Am riding UK to Oz and currently in India (see www.planitearth.co.uk)
Laptop very handy, although however small (mine weighs 1kg), the cables etc bulk out your luggage.
As well as being able to do your website, photos, ipod etc, very handy for emails as you can type at leisure then sync in just 5 mins.
Have generally managed to get my laptop online everywhere so far. Big hotels have free wifi often, so sit in reception. Internet cafe's allow plug in 70% of the time. You will have to learn how to put in an IP address details, though as they seem to always use them here. No extra charges and if you're cheeky, you can go in, set it up, sync in a couple of mins then tell them that it didn't work and not have to pay. (but I always go back later on when I have more time and use it properly for a couple of hours).
For protecting your laptop, there's a neoprene case that you can buy at PC world or online. It is called the Elecom Zeroshock and takes out a lot of the vibrations as well as being pretty tough. Also, it's worth taking an external hard drive. I went for the Freecom Toughdrive. Just a way of backing things up...