If you travel with a laptop, keeping your data secured and backed-up is paramount. One viable option would be to pack a removable hard drive. However if you’re a light packer, using up valuable space with another unnecessary computer component may not be ideal. Luckily, with the emergence of cloud computing, backing-up your data online has become increasingly easier and an asset to the modern traveler.

Using one of the following services, all your most cherished photos, documents and emails can be swiftly and painlessly backed-up online while you’re on the go. All you need is an Internet connection.

Photos

Six months worth of travel photos gone in one devastatingly quick moment. We’ve all heard the stories. With one of the following services, you can back-up your photos securely online.

Picasa http://picasaweb.google.com

Picasa is a downloadable program which allows you to import, edit, organise and upload your photos. The major appeal with Picasa is that it provides an online and offline solution to organising and storing your photo collection. Unlike other services which are purely web-based.

Armed with a Gmail account, uploading your photos is as simple as selecting the album you wish to backup and clicking the “Upload” button. From there, navigate your browser to picasaweb.google.com were you will find your uploaded photos displayed in a neat grid view.

A free account will allow 1GB worth of storage space. More storage can be purchased through Google at an additional cost.

Flickr - http://www.flickr.com

Driven by a thriving and talented photography community, Flickr provides the ideal platform to share, discover and get valuable feedback on your most prized shots. While it’s purely web based (unlike Picasa which provides software to install on your computer) third-party programs are available to assist you with uploading your photos if required. However, it’s simple enough to use their online uploader.

A free account will allow you to upload 300MB worth of photos each calendar month. A pro account can be purchased for US$24.95 which allows unlimited uploads.

Photobucket - http://www.photobucket.com

Similar to Flickr, Photobucket allows you to upload and share your photos and videos. With a focus on social networking, sharing your memories on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter can be easily achieved through the Photobucket interface.

A free account will allow you to upload 500MB worth of photos and share 10GB worth of data per month. A pro account provides an ad-free interface with unlimited storage and bandwidth.

Documents

Whether you’re writing a daily travel journal, keeping notes on future destinations or needing a place to store your itineraries, one of the following services can keep your documents organised and secured online.

Google Docs - http://docs.google.com

The appeal with Google Docs is that it allows you to create and save your documents online. Whether it’s a standard text document, spreadsheet, or presentation, they’re all available to be created through Google Docs. Backing-up older documents is equally as simple. Once logged in, click the “Upload” button and drag your chosen files into the box. There is no limit to the type of file you can upload and each file can be up-to 1024MB.

Another feature which Google offers is document collaboration and sharing. It’s a simple way to keep family and friends up-to-date with your movements by sharing with them your itinerary or other relevant travel documents.

Dropbox - http://www.dropbox.com

A slightly different approach, Dropbox doesn’t offer the functionality to allow you to create your own documents, however, they provide a viable solution for backing-up and sharing your documents.

The process is painlessly simple. Once the application has been installed, simply drop the files you wish to back-up into your Dropbox folder and sit back as they are quietly uploaded into your own online Dropbox account. Viewing the uploaded files is as simple as going back into the Dropbox folder located on your computer, or viewing them online.

Evernote - http://www.evernote.com

A personal favourite, Evernote allows you to organise your digital life into one simple program. The focus is to make it easy to capture, organise and find your documents fast. While your documents are stored locally on your computer, an option is available to upload your documents online. Once uploaded, you can view and edit your documents on virtually any computer with the aid of a web browser.

If you wish to use their online syncing service, a free account offers 50MB worth of file uploads per month. A premium account can be purchased for US$5.00 per month which allows 500MB worth of uploads.

Important documents to store securely online

Now that we know how to backup our documents online, we should start to consider what important documents need backing-up. The following should be a good starting point.

  • Tickets and Itineraries.
  • Photocopy of Passport.
  • Banking and Credit Card Details.
  • Emergency Contact Numbers.
  • Travel Insurance Policy Number.
  • Travel Insurance Emergency Phone Number.
  • Medical Prescriptions.
  • A document containing your blood type, allergies and any other medical condition.

Emails

While I’m sure the majority of you are aware of the free web-based email services available, some may not know of the additional services provided with your account.

Gmail - http://www.gmail.com

  • Web-based email (POP3 and IMAP compatible).
  • Docs – Create, share and collaborate your documents.
  • Picasa – Upload, edit and share your photos.
  • Calendar – Organise your schedule and share events with friends.
  • Address Book – An online record of all your contacts.
  • Talk – A simple way to call and instant message friends and family through your computer.

Yahoo - http://mail.yahoo.com

  • Web-based email (POP3 and IMAP compatible).
  • Flickr – Online photo management and sharing application.
  • Calendar – Organise your schedule and share events with friends.
  • Address Book – An online record of all your contacts.

Hotmail - http://www.hotmail.com

  • Web-based email (POP3 and IMAP compatible).
  • Address Book – An online record of all your contacts.
  • Office Live – View and edit your Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents online.

We’d love to hear your tips for keeping your data backed-up and accessible while travelling. Share them in the comments below.