TOEFL essay: Imagine that you are preparing for a trip. You plan to be away...

Dear Alan,

I am a Japanese female, first time user in this forum. It would be really appreciated if you could have a look at my essay and give some advices. Thank you very much for your time in advance.
I also placed a few questions accordingly.

Q. Imagine that you are preparing for a trip. You plan to be away from your home for a year. In addition to clothing and personal care items, you can take one additional thing. What would you take and why? Use specific reasons and details to support your choice.

A. I would bring my laptop computer for my trip in addition to the basic care items with me, since the laptop has been an indispensable part of my life for it’s all-round convenience, and this will be also true for my one-year trip.

Imagine someone getting lost in a foreign city where people do not understand English language, let alone his/her native language. Though one might eventually find one’s way back to the hotel or to the destination, it would take him/her such a long time to find it. Making people understand him/her and get the right navigation from them would be very difficult for someone as a traveler in an unfamiliar city. And this would happen all the time during the trip, as a person will visit most of the places for the first time.

But with one’s own computer, a person can find a route in English, or even in one’s native language easily. People may consider it would deprive one of the chances of communicating with local people. However, one can communicate with people anytime in any other occasions. When getting lost is not one’s primary purpose, computer would save time and take a traveler to the destination in a short period of time.

Another advantage of carrying a mobile computer would be that the computer will serve a person as a data stocker in various ways. One may have one’s own camera, or have someone photograph him/her during the trip. If one does not have a computer, there is a limited capacity for storing photos according to the memory size of the camera, or every time one has to ask photographers to send pictures of one through e-mail. With one’s own computer, photos can be immediately downloaded into the computer on the spot. Same situation applies to other forms of digital appliances such as voice recorder.

Finally, with one’s computer, one can use the e-mail feature in the comfort of one’s hotel room. One may have so much to convey to one’s family and friends, about the adventure of one’s trip, and having own notebook will enable a person to do this anytime he/she wants. Or one may get into a trouble and need advice from one’s family. In such case also, one can immediately open the computer and ask for help. People may think going to the Internet cafe would do the task, and one does not necessarily need to bring the laptop around. However, there is no guarantee that there will be always (or there will always be?) the Internet cafe or the same kind whenever a person needs it. So for a long period of trip as a year, I do consider that bringing own computer is necessarily.

From the above reasons, I believe that one would benefit from bringing own computer for the trip. I must admit that sometime it would be a little cumbersome, but I believe the advantages still overweigh the inconvenience of carrying the computer around.



  1. If I use a several variations for the term ‘laptop’, such as ‘notebook’ ‘mobile computer’ etc, will it be better or worse?
    One book says there should be varieties of word selection, another says it should be consistent throughout the essay. So I am always confused in this regard.

  2. I heard that the subject should be the third party rather than the first or the second (‘one’ ‘a person’ ‘he/she’ instead of ‘I’ or ‘you’)
    I used a several varieties in my essay, is this the right way?

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