1. Always have two ways of getting online.
You never know what America Online's service will be like in St. Louis, so it's best to have a backup Internet service provider you can use.
2. Install several printer drivers in your laptop.
Your software should include drivers for HP LaserJet, DeskJet, and Epson dot-matrix printers so you can plug in and print out anywhere.
3. Print out important contact numbers before you leave.
A good bump can disable your laptop and leave you standing in the airport dialing 4-1-1.
4. Use the password-protection feature on your laptop.
A password won't stop a determined hacker, but it will keep the average thief out of your personal files.
5. Watch your notebook.
Especially when passing through an airport's metal detector — a favorite place for scam artists hoping to lighten your load.
6. It's inevitable: just when you really need it, your modem will break down.
Bring a spare, even if its just an old 14.4 Kbps PC Card modem.
7. If you don't have a CD-ROM drive in your notebook, get an external one.
Most new software comes on CD-ROM.
8. If you're on a flight and your laptop runs out of juice, head for the plane's lavatory.
Many now have a power plug for shaving, but geeks know what they're really for.
9. Buy a spare rechargeable battery for your notebook.
It will cost you around $100, but no notebook lasts long enough on one battery.
10. When you're waiting at the gate for your flight, get a little extra power by plugging your notebook into an outlet.
Unless, of course, I've gotten there first.