I believe most top-end laptops have some form of surge protection but I had a very recent scare where my laptop quite literally would not start.
I was on a business trip and was already a little suspicious of the hotel's wiring. I turned the computer off, removed all plugs, usbs etc as I normally do and the next morning it would not start.
Thankfully I was able to repair it without losing any data. Something had blown on the mother board and the guys that replaced the blown part said it was caused by faulty wiring or an electrical surge.
As I travel a fair bit is there any surge protectors for laptops which are portable enough to carry around?
All modern computer power-supplies include a level of surge-protection as an intrinsic behavioural characteristic.
It is unlikely that the fault on your laptop was caused by "bad wiring". That would require two simultaneous short-circuits in a three-phase installation creating a 40% over-voltage spike.
Voltage spikes can be caused by faulty transformers, however, I have only ever heard of one computer being damaged by such a spike and that was switched off and plugged into a surge-protector at the time.
The best protection you can take with you is remembering to unplug the laptop when it is off and taking a usb backup drive with you.
is there any surge protectors for laptops which are portable enough to carry around?
Yes. APC, TrippLite and Belkin are a few manufacturers that I have used in the past. You can find them for $10 - $15 USD. Get one with (minimum) 2 outlets. Many are single outlet connections but the better models offer 2 outlets. The extra "plug-in" comes in handy.