Step 1: Download Linux
There are many different distributions of Linux to choose from. I am creating a custom Linux live CD that is optimized for what travelers who are new to Linux need. Until it is ready I recommend using a live CD called Ubuntu.
SLAX Linux live CD
You can download SLAX here. SLAX is good to start with becuase it is easy to use and not a large download compared to Knoppix. If you have already tried SLAX and want to experiment further, the following are some other recommended types of Linux live CDs:
Other live CDs
Knoppix Live CD
Knoppix is a great Linux live CD. It is a large download so you will need a high-speed connection for this one. It is an almost 700 MB download so it may not work for you if you only have a dial-up connection. If you only have a dial-up connection, you may be able to find an Internet cafe with a high-speed connection.
Damn Small Linux
Damn Small Linux is based on Knoppix but is much smaller. It is only about 50 MB which is easier to download on a slow connection. This doesn't have good photo editing software, but if you just need something to connect to the Internet with, this will do.
This is one of my favorite distros but it does not have wireless card capability without some tweaking. I actually prefer a variation of Puppy Linux called Pizza Pup Linux because it comes with Firefox. These are both about 60 to 80 MB in size.
Where to download Linux live CDs
These are recommended in order, from most recommended to least (of course it is all highly arguable). I recommend getting Knoppix if you have a high-speed connection. You might want to carry a couple of distros with you. I like Pizza Pup Linux the best because it is small and fast, but since it doesn't work with wireless without tweaking I usually carry others with me also.