Travel Laptops For Backpackers & Digital Nomads

A digital nomad works on her laptop in Southeast Asia.

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If like me, your work and travel life are intertwined, then you know the importance of finding the best laptop for travel!

My laptop is the ultimate command zone, and I need to be able to rely on it at all costs. Theoretically, any laptop should suit the purpose of travel, or so it would seem, right? Portability alone makes laptops the obvious choice over desktops for us digital nomads. All laptops are not created equal, however, as cliché as that may sound.

To effectively and conveniently play the role of work and travel companion, a laptop needs to meet certain specifications. 

What are the key features of the best travel laptop?

Choosing a new laptop takes a lot of thought, in the first place, so it’s helpful to pinpoint the features that will directly influence your travel experience. Keep your energy focused on these features during your search:

  • Weight: You’ll be carrying your laptop during every destination transition and to different spots wherever you’re settled. You’re bound to find beautiful places to work from as you trek around the world, so you want a lightweight laptop that will be comfortable to tote to and from each picturesque ‘office.’ 
  • Size: While laptops with larger screens may be ideal for watching videos or movies, they aren’t exactly compact or optimally portable. To keep your travels light and smooth, think about choosing a 10-inch laptop or an 11-inch laptop.
  • Battery Life: Imagine yourself working to meet your next deadline from a beachfront café terrace. You don’t want to be dependent on your power cord, so a laptop with a long battery life is essential to get the most out of your travels.
  • Storage Capacity: Don’t get too hung up on the storage space of your travel laptop. Realistically, compact models will have less space, but you can always use a cloud drive or portable hard drive for extra storage.
  • 2-in-1: If you’re looking for flexibility in terms of how you use your laptop, consider investing in a 2-in-1 model. This type of laptop will function as a traditional clamshell model and as a tablet.
  • Cost: Your laptop is your money, sure, but that doesn’t mean that you need to break the bank to secure a reliable travel model. Know your price range ahead of time and stick to it. There are plenty of options to be found for all budgets. Plus, you don’t want to be travelling with the most expensive machine available in case of theft, damage or breakage. (You’ll definitely want to get travel insurance for it too.)

How your work should influence your travel laptop choice.

Depending on the type of work you do, your processing speed and power needs will vary. While having a laptop that runs smoothly with fast processes is ideal for anyone, there are some types of work which require better power and speed than others.

For example, if your work is video editing, the quality of your productions will depend on your laptop’s processing speed and power. Whereas, blog writing is something that can be successfully managed even if your laptop isn’t the fastest one on the block.

Keep your eyes peeled for the details on the laptop’s clock speed, which indicates how fast the processor runs, and cache, which lets you know about the onboard memory capacity.

Despite all the glamorous beach + laptop shots, working on the beach isn’t kind to your laptop! (Sand + Heat + Salt!)

So, you’ve thought a little bit about the specs you’ll need in a laptop to make it your ideal travel companion, now check out your best options.

Top 5 Travel Laptops on

1. Acer Chromebook CB3 11.6-inch

Another reliable Acer option, this Chromebook is slim and lightweight for effortless transport. The Acer laptop 11 inch boasts up to 9 hours of battery life for your working convenience. For a very affordable price, you will benefit from smooth and fast processing, as well as a speedy wireless connection.

The keyboard has a full size feel for comfortable typing. In addition to the clear and bright display, you can listen to your favourite music while you work through the stereo-style built-in speakers.

2. HP Stream Laptop PC 

Reliability and basic performance abilities are key for any digital nomad, and the HP Stream Laptop is an excellent choice fulfilling those necessities. This laptop has Bluetooth capability, a battery life of almost 11 hours, and the added bonus of one year of Office 365 Personal use included! 

Though it is very thin and lightweight, the processor works fast, and you will not deal with delays and lagging while you work. Available in vibrant blue and purple options, this laptop brings productivity and joy. A word of advice: make sure you invest in a portable hard drive to have enough internal storage space for the laptop’s optimal functioning.

3. Apple MacBook Pro 13.3-Inch 

For Mac lovers, the MacBook Pro is an obvious choice, and practical for travel, as well. With up to 7 hours of battery life, you will be able to work while inspired by the beautiful landscapes of your various destinations.

