Bringing a Laptop to Ghana

Should you bring a laptop to Ghana? It depends.

It’s a good idea to bring a laptop to use it as a storage and backup device for your photos, or to keep a trip journal.

However, if you are looking to connect to the Internet with your laptop, you will probably experience mostly frustration.

First, public wireless connections in Ghana are few and far between. On one of my trips to Ghana, I was using my laptop at a hotel in Cape Coast hotel when I picked up a free wireless connection from a local Internet cafe. I considered it a small miracle, but it wasn’t very smart on my part because someone could have easily hacked into my laptop.

The good news is that You can bring a laptop and buy a wireless card from one of the telcom providers in Ghana for approximately $100+ USD. However it is dial-up-speed at-best, with intermittent service much of the time.

Most Internet cafes will not allow you to plug your laptop into their Internet connection. Even if one does, I would recommend against it, again because of security concerns. Although it might sound paranoid, there is a possibility of someone gaining access to your laptop’s data and/or stealing your passwords as you type them.

If you really want to upload photos to the Internet during your trip, perhaps try to copy them from your laptop to a flash drive (bring one from home), then see if the Internet cafe will let you copy them from the flash drive to one of their computers.

Do not keep any sensitive information on your laptop in case of theft, such as your bank account information, passwords, etc.

Ghana is a very dusty place, so bring a plastic cover for your laptop, and pack away the laptop when you’re not using it.

When traveling around Ghana, pack the laptop in a backpack that you keep with you at all times (rather than packing it in a larger suitcase that will be stored in a compartment away from you on a bus). Try not to take it out of the bag when you’re outdoors, so as not to attract attention from any would-be robbers.

For the battery/charger, mine actually got fried on my last trip to Ghana, because I didn’t use a surge protector (I plugged it directly into the outlet). So, when you arrive in Accra, ask our Coordinator to help you buy a surge protector. It costs $5-$10 and is well worth it.