Computer Vacation

June 1, 2009

When you go on vacation, you might want to keep up with your e-mail, facebook, and other online communications. Plus, it’s nice to have web access when you are on vacation so you can find things to do or find a good restaurant to go to. So what are the ways you can do that?

First you need a device capable of accessing the internet and the web. Many phones will do this. Blackberrys and other phones can access your e-mail, view web pages, and so forth. But they are limited. A cell phone might do for many people, but for others, it’s just not enough when you are on vacation. Many hotels have an office area where customers can go and use a computer, access the web, etc. But it’s not convenient. You may go down to the lobby only to find that they are all full.

No, for many of us, it’s best to bring a laptop along with us on vacation. If you don’t have a laptop, you might want to look into a netbook.  A netbook is a small, inexpensive laptop that is great for travelling. One good netbook is the Acer Aspire One. You can get one for around $300. They aren’t fit to be your normal workstation and you won’t be able to play graphics intensive games on it, but it’s great for travelling.

Now that you have a laptop, you will need a connection to the internet. Many hotels and condos provide free internet access. Some charge though, so try and book your reservations someplace that has free internet access. Some have wired, some have wireless. Wireless is nice, but wired is OK too. You just have to use the computer in one particular spot. If you aren’t able to find lodging with internet access, there is one other option. Many cell phones can act as a modem. You hook your phone up to the laptop and access the internet over your cell phone. Not all cell phones have this feature and you must have an internet plan on your phone.

Some hotels offer free wireless internet in the lobby, but not in the rooms. So you might have to take your laptop down to the lobby and use it there. Another option is to go to a business that provides internet access. Places like Schlotskys and Starbucks.

Now that you have a laptop and it’s connected to the internet, you may want to know the best way to access your Email. No matter what your e-mail address is or how you normally access it, you can access it through the web. The problem here is that any Email you already read on your home computer, won’t be visible there. Another problem is that if you read it on the web, it may never download to your home computer. You can set up the Email program on your laptop to download your Email, but you have to set up the settings correctly or your e-mail will never reach your home computer. One drawback to this method is that your inbox could fill up on your internet provider’s server.

The method I recommend is remote access. Basically, use your laptop as a remote terminal to access your home computer. This is the same type of software we use for remote support. It allows you to use your computer just as if you were sitting in front of it. Just leave  your home computer turned on when you leave.

For businesses with a server, you can use Remote Workplace to access your e-mail and calendar while you are away.

And by the way, if you run into trouble with your computer while you are on vacation, give us a call. We can remotely support your computer over the internet.

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