If your work requires fast processing, choosing the MacBook Pro is a good way to go. Even if you’re switching from a PC, you will get the hang of the software faster than you think. Though it’s not as lightweight as some other options, the MacBook Pro is a dependable and fully functioning laptop.

4. Dell i3168-3272GRY 11.6″ HD 2-in-1

When you’re looking for a multipurpose laptop, the Dell 2-in-1is a reliable choice that will allow you to get your work done easily. This 11-inch model uses Windows 10 and has a touchscreen option for added convenience.

For a writer looking for a lightweight and versatile machine, this Dell fits the bill. Besides getting your work done, you can also enjoy music and movies on this laptop. The one thing to keep in mind, is that the color balance in the screen isn’t great, which means if your work depends on photo editing, you may want to look elsewhere.

5. ASUS Transformer Book T101HA

The ASUS laptop 10 inch is another 2-in-1 option that comes in the most compact size you’re likely to find without sacrificing functionality. This laptop is very slim, lightweight and compact, and you could even carry it in your backpack without needing a separate carrying case.

With a battery life that will last throughout a whole day, you’ll be able to work at your own leisure as you make your way from café to beach to home base. The option to use a pen for more creative tasks is helpful, and Windows 10 runs smoothly.

Top 5 Travel Laptops on

1. Acer Chromebook 14 CB3-431 

The Acer laptop 14 inch is made with all aluminum alloy housing, making it durable yet sleek. When it comes to travelling, this Chromebook is an ideal choice in terms of its compact portability. The laptop is thin and lightweight, which means that you can carry it with you easily to any working spot.

This laptop is a reliable choice for most work, as the processor is fast and runs smoothly. With up to 12 hours of battery life, you will be able to work anywhere you want throughout your day.

2. Apple MacBook Air 11-inch Laptop 

If you prefer Macs, generally, and want to carry the software with you during your travels, consider the ultrathin MacBook Air. This 11-inch laptop combines the compact size you need for easy transport with quality performance to keep your work up to par.

The MacBook Air works with the newest Intel processors and gives you up to 9 hours of battery life to work with. In terms of value, this is a great choice for designers and editors who prefer Apple software.

3. Microsoft Surface Pro 12.3-Inch 

To take advantage of the best of both worlds, the Microsoft Surface Pro is a laptop that doubles as a tablet, giving you total flexibility in how and where you work. A reliable option for writers, the Surface Pro has a strong reserve of up to 13.5 hours of battery life.

When you’re feeling creative and want to connect to your content with your hands, you can switch from keyboard input to using the Windows Ink workspace with a compatible pen.

4. Lenovo IdeaPad 110S 11.6-Inch

For a tight budget and specific purposes to be met, you can check out the Lenovo IdeaPad. Operating with Windows 10, this 11-inch notebook gives you what you need, without unnecessary extras. The display is crystal clear and processing performance is smooth and reliable.

If you’re looking for a basic system that gets the job done, this could be the right option. Choose your favourite colour, travel to your next destination, connect to WiFi and enjoy the working experience.

5. Dell XPS 13 13.3-Inch 

The Dell XPS notebook gives you the benefit of a slightly larger screen, 13-inches, while remaining super lightweight, at just 1.2kg. This laptop runs Intel Core i7 as its processor, which means that it is a practical choice for people in all fields of work, including video editing and graphic design.

Each Dell XPS laptop was cut from a single block of aluminium for a neat look and lasting durability. With a battery life which lasts, on average, up to 17 hours, your remote working will be as flexible as you’d like.

Find the perfect travel companion!

Your travel laptop will dictate your work experience and productivity, so don’t make this decision lightly. Spend some time really thinking about what your workload and schedule will look like while you’re travelling. Once you’ve painted a clear picture of what you need, set out and find the right laptop for you. Cheers to remote work and seaside offices!

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Hannah Rivera is a freelance writer and Clinical Psychology graduate student. She left the hustle and bustle of New York City and made her way to Athens, Greece for a tastier and more relaxed lifestyle. When she’s not writing, Hannah spends time volunteering and feeding Athens’ street cats and dogs. Are you interested in writing for us?

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