Okay, I have a lot of distros burned to CDs / DVDs, shall see what I end up using. I've had problems with Mandriva as it will not detect my chipset (nForce4) and freezes during installation. That's why I asked about the distro. I probably end up using one of the following: Kubuntu, Gentoo, Slackware, SuSE.
Not sure about Debian as it needs little "debianish" experience to get it working. I've spend 4 hours on it to get my nvidia drivers on it but it just wouldn't work and my dist-upgrade ended up breaking whole system
Hopefully I get my laptop before I leave so I can use it at home and download the necessery updates and druvers etc.