Perhaps you wanted the default panel setup, or maybe not.
With a single blank panel, you need to use panel preferences by right clicking on any panel to add some more.
But blank panels are no use - drag and drop applications?You probably already have xfce4-appfinder installed as part of Xfce desktop
Running xfce4-appfinder (Alt+F3) will bring up a selection menu from which you can drag and drop items to the panel.
The drag and drop process is not flawless and if when you get your item to the panel it does not have a '+' symbol, then it will drop into the ether rather than fixing to the panel.
( If you do not see '+' symbol then have the item drag off the panel and then move it back on before dropping )
Successful drop onto the panel results in a brief dialogue box confirmation and selecting 'Create Launcher' will complete the job.
Once you have setup a few panels on a home desktop it is pretty quick to repeat the process.
You should be able to do similar on your laptop with less than 5 minutes extra work.
You desktop might stay unchanged for a couple of years and so investing 15 minutes total in a couple of setups is worthwhile.