I deliberately avoided bringing a laptop with me to America last summer but ended up regretting it. I had this rose-tinted preconception that I wouldn't need nor want constant access to the internet to get by, but I was mistaken for three main reasons:
  1. Planning. Being able to book things like accommodation and transport whilst on the move is really useful.
  2. Phonecalls. I spent a silly amount of money on phonecalls when I needn't have spent any. Google voice lets you call any landline or cellphone within the USA or Canada for free and Skype lets you call any other Skype user worldwide for free. Both offer ridiculously cheap calls (less than 3¢ per minute) to UK landlines.
  3. Blogging. Writing blogs is near-impossible without internet access.
Fortunately for me, the lovely American couple I lodged with let me borrow their own laptop for blogging purposes whenever they weren't using it. It quickly became more a case of me allowing them to borrow it whenever I wasn't using it, but it still wasn't particularly convenient. I've learnt my lesson and will bring my own this year.

Except I don't currently own a laptop. Or rather, I didn't until a couple of weeks ago when my parents bought me one for my birthday at my request. I'd given them the following requirements:
  1. Small. I'll need to drag this thing around with me wherever I go, ideally without causing irreparable damage to my spine. I wanted something like this, not like this or this.
  2. Cheap. There's no point forking out £2,099 for something I'm only ever going to use to store photos and write blogs on. Besides, it will inevitably be stolen by a hotel room cleaner or pulverised by baggage handlers at some point, and my travel insurance only pays out a maximum of £200 per doomed electrical item.
  3. Good battery life. For entertainment on long coach/train/plane/ferry/horseback journeys lacking power sockets.
I ended up with an Asus Eee PC, which ticks all the boxes very nicely. It's dinky, cost only £220 (almost the price of my phone bill from last summer, incidentally) and supposedly lasts eleven hours between charges. As a bonus, it looks quite nice and runs much faster than I'd expected. I'm really happy with it.