pulls to make the money equal to one successful laptop pull. If I were a thief, I’d specialize in laptops too.
This is one of the most important things to consider when buying a new laptop. If you are going to travel overseas with it, especially if you are intending to visit third world countries, take into account the possibility that your laptop could get stolen. This possibility is real, very real. Once again, you can’t be 100% alert 100% of the time and with so many people waiting around for an opportunity to steal something, one of them is going to succeed sooner or later. Look at me, I had my laptop stolen by a hitchhiker I offered a ride to because she would have been stuck without one. I offered help to a person in need and she used it to steal from me. Previously I would not even as much as not strap my laptop bag over my head and across the shoulder, but all it takes is that one moment you let your guards down and bam – laptop is gone.
From this point on, I knew that I’m only gonna buy an inexpensive netbook for travel overseas. Netbooks are lighter and smaller and should mine get stolen, direct financial loss will go into hundreds of dollars rather than thousands. Yes, I will be limited as to the use and capabilities, but unless there would be a secured financial prospect that requires more processing power, memory and larger screen, I will stick with a netbook for up to $400. On top of $1,299 + tax I lost with my stolen laptop, I also lost $300 I spent on extended warranty. This pushed the loss to more than $1,600. This is not the loss I can ever afford again. However for as long as I’m traveling through third world countries, the possibility of having my property stolen remains high. If you stay in a third world country long enough, it will not be a question of whether you will get something stolen from you, it will be a question of when.
In my home country of Canada, 90% of worries that you could be a victim of theft are unfounded. However once as a foreigner you enter a third world country, 90% of beliefs that no one will steal from you are unfounded. Don’t be a fool. I had to learn my lesson the hard way and am still suffering from painful consequences. Don’t buy a laptop worth thousands of dollars to take with you on the road overseas. Go with as cheap as possible one. If it gets the job done, it’s fine. In order to keep your blog updated, download and upload images, do basic image editing and maintain your MP3 player, all you need is the cheapest netbook you can find. That’s the best laptop to buy to travel overseas with, that’s what you need to keep in mind when buying new portable computer.