You have no need to travel with HIPAA PHI on your laptop..
The policy of the medical school where I used to work is to consider any device that even accesses PHI as "contaminated with PHI", even if such access should never have resulted in any PHI being stored on the local hard drive of the machine accessing that data. It's possible that OP may have worked at a place with a similar policy.
Our internal forensics group was able to demonstrate too many cases where it wasn't necessary for a laptop user to even do something as dangerous as download a file containing PHI for the local hard drive to still end up with PHI on it. One such case was OS swap/page files. There were others.
While we took steps to minimize the likelihood of these events happening and PHI ending up on portable/mobile devices, we still treated devices that merely accessed remote PHI as if they contained PHI in local storage and required required them to have appropriate controls in place, such as whole disk encryption, local firewalls, mandatory reporting of lost/stolen devices, etc.