Technology Tips: 2007
European tourism now comes with a digital divide: those with high tech gadgets and those without. Which fancy new tools are worth the trouble and actually enhance your travels?
- Please don't post questions here. Use our Travelers Helpline.
I just got back from Germany. I found Internet Cafes were difficult to find (I think most people in that country have home connections now). I found four cafes; only one had more than two computers, and none had US keyboards.
About half of my hotels had wireless connections. I was glad I "lugged" my small (2.9#) laptop with me. It weighs about the same as a couple of guidebooks and does so much. I wouldn't leave home without it.
CO USA Sun 12/16/2007
When I went to France, I found that every Internet Cafe I went to had at least one computer with an american style keyboard. It never even occured to me to lug around a laptop.
Portland, OR USA Wed 12/05/2007
How to find a loo in London
How to find a loo in London
Raleigh, NC United States Thu 11/29/2007
Playing European DVDs
Most game consoles will also play European DVDs; no hack required. Most non-sony standalone DVD players can be easily hacked by entering a code via the remote control: /www.videohelp.com/dvdhacks On a PC there are many free programs that will allow your computer to view foreign DVD even if the counter has run out.
NY USA Wed 11/28/2007
Playing European DVDs
I had heard that European DVDs operate on a different standard than U.S. ones and won't work in the typical U.S. DVD player unless you hack the player. There were some British DVDs that haven't been released in the U.S. yet that I wanted to get, but before I bought them, I took a free DVD of kids' cartoons that came with a Sunday paper and tried them out on my laptop (a 2004 iBook). They worked perfectly! I later learned that Apple computer DVD players will switch back and forth among regions five times before the setting is locked in. No problem. I simply use my home player for U.S. DVDs and my computer for foreign ones.
Minneapolis, MN USA Sat 11/24/2007
Kindle replacing hard copy guides?
I've seen the hype over Kindle, the handheld reading device Amazon is pushing, and it doesn't appeal much to me. Unless, of course, I could download several guidebooks into it and carry it all over Europe. So, I wonder if and when guide books will be in the Amazon library...
USA Fri 11/23/2007
We used cafes and experienced some difficulty until we asked to have the US kboard. Once we got used to it there was noo problem and our usage was a fast as ever
Paul n Sara
Newburyport, MA USA Mon 11/19/2007
I took my laptop with me to Germany last month, and it was nice to have it. Unfortunately at most places the wireless signal was very weak, sometimes I would lose it completely, but at least I had a familiar keyboard. Several times, when I didn't have wireless, I had to