Your Chromebook As The Ultimate Travel Device

Angela Randall 11-02-2014

If you’re trying to decide what sort of lightweight device to get Which Operating System Should You Choose for Your Next PC? Buying a new PC? You have more operating system choices than ever. Which is the best operating system for your computer? Read More for your next big trip, you may consider checking out Chromebooks Chromebooks – Useful or Useless? My wife gave me a choice of gadgets for Christmas – a new MP3 player, or a Chromebook? Read More . But why choose a Chromebook Looking For A New Laptop? Get A Chromebook Instead! Read More for travel specifically? Because, when it comes to travel, they are spot on.


No Data On Your Device

Since Chromebooks are designed to be used mostly online, you’re not lugging around a device full of applications and files. This means you’re not likely to lose all your coveted photos if someone steals your laptop. It also means no-one at border security will be able to arrest you for pirating software or entertainment (if you’re the sort of person who has that stuff on your computer).

Most importantly, the Chromebook setup means no-one can get access to your data – neither thieves nor border security. Border security could ask you to log in, but if you’re really concerned about this, you could reset the device or remove your account yourself before going through border security. A thief would have to break into your Google account in order to get anything sensitive out of having your laptop in their possession. Meanwhile, you could reset your password and would soon be able to replace your Chromebook, with everything just as it was.

Chrome travel touristeye

Either way, there is not a lot of data stored locally, so this is ideal for travel. Security of your data is one of the most important things to keep in mind when you’re travelling 8 Crucial Things You Should Know Before Travelling Abroad With Your Phone, Tablet, Or Laptop If you're about to go international with your smartphone, tablet and/or laptop there are a few things you should know before you go. You might need extra peripheral devices and plugs, entertainment and maps pre-downloaded,... Read More with a laptop.

Offline Access

Chromebooks have built-in media players, so you can load up a USB full of music or video for watching while you’re in transit. With seamless access to your Google Drive account, you could also potentially add files you will want to Google Drive, then download them when you can during your trip. Check out Google’s full list of supported media files for Chrome OS.


Chromebook offline apps

You can also use apps like Gmail offline to write email while you’re disconnected. There are dozens of other useful offline-enabled apps for Chrome, too. Check out everything you need to know about switching to a Chromebook Everything You Need To Know About Switching To A Chromebook Chromebooks run a slimmed-down operating system optimized for getting on the web with just the Chrome browser and Chrome apps. Can you switch to a Chromebook? Read More and check out Google’s guide to apps you’ll need for your Chromebook.

Chrome Travel Apps

Chrome has a great line in useful travel apps and extensions to use. Before your trip, you can use Chrome extensions to help you learn the language How To Use Chrome To Learn A Foreign Language While Browsing The Web One of the more natural ways to learn anything is to immerse oneself in that environment. In fact, if you stay in a foreign country for any length of time, you naturally pick up some... Read More , you can use Hipmunk and TouristEye to help you plan the trip, Mapnificent to check our the transit situation of your holiday destination, Al-Jazeera to keep up with news in English Al Jazeera's Chrome App Lets You Read English News Articles Watch A Live Stream [Chrome] Visually browse the latest news from Al Jazeera using Chrome. Explore the latest news by region, watch recent episodes of Al Jazeera's news programs or watch a live stream from the English version of the... Read More . You can also use Google Street view to check out the airports Preview International Airports And Train Stations Before You Travel On Google Street View Google Maps will now let you preview global transit locations, including 16 international airports, and over 50 train and subway stations using Google Street View. Your travel planning just got easier. Read More before you arrive. Also check out our Geek bucket list A Geek's Travel Bucket List Have you heard of a geek's travel bucket list? It's essentially a list of 50 places that every geek should try to visit before they leave this earth. Read More and international travel guide sites The 10 Best Free International Travel Guide Websites Read More while you’re preparing.



Gadgets To Have With You

Matt has written a great guide on using a Chromebook to work anywhere Low Budget Road Warrior - How To Work Anywhere For Next To Nothing Working on the road is sometimes necessary, yet often difficult on a budget. There are, however, some ways to reduce the costs of working away from home. Read More cheaply, detailing useful peripherals you should consider getting for your setup. In particular, consider getting a mobile hotspot device and a pocket router. Those things could be really handy when travelling. Especially if you hope to make money while you travel 4 Tips On How To Go Around The World With Your Travel Writing There are few careers that are more rewarding than writing. There are few pastimes that are more rewarding than travel. It's rare that the two intersect. Only a lucky -- nay exceptional -- few have... Read More .


What do you think of Chromebooks? Would you consider them ideal for travelling or not? Why?

Image Credits: TechnologyGuide Via Flickr


Related topics: Google Chrome, Travel.

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  1. Robert Concombre
    March 21, 2015 at 6:15 am

    Border crossing??? Much betterm a nice depository at the NSA cloud.

  2. Otis
    May 8, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    Thank you for this. I was considering a Chromebook for a while and have been doing a lot of research but your article is what sold me. I know this really isn't for everybody. I wouldn't want to bring my $1000+ laptop with me when traveling when all I want to do with it is maybe a little research or catch up on emails and social media. Not saying that 200 bucks isn't a lot of money but comparable to $1000 from $200 is a little more settling.

    • Angela A
      May 22, 2014 at 8:29 pm

      Great to hear it. I figure if the Chromebook got stolen it would be a bit of a pain, but not the end of the world. And that's perfect for travel!

  3. Peter F
    March 13, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    Surely the "best" travel device is a tablet? Small, light, decent battery, online/offline apps, decent storage space for a few movies/ tons of songs/ audio book/ pod casts etc (6 movies, 20x 8hour audio books on my Nexus 7 *2012* with 18Gb free space on top of the other stuff I have on there) I just don't understand the need for a chromebook apart from a handy cheap machine for students in reach of good wi-fi.
    Shame, because I think they have the capacity to be great... just not in their current format.

    • Angela A
      March 14, 2014 at 9:38 am

      Tablets are pretty good too. Not as good for typing unless you bring a keyboard, though. Also, security-wise you're logged in to numerous accounts directly and often only protected by a local password, pin or gesture. With the Google login, you can change your password elsewhere if you need to.

  4. dragonmouth
    March 13, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    "you’re not lugging around a device full of applications and files"
    Angela, dear, apps and files are only magnetic bits, they do not weigh anything so you are not "lugging" anything extra around. It's not as if you were "lugging around" their hard copy equivalents.

    If you cannot get a connection, Chromebook is just a paperweight. Oh, right. You can listen to music and play games that you have pre-loaded. With a laptop, even if you can't get a connection, you can do real work because you have direct access to your apps and data. And with a laptop, you are not limited to only Google applications.

    Chromebook is just a tablet with a keyboard.

    • Angela A
      March 14, 2014 at 9:46 am

      Ah, by "lugging around" I was referring to the physical device, not the data. In airports, etc, the word "lugging" comes to mind whenever I think of all the things I'm carrying. :)

      Anyway, my point being that on that device you're taking with you and sleeping on in Airport waiting rooms to stop people from stealing it, you could either have it filled with your data (which I find risky) or you could have it basically empty.

      The idea that Chromebooks are no good offline is a myth. There are plenty of apps that will let you work offline, so you're not just killing time listening to music. There are plenty of non-Google apps to use too.

      On another note, Chromebooks are very light to carry (especially when compared to regular laptops), so there's another travel bonus right there.

    • dragonmouth
      March 14, 2014 at 1:13 pm

      I do agree with you on the weight, Angela. However, the Ultrabooks are as light as Chromebooks but give you the capability of a laptop.

      If you are afraid of being "relieved" of your computer, then you should leave it at home. You DO carry your smart phone with you anywhere you go? Aren't you afraid that may be filched? Unless you are working for one of the intelligence agencies or have your entire life's history stored on the device, its theft will only mean the bother of physically replacing it.

    • Angela A
      March 16, 2014 at 8:41 am

      Yeah, I worry about my phone being stolen too. But mainly for the pain-in-the-arse factor. But that's travel. You expose yourself to thieves and are extra-vulnerable because you're usually carrying a little more than you normally would.

  5. Yves
    February 18, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    I did buy a Chromebook before leaving on an extended winter getaway, but I found I could not access my bank accounts. I guess I need to learn more about remote access and working offline. BTW for those that have 4G on their Chromebooks (which model would that be) did this come with the machine when you bought it and if not how did you add it? I ended up taking my Playbook which was not very useful and an i5 Windows 8 ASUS that was partially useful but quite cumbersome. The best thing I brought was probably a $70 Huawei Android phone that took decent pictures and backed them up regularly to Google plus. Travel apps on it were also quite useful and battery lasted two days with steady use.

    • Angela Alcorn
      February 19, 2014 at 10:46 am

      Yeah, you need internet access to get to your bank accounts. A lot of the newer Chromebooks come with 4G included, but you can easily find a USB 4G device or wireless option. Or look into sharing 3G/4G access with your computer from your phone.

  6. slow fingers
    February 18, 2014 at 4:39 am

    Good writeup, Angela. I also have a Sony Tap 11 (Win 8.1 tablet w/ keyboard) but I travel with my Chromebook C720 only. It does 90%+ what I need on the road including playing online games ;) . It's a machine that if stolen or damaged I don't feel bad at all; like you said, important stuff is in the cloud.

    I thought I know Windows and I too marveled what's packed into a Chrome book -- what offline apps can do, not so documented features like screen capture, keyboard short cuts, unbelievable battery life etc . Chromebooks are intended to eat into big M's OS sales and recent quarterly results are showing this. Never underestimate the "do no evil" company; and no I don't work for them. Cheers.

  7. cwsnyder
    February 16, 2014 at 12:11 am

    For an epub, I am presently using Calibre on Linux to convert from LibreOffice .odt file to epub.

    • Angela A
      February 16, 2014 at 7:02 am

      I think that's my next choice to try. Thanks for the vote for Calibre. :)

  8. Alexander
    February 13, 2014 at 6:12 am

    What's with all the naysayers? Try using one for reasonable period of time, then comment on them, Angela A is spot on with her review. My Chromebook is one of the best and most versatile devices I have bought, I must admit I was a little sceptical at first but having taken the plunge, I find that I use it rather than use my laptop, which is now almost redundant except for sorting and transferring files on my media server. This has been a fantastic purchase and yes it's a brilliant device to have when travelling, I either tether to my phone or use free wi-fi which is readily available almost everywhere these days.

    @ Jasray. For someone so against "Petty Western gadgets" and who "has never needed anything even remotely electronic", how the devil did you manage to get your comment online?? Maybe your Zen sent it telepathically!!

    • Angela A
      February 13, 2014 at 2:05 pm

      I do to! My Macbook sits unused for most of the time. I really only use it to make eBooks in Sigil now as I haven't yet found a good alternative for that in Chrome apps.

  9. Paleolith
    February 13, 2014 at 1:55 am

    I have an I7 Windows 8.1 PC with 12 GIG of ram. I bought a used Samsung Chromebook on Ebay as a toy. But I love the Chromebook. I use it more than my Windows PC. The only thing I dislike about the Chromebook is the Google Cloud print.

    • Angela A
      February 13, 2014 at 2:06 pm

      They really are a brilliant concept and well executed. These little machines do most of what I want so well.

    • Pierre
      February 13, 2014 at 2:56 pm

      Paleolith, I have been able to configure the google Cloud print on my Windows machine, who is attached to the printer and share that printer with all members of my family who need to prints from the different chromebook that we have. Is that the setting you have attempted to use?

      The google cloud print is still beta and I too faced some issues, and still facing some. I hope you will find a solution to your problem.

      Have you tried the Remote Desktop application from google that allow you to take possession of your Windows machine from your chromebook and this even if your PC is not in the same network as your chromebook? This is how I access my windows machine now, I have even removed the screen from my PC!! Brilliant technology.

  10. Pierre
    February 13, 2014 at 12:53 am

    Every time I read an article about the chromebook I can't wait to spot in the comment section which comment will say that "you should buy a windows RT instead" or "Useless thing without a Wifi".

    Some people don't understand the chromebook basically because they think their needs are what should be everyone else's need. This is not the case and that's why they don't understand what kind of users the chromebook is targetting.

    Some people try to compare the chromebook with a Macbook. Or compare the chromebook with Windows. The macbook and the Windows machines are more capable OS, you can definitively do more with those machines. But not everyone want to do more. Why buy a car when you can buy a mini-van? With a mini-van you can do much more, you can have more people in it, you can bring large box with it... So, why buying a car?

    Same thing with OSes. My parents really don't need a machine that requires regular maintenance and a regular verification that an anti-virus is properly running and has the latest version of the virus signature. Nor to update adobe because of a security issue. They just want to read their facebook page and their email, and to check the weather, and to check some news... all available on the web.

    The chromebook is an internet machine. You can't surf the web in a plane. OK. But you can continue to write your novel, your article, your report, your long document for the job, your email to your friend. You can do that on a PC too, but even on the chromebook. I think you can also play angry bird without an internet connection...

    Oh by the way the reason why I was attracted to this article is that it highlight something that just happened in my house. My wife, who I don' t consider geek at all, is frequently travelling and she just start asking me to bring my chromebook instead of her iPad.

    She can put her camera SD card in it to transfer photos to google+ photo... can't do that with the iPad.

    She find it more efficient to write long email and reports on the chromebook. She can do that on the iPad too.

    I am not saying the chromebook is better than the iPad. Just that for my wife, she now prefer the chromebook to the iPad when she travel.

    • Angela A
      February 13, 2014 at 2:03 pm

      Fantastic response. I can't believe the iPad can't upload to g+ easily. What a pain!

      But yes, the Chromebook is a lot better than a tablet if you have writing to do, for sure.

    • Pierre
      February 13, 2014 at 2:46 pm

      Angela, it is not that the iPad cannot upload to g+ easily, it is that the photos that we have been taken with a camera and are stored in the sd card of the camera. You can't take the SD card from the camera to the iPad, but you can to the chromebook.

      The Google+ iPad/iPhone application support uploading the photos stored on those device. Actually, I highly recommand the Auto backup feature of the google+ application to make sure that each single photos are uploaded to our google+ account automagically, to make sure to never lost any photos.

    • Angela A
      February 15, 2014 at 10:12 am

      Of course, SD card access. Yes that is a pain. :)

  11. jasray
    February 12, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    Really the best travel device isn't a computer or smartphone or camera or any of those petty Western gadgets that foreign locals will see as a HUGE sign across the backpack or duffelbag, "Hey, I'm rich and could really care less about your culture." I rarely even wear a watch on what I consider traveling. And I've never needed anything even remotely electronic.

    If we are referring to travel within the States, then maybe I would need a phone. I guess businessmen would need that 24/7 connection (or think they need it). The sad thing I see in airports and in the air is that no one really knows how to carry on a face-to-face conversation anymore. Empty minds filled with fun games. Maybe that's Zen in disguise. Certainly, a change from only five years ago.

    • Angela A
      February 13, 2014 at 2:00 pm

      This is true, too. But, for those of us who need the devices in order to work at their destination, Chromebooks are a good one. :)

  12. Rowan
    February 12, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    I can only presume those that scoff at chrome books haven't tried one.
    Admittedly it's not for the super user - but if you're not one - what a magic machine.
    No maintenance - no Microsoft bloat - no virus worries - no backup worries- just does it's job!
    It's not for everyone - just most people.

    • Angela A
      February 13, 2014 at 1:59 pm

      For people who live in the cloud they are brilliant.

  13. Bill M
    February 12, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    We have 2 Acer 710's in the house. And they work awesome. I look at it this way if they are SOOO bad why are all these Microsoft people trying to convince theirs is sooo much better? No complaints, no viruses, Google drive rocks (phone,pc and Chromebook share it) and all for 199.00 yeah send me a Chromebook anyday.

    • Angela A
      February 13, 2014 at 1:56 pm

      That was pretty much my reasoning too. :)

    • dragonmouth
      March 13, 2014 at 6:08 pm

      Bill M:
      "why are all these Microsoft people trying to convince theirs is sooo much better?"
      Because Microsoft wants everybody to buy THEIR device and not use the competition's. Why does Pepsi try to convince people that their soda is "sooo much better?"

    • Bill M
      March 13, 2014 at 7:50 pm

      The Pepsi thing would hold up if in their ads they stated that Coke sucked and tastes bad. Pepsi can try and tell you their product is better than their competition but I would frown on Pepsi as well if they directly attacked Coke or whomever. It's just bad taste, forgive the pun.

  14. Mark M
    February 12, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    Good job on the article
    I just can't believe all of the haters that refuse to recognize the chrome book as a tool that can do over 95% of what most people do when they are on a computer

    • Angela A
      February 13, 2014 at 1:55 pm

      I think all the people who haven't tried Chromebooks read this first, only to be followed by a wave of Chromebook lovers. Seriously, I think they just don't really see what they're missing.

    • dragonmouth
      March 13, 2014 at 6:04 pm

      Mark M:
      Not "haters", just posters with a different opinion.

      Most people do not need a computer and never will, all they need is a tablet with a keyboard, i.e. a Chromebook.

  15. Tim D
    February 12, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    I have an actual CR-48, one of the lucky ones. When I'm tired of dealing with linux distros I re-flash it back to Chrome OS. It works for me at home and away at work. I have a server at home that I use for most things: videos, pictures, music, downloads. I can also VPN if need be. It boot faster than my tablet and runs web apps better than anything else.

    • Angela A
      February 13, 2014 at 2:07 pm

      Sweet setup!

  16. Shawn
    February 12, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    I have a chromebook and I love it. This article is spot-on. With 3G built in I can get online just about anywhere that I want. Not sure what all the negativity is about but as a user it works great for me. As a military guy I travel quite a bit and it goes everywhere with me. Not to mention if I need a file or program on my home computer I can remote in and use it from anywhere.

    • Angela A
      February 12, 2014 at 3:47 pm

      With 3G as well, you are rocking the travel Chromebook. Too easy!

    • Shawn
      February 12, 2014 at 5:34 pm

      Actually I mis-typed. It has 4G.

  17. Anoop
    February 12, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    i don't think chrome book can be an ultimate travel device, wake up

    • Angela A
      February 12, 2014 at 3:46 pm

      Try one - it might not seem like it at first, but they are great for modern travel.

  18. Anoop
    February 12, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    are you serious... :-(

  19. Seath
    February 11, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    I wonder how much Google payed you to write this article! This is just wrong.

    • Angela A
      February 12, 2014 at 3:45 pm

      Oh, I wish. :)

  20. Dan B
    February 11, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    This is laughable. You're entirely dependent on having WIFI. Most planes and trains don't offer that yet.
    So using this for travel makes no sense. at all.

    • Angela A
      February 12, 2014 at 3:41 pm

      As mentioned in the article, there are lots of useful offline apps for Chromebooks. You really don't need WiFi.

    • Shawn
      February 12, 2014 at 5:36 pm

      My Chromebook has 4G included with 200mb a month free.

    • Aaron
      February 12, 2014 at 5:47 pm

      I always have my phone with me and simply tether my chromebook to that.

  21. fousy
    February 11, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    Why limit yourself with a browser on the go? I rather buy a full Windows 8 device. If its about battery life, I would choose a RT device.

    • Angela A
      February 12, 2014 at 3:45 pm

      Battery life is great for the RT, but I found it to be irritating in many ways. For instance, not being able to use a browser other than IE and being unable to use extensions like Lastpass in their ideal way (it's there, but not ideal).

    • James V
      February 22, 2014 at 2:07 am

      Put a real Linux on it instead.

      "Full Windows 8...." Full of what? Oh, I know.