If my laptop is stolen, what are some quick replacement options?

Hypothetical Scenario: Let’s say I’m traveling, and I’m using a Windows 10 laptop to get some work done. It’s 12 midnight, and my laptop(s) and luggage are suddenly lost. Maybe I went to a restaurant/bar/club, and thieves ransacked my hotel room while I was away. Whatever the case, I still have my wallet & smartphone, and that’s about it.

At this point, I need a replacement Windows 10 laptop, that I can install programs on, and I need it ASAP, so I can meet a deadline. What are my options?

Is there some 24 hour laptop-replacement-on-demand service out there?

There are many options, but it would vary drastically depending where on the planet you are. Probably best if you were more specific on your location.

Some cities have 24/7 stores. Some have internet cafes that sell electronics. I’ve seen some convenience stores selling cheap laptops.

In any case, if this were to happen to me, that smartphone would was be enough to replace the laptop until I purchased a new one. If I needed processing power, I’d go to an internet café or similar facility. If the computers weren’t good enough there, I’d hire a system elsewhere on the planet and remote into it.

There are plenty of options, all depending on your specific needs and location.

It’s a hypothetical scenario, so I don’t have a specific location right now. The internet cafe solution would work for simple tasks, but not if I need to install software. So I was hoping for some universal solutions for laptop replacement.

Like… “Call HP / Dell, and they will deliver a new laptop within an hour, for a fee”.

Or… “Here’s a sharing app - like TaskRabbit - where people will deliver new laptops within an hour, for a fee”.

In an emergency situation, I wouldn’t have the time to come on nomadforum, post my exact situation, and wait for the responses to roll in. So I was hoping for some generic universal laptop replacement options to have in hand, so I can hit the ground running immediately, whether it happens to me tomorrow or 5 years from now.

That’s the thing, if you lost your laptop and needed one immediately, Hashtagnomads (or any other online forum/chat related to the location) would be a great place to start off. A quick “need a computer ASAP, mine was stolen” would get you a better response than dealing with locals. It happens all the time at the moment. I regularly see calls for local expat help pop up in chat/facebook/forums.

There is no universal solution to this problem. I doubt it’ll ever happen. The business model alone wouldn’t be economically sound. Larger cities will give you better options, but most popular cities to DNs will result in a wait till the next working day when you can buy a system at a computer store.

Taskrabbit-esque services barely cover the planet and IT suppliers have different service deliverables for different locations. Even mega corporations like Apple and Microsoft don’t operate service centres in every country.

In any case, hiring a virtual windows 10 machine and remoting into it would be the fastest option. You can install whatever you want on it and work off your phone if need be whilst you’re in the back of a tuk tuk heading towards the closest PC store.

Perhaps the wrong question is being asked here. Firstly, existing nomads really don’t operate on a last-minute schedule like that. The task doesn’t suit the lifestyle. Like any business, nobody should be operating on a platform that will instantly dissolve if a fault occurs. Nomads have to be accountable for delays due to shoddy internet, travel, culture shock, drunken hangovers and a myriad of other problems. Stolen gear happens, stay calm and deal with it in the morning.

Losing 12 to 48 hours shouldn’t impact a nomad’s schedule. If it does, they’ve got bigger problems to worry about than a missing computer.

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I was in Sao Paulo in 2014. World Cup, my laptop was stolen, MBP Air 13’’.
The host where I stayed took me to area with computer stores and I just bought some cheap thing ~ 200$ US, just to have something in case of emergency.

Don’t know why but in Brazil Apple products are 20% more expensive then in my country, and ofcours after a bad experience I didn’t wan’t to invest to much money at that point, I was going home anyway after 20 days.

Anyway, it tourned out well because then I could spend more time doing tourist things.
Need to say that I also have good clients and they were not doing pressure on me, and even offered to pay 2 projects in advanced so I can buy a real laptop (13’’ Retina)

So basically, depending on how long you stay and comparing prices, it’s up to you to decide in that moment what will you do. And ofcours the amount of work.
And should I mention the customs, laptops from some countries may be considered as import so you would need to pay some more.
Bottom line, you always need to have extra money for case of emergency

Just out of curiousity, how was your laptop stolen?

I’m always interested in hearing how thieves & scammers are operating, so I can adjust my own defenses & behavior accordingly.

Well, I just arrived with a backapck and laptop bag.
They put mud on your bag and then offer to help you clean, start to talk …
I’m from Croatia, we played opening match against Brazil, there was lots to talk about :stuck_out_tongue:

I was stupid, but I had long flight Bangkok > Sao Paulo.
Anyway, I learnd my lesson hard way, and I was even reading in papers about these things.
Usually police goes public with ‘how to, what to do, what not…’.

So once you started talking to the mud-wiper, his accomplice swiped your laptop bag when you weren’t paying attention? Or did the mud-wiper just grab your laptop bag, and run away?

I’m also curious if your “laptop bag” looks like a laptop bag, or just a regular shoulder bag.

For example, this looks like a laptop bag, and basically announces to the world that it holds a valuable laptop…

While these shoulder bags look more generic, and don’t really scream “laptop” as much. Maybe they’re just holding papers, books, maps, etc…


My feeling is that a laptop bag shouldn’t look like a laptop bag.

I had, (and bought again) this bag: http://www.amazon.com/STM-Alley-Shoulder-Laptop-MacBook/dp/B007FTEO1A

They put a mud on backpack, then they help you put the bags down and give you a wet tissue to clear. And start to talk, where you from, what you do etc …
I just noticed few seconds after that bag is missing, and when I turn around nobody around me any more. First time there, long flight, I wouldn’t expect something like that in 2pm.
But again all that doesn’t amnesty me from being stupid.

They probably work in pairs, at least 2 persons if not more.
They will try to steal your bag, so whatever is in it.
If nothing good, they throw it a way and find a next victim, it’s what they do whole day.

Just keep the hands on the bags all the time.
I was stupid to put everything on the floor, even if it’s between my legs.

In Brazil there are things like kids run by you and steal the mobile phone from your hands while you are talking. Probably also working in pairs, one tries to steal, other one (or more of them) obstruct you from catching him.
Dind’t have this problem, but one is enough :stuck_out_tongue:

[quote=“bobz_zg, post:9, topic:6396, full:true”]
In Brazil there are things like kids run by you and steal the mobile phone from your hands while you are talking. [/quote]

Yeah, the mobile phone snatch & run theft occurs all around the world. Sometimes by guys on bicycles, riding by at full speed.

what you would do is completely location dependent. your options in san fran are drastically different than your options on a remote island in the south pacific.