Must-have apps for the travelling geek

Gadget fetishists have long known the virtues of packing a notebook PC when travelling.

Thanks to increasingly tough luggage weight restrictions, more folks are choosing not to cram already bulging cabin baggage with portable DVD players, e-book readers, iPods, cell phones, PDAs and memory card readers, packing a notebook PC instead.

Not only are notebook PCs now slimmer and lighter than ever, they're also versatile and can do the job of most standalone gadgets.

Versatility and security issues may see increasing numbers of laptops clocking up serious frequent flyer miles, but that's only half the story.

Having the wrong applications installed on your laptop can quickly transform your big Overseas Experience into an overwhelmingly excruciating experience. Here's a list of must have apps to install on your notebook PC prior to departure..

Click here or the image to the right for the best travel gadgets

Choosing the right travel notebook PC

Choosing a good travel companion notebook PC needn't be a traumatic task. There are a huge number of affordable yet practical notebooks available so balancing tight budgets and functionality isn't too tough provided you follow these simple guidelines:

Size: You needn't trade weight for functionality. Acer's Timeline range is a great example of this. Not only are they Jenny Craig thin and light, but they also have the right specs where they count. An ultra bright screen, dual layer DVD-writer combine with a roomy hard drive, zippy processor and an energy efficient design to give you up to 8 hours battery life.

Warranties: Make sure any notebook you choose has an international warranty (and is also covered by your travel insurance). Buying one not supported in the countries you're visiting is just asking for trouble.

Power: With mains supplies ranging from 110 to 240 volts, a universal power supply is a must, most notebook power adaptors tend to be multi-voltage, but check before purchasing just in case. Power spikes and electricity brown-outs are particularly frequent in most developing countries and can fry unprotected PCs, so buying a small plug-sized surge protector is a no brainer.

Networking: Because you're bound to encounter situations where connecting wirelessly with Wi-Fi simply isn't possible, check for an Ethernet port. Most cyber cafes are happy to hook you up using an Ethernet connection.

DVD: In many instances, changing the region code on your notebook PC's DVD drive more than four times can make the last change permanent. Before plunking down any cash check to see if your notebook PCs DVD drive is region free or if not, find out what brand of DVD drive it is equipped with. A quick check on can quickly tell you if it can be updated to permanent region-free status. A composite and HDMI video output plus cables will also let you watch DVDs on your hotel room TV.

Source: NZ Herald