The wired traveler

You set out on the road, laptop in tow, ready to take on the world--and then it happens. The screen freezes. Or somehow, none of the dozen phone and electrical adapters you're carrying can get your laptop the power it needs. Jumping up and down on the hotel bed and screaming at the top of your lungs isn't the answer. You need help--and if you're smart, you'll be better prepared next time. As technology has advanced, a slew of resources has emerged to help would-be road warriors prepare to get work done while traveling. We've rated each resource on a scale of five stars (we love it) to zero stars (we loathe it).

Save It.
Make this site your first stop. Of all the Web sites that purport to serve the wired traveler, is by far the most exhaustive and objective. Editor Robert W. Lawson regularly updates the site, which is rich with information about everything you can imagine needing for your life as a business traveler. The site includes links to the best sources on everything from electrical and telephone gadgets to exchange rates to on-line travel reservations. You can also find archived articles from Lawson's On the Road newsletter on topics ranging from the simple (how to find electrical outlets in airports) to the complex (how to make a connection by disassembling the telephone in a hotel room if no phone jack exists). Access to everything on the site is free. Plus you can sign up to receive Lawson's I-Lap Top Warrior Discussion List by E-mail. ****

Street Tech's Guide to Connecting from the Road
Go to to find this seven-page article by Gareth Branwyn. The information is basic but useful and includes good tips on planning and preparing for a trip and putting together a basic traveling tool kit. There's also a list of the problems most commonly experienced on the road and ways to overcome them. ***

The Road Warrior Guide
These articles, published last year by PC Magazine Online, offer great free info for the wired traveler. There's a checklist of essentials for all notebook-carrying road warriors and also excellent advice for staying connected while on the road. Plus there are links to other useful Web resources. A real keeper. ***

Skim It.

The Business Traveler's Survival Guide
June Langhoff has written a useful little book (from Aegis Publishing Group, 800-828-6961, 1997, $9.95) full of practical tips. (A sample suggestion: for long layovers, purchase a day pass from an airport airline club for about $50.) There's a resources section with the names and numbers of major airlines and hotels that are particularly receptive to business workers. ***

Mobile Computing for Dummies
This title (from IDG Books Worldwide, 800-762-2974, 1997, $19.99), by Cliff Roth, focuses far more on how to buy and set up a notebook computer than on what to do when you're on the road. And, especially considering this is a book for dummies, the information is organized in a way that makes it hard to find what you need. Still, this primer contains a lot of good, basic information. **

Skip It.

Travels with a Laptop
There are two handy things included in Michael Hewitt's book (from International Thomson Computer Press, 617-695-1419, 1996, $17.95): drawings of telephone adapters from around the world and a list of things you should include in your road-warrior tool kit. You can get those elsewhere for free. (See, above.) Much of the rest of the book is dated or idiosyncratic. *
Despite its name, Road Warrior, found at, isn't the place to go for information about staying wired on the road. Instead, you'll find a site for a business that sells products such as computer memory---but that you might mistake for a true informational site. Don't. Zero stars -- Jeffrey L. Seglin