Hokkaido trip preperation 7: Bringing a computer along

A laptop. Deciding to bring it is tricky because it adds weight to my travelling bag and being one additional valuable item to worry about, but yet there are things that I can't do with alternative choices. Here are my choices:

  • Smartphone – Use it for all my internet needs, including using Wi-Fi. This is what I had done on my travels so far, and even used it to book a flight from Venice to London Gatwick. Screen is too small for things that are not optimised. Mobile data roaming overseas is expensive, and getting mobile data of that country is troublesome.
  • Tablet PC – I don't have one and, depending on the operating system it runs on (Windows RT vs iOS / Android) and the hardware features it has, it's could as well just be a smartphone with a larger screen. It does likely to have something called USB On-The-Go (OTG), but I don't want to carry an extra cable or adaptor. Also, I can't do any quick and productive writing with on-screen keyboards.
  • Hostel PCs – This would be the most ideal reason to not lug my laptop around, but from experience, none of the places I stayed in Europe even had a PC at all, even though there is Wi-Fi. Some are free, some requiring payment per use. Even if they are free to use, other guests might be using all the available ones. Then the is also the problem of privacy, possible malware, or if the PC is even usable at all!
  • Laptop – Probably the best option. Helps to offload images stored on my point-and-shoot camera AND create backups of them away from my laptop. (Photo backup is also available for smartphones and tablet PCs, but experience has told me that they are unreliable and possibly create duplicates!) I felt insecure while on my Europe trip as I run the risk of loosing all of the photos as the days go by. Thank goodness nothing bad happened.
  • Nothing – Probably the most risky as I could lose images I have taken, be bored in long-distance travels.
Probably the only thing left is to prepare.

Here's the update from my previous post:

– Hiroshima: I have booked all of my flights and accommodation mentioned there. After intense calculation and research of travel time of flight to Sapporo, and the check out time of the place in Hiroshima, it seems that I would be able to take the flight on the same day. In fact, it seems that there is really nothing to do at Hiroshima Airport, being a minor airport. (And is also one of the few airports in Japan to not be served by rail.)

– Hakodate: No, seriously. I really cancelled visiting this city. It was originally because I couldn't find a place that is within budget, but now that I have look at my itinerary into detail at this stage, I now have one less city to worry about in this multi-city trip. Well, and probably also to spend a few days less days in the Hokkaido winter.

– Sapporo: This one is a nightmare. Finding a place was hard on days surrounding the Snow Festival. Then I remembered that he hostel I stayed in Kyoto in 2012 has a Sapporo branch. My plan was to book whatever number of days I could book, and book the rest in nearby Otaru city, which still has space. A problem is the way the booking system of the Sapporo hostel has that other hostels I had book did not have. Though the hostel in Otaru is cheaper than the Sapporo one, the price difference is easily eaten up by just taking the train 8 times (or 4 days if I take twice a day). Just as I was about to give in to just book a place in Otaru to visit Sapporo, a new hostel (and the only one) appeared in the search result. (It's too new to have a review yet.) After checking the maps (and street views) to the nearest station, which was an underground subway station, it seems like a fair enough place to stay even if not for the issues with other hotels.

– Flight to Tokyo: Since flights between Narita and Chitose are among the world's most heavily used air route, that means greater competition among airlines, and cheaper flights. The airline I booked has various departure times, with the last flight of the day being the cheapest. Since I'm not the kind that would like to rush for time and maybe see a bit more of the festival, I booked that flight. Why did I not stay for the whole festival? I don't think that's necessary, and especially so considering that the trip is many times longer than my Kansai trip. Heck, probably a bit longer than my trip to Europe in mid-2013.


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