While we might have miniature phones in our pockets nowadays, there are still times when a good laptop will do better for our causes. Specifically in the case of travelling, laptops can make a large difference in how much you are enjoying the trip. Not to mention that the criteria change when you are looking for a laptop to travel with versus one that you are going to keep at home or take to local work. That is why we’ve gone through the process of finding the best travel laptops.
These laptops tend to be smaller and have more features suited to travelling, this is why they make for great travel gift ideas. These include the weight of the laptop, the battery length, versatility and general use on the road. Whether you travel for enjoyment or business, these are some of the best laptops to travel with. So, with all of that out of the way, let’s hop right into our list of the best travel laptops.
Best Laptops For Traveling – Top Picks + Reviews
13” Apple MacBook M1 Air with 256 GB SSD
1 used from $791.12
Up first on our list of the best travel laptops is the M1 MacBook Air. For those who are looking for devices to travel, this is one of the lightest and thinnest that you’ll be able to find. Specifically, it weighs 2.8 pounds (1.25 kg) and measures out to be 0.16–0.63 inch (0.41–1.61 cm) tall and 11.97 inches (30.41 cm) inches wide. It comes with an 8-core CPU and has up to 18 hours of battery life without needing recharging.
The camera on the M1 Air is high quality, allowing for video calls back home to be shown in very clear quality. You get all the benefits of Apple devices, such as compatibility with the apps on your phone, Apple Pay and use of Apple TV. One of the nicest parts about this laptop is how quiet it is, as normally these require rather loud fans. The problem with this device is one that’s shared with all Apple devices… it’s expensive. This laptop costs just about $1000, which is a lot of money to be spending on a laptop.
13” Apple MacBook Pro with M1 Chip and 512 GB SSD
7 used from $1,175.89
In second place on the list of our best travel laptops, we have the exact same model as the first! Well, not entirely. This version of the 13” Apple MacBook Pro with the M1 Chip has 512 GB in its SSD storage in comparison with the 256 GB of the previous model. Other than that, they are identical. It measures precisely the same as the above model, so no added thickness or anything like that.
While this might be a little disappointing, it’s not unexpected from Apple products. They are not necessarily known for their diversity after all. What this does mean is that you get all the benefits of the above package, such as the compatibility with Apps and Apple TV, a high-quality camera that you can use, a speedy interface and so on. Once again, however, this MacBook comes with a hefty price, as it costs $400 more for this boost in SSD storage. We think that’s a heavy price to pay for just storage, so that’s why this version isn’t top.
Dell XPS 13 Laptop For Travel And Work
Rounding out the top three of our best laptops to travel with, we have the Dell XPS 13 Laptop. This laptop might not be the slickest you’ll ever see, but it should do a good job for those who need it on the road or on a flight to elsewhere. It has a 13” screen, its height measures to be 0.58 inches (1.48 mm), its width 11.64 inches (29.57 mm) and it has a depth of 7.82 inches (19.87 mm).
This laptop uses i5 Core Processors, has a 1.6 GHz base frequency ( that can get up to 4.2 GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Technology) and a 6 MB Intel Smart Cache. There are also plenty of external ports for any additional gadgets you might want to use. These could include external mice, headphones, USB connections and a MicroSD Card reader. Once again, pricing might be an issue, as the Dell XPS 13 with 2 TB PCIe SSD costs $1,390. Not as much as the 512 GB Mac, but close.
Acer Spin 5 Laptop To Travel With
Up next, we have the Acer Spin 5 13” Laptop. This is one of the more unique laptops that you’ll see, as it is almost more akin to a tablet than a conventional laptop. Whereas a normal laptop can only open to a certain angle, the Acer Spin 5 laptop can “spin” almost all the way around, with the screen and the keyboard almost becoming back to back without breaking.
The laptop itself uses an Intel Quad-Core i7-8565U processor, measuring out to be 12.8 inches (32.5 cm) long, 9 inches (22.8 cm) wide and 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) tall. It only weighs about 3 lbs (1.3 kg), so it’s a light laptop, and if you need to know the weight of your luggage, you can always rely on a small digital luggage scale easy to carry around. There are 3 different types of USB ports (Type-C (DisplayPort), USB 3.0 and USB 2.0), a HDMI port and a headphone or mic jack. For those who like to use their fingers or a pen in addition to the standard laptop setup, the Acer Spin 5 is a good option. However, once again, if you want 2 TB of SSD space, it will cost a pretty penny at $1,150. There are versions with less space that cost less.
ASUS ZenBook 13 UX333FA Travel Computer
Midway through our list of the best laptops for travel and work, we have the ASUS ZenBook 13 UX333FA. This slim laptop has a 13 inch screen and an i5-8250U Processor. The dimensions measure out to be 12.7 inches (32.2 cm) long, 8.7 inches (22 cm) wide and 0.5 inches (1.27 cm) tall. It has a FHD (1920×1080 pixel) display that can display more colours, more accurately from wider angles than many others.
There are 3 3.0 USB Ports, a USD 3.1 Type C, a Micro HDMI and a slot for SD Cards. For usability, there is a built-in fingerprint reader that will allow for seamless logins. The major weaknesses that people have complained about with this laptop include the sound system and the lack of tech support from ASUS repair. It seems that they are not very helpful and their parts don’t actually do that much. Thus, for a price of nearly $1,500, those are some pretty major weaknesses.
Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 – 13.5″ Touch-Screen – Intel Core i7
2 used from $1,442.94
Entering the latter half of our list of the best travel laptops, we have the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 with 13.5” Touch-Screen and an Intel i7 Core Processor. There are 4 different colours you can get the laptop with: Sandstone, Matte Black, Cobalt Blue, and Platinum. There are up to 11.5 hours worth of life based on typical usage tests.
Since this is a Microsoft Surface device, it is fully compatible and optimized for all Microsoft Office applications. This is great for those who prefer to use them for business. The laptop only weighs around 3 lbs, (1.3 kg), which should make it lightweight enough for travel purposes. There are USB-C and USB-A ports for connecting to displays, docking stations and other uses. As with most of these laptops, it will cost a decent amount if you want a lot of RAM and SSD storage. For 16 GB Ram and 256 GB SSD storage, it costs around $1,280. However, this can drop down to $950 for 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of SSD storage.
HP Spectre x360-13t Travel Laptop
Coming in seventh place of our list of the best travel laptops, we have the HP Spectre x360 13t Touch. It has a 13.3-inch display that has over 2 million pixels available. The item dimensions measure out to be about 12 inches (30.5 cm) long, 8.6 inches (22 cm) wide and .5 inches (1.27 cm) tall. It weighs about 2.8 lbs (1.27 kg). There is a rather impressive (listed) 16 hours of battery life on this laptop, allowing for a long period of work to get done. However, actual reports find that this battery lasts far shorter in reality.
There is an IR camera and fingerprint identification for safe logins if you so choose to use them. You also have a pen to take notes on the screen if you prefer that style. While there is plenty to admire about this laptop, the lower-than-advertised battery life and common complaints of overheating and fan noises put the $1,430 price point into a rather poor perspective.
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 – 12.3″ Touch-Screen
2 used from $1,099.99
Coming towards the end of our list of the best laptops for travel, we have the Microsoft Surface Pro 7. This laptop has a 12.3 inch touchscreen. Though calling it an out-and-out laptop might be a bit incorrect. It’s more of a laptop mixed with a tablet. It comes in either Platinum or Matte Black colour schemes. It measures out to be 12.7 inches (32 cm) long, 9 inches (22.8 cm) wide and 2 inches (5 cm) tall. It weighs just under 2 lbs (0.9 kg).
There are additional bits like the Surface Pen and Surface Arc Mouse that you can buy separately, which is somewhat annoying. The microphone and headphone setups are both quality, while the charging also takes very little time. This is good, because the battery life is only about 8 hours in actual time, versus the 10.5 claimed. For those looking to play games on it, you might want to look elsewhere, as it just doesn’t hold up for the majority of modern, intensive games. For a price of $1,085 for 16 GB of RAM and 256 GB SSD storage, this isn’t terrible, but isn’t great either.
2020 Samsung Galaxy Chromebook
For those who are looking for one of the best cheap laptops for travelling, the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook might be the one to check out. It comes with an Core i5-10210U CPU and Chrome OS as the operating system. It measures out to be 11.9 inches (30 cm) long, 8 inches (20.3 cm) wide and 0.4 inches (1 cm) tall. It weighs about 2.3 lbs (1.04 kg). It has a headphone jack alongside 2 total USB ports (both of them are USB 3.0 Type C).
One of the biggest changes that people might have to make when using this laptop is the adjustment to Chrome OS. It is certainly different from the other types of operating systems that Microsoft and Apple have. Many of the user reviews recommend getting a pen alongside this laptop to truly make the most of it, which makes it a shame that it doesn’t actually come with one. The price for a 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB SSD is just around $900, which is cheaper than just about all of our options so far.
Acer Spin 5 13.3″ Business Laptop
Rounding out our list of the best travel laptops, we have the Acer Spin 5 13.3″ Business Laptop. This laptop, unsurprisingly, is almost identical to the previous Acer Spin 5 model that we have listed further up. However, this version has a full TB less of storage available, thus making it rather worse. It can still spin around to turn into a tablet-esque shape, as well as sharing the dimensions. It’s still 12.8 inches (32.5 cm) long, 9 inches (22.8 cm) wide and 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) tall.
However, it still shares the weaknesses of the other laptop. The graphics card still runs extremely hot on this machine, so you’ll have to find somewhere other than your lap if you want to keep everything down there from looking like a fried egg. Similarly, the price point is another issue. For a TB less, the price only goes down about $150 to $1,050. This is still an expensive machine that is objectively worse than the model we listed above. However, it still performs well enough to make it onto this list, since it does still share the benefits of the Acer Spin 5 laptop series.
Buyer’s Guide to the Best Travel Laptops
Now with our list concluded, we’re going to go over some of the aspects that you should be looking into when searching for the best laptops to travel and work with. These can be found in both user reviews, comprehensive reviews of individual products or lists like this one.
- Size/Weight: It only makes sense that you don’t want a large, bulky laptop weighing you down on your travels. Many of these are tablet-esque in their design in order to lower that weight and those dimensions. This makes it easy to store in a purse or small travel backpack and able to be pulled out at any time.
- RAM/Memory: Memory is always helpful. If you do nothing but check social media and your email, 4 GB are fine. However, for anything else, you’ll want at least 8 GB or more.
- Battery Life: You can’t use your laptop if it’s dead, right? That’s why it’s important to see user reviews of what the battery life is actually like, as the listed battery life from the companies are often not accurate to real-life circumstances.
- Processor Speed: This isn’t the 80s anymore. You don’t want to wait 5 minutes for something to load. For any sort of application on your laptop, you’ll want to make sure that it runs fast and smooth. Processor speeds make sure that the process goes faster, regardless of whether you are playing video games, editing photos or using email apps.
- Durability: This is especially important for laptops you intend to travel with, as they can take a little bit of a beating through all the various circumstances that travel can bring. Stronger metallic builds are better than plastic types.
- Extra Features: This category just includes anything else you might be looking for. Does it come with a pen for writing on the touchscreen? How is the camera for video calls? How is the audio quality for sound and video editing? Does it have the appropriate HDMI and USB ports? These are just some of the extra elements that you should keep in mind, depending on what you’ll need the laptop for on your travels.
And there you have you. Now you’re equipped with a list of suggestions for the best travel laptops and with the knowledge on what to look for in order to find which one suits you best. Since there are two separate versions in first and second place on this list, clearly our pick for the best laptop for travel is the 13 inch Apple MacBook M1. Whichever version you choose is up to you. However, once again, we recommend you do your own research into some of these options and see if they fit you better based on their features or operating system. Good laptop hunting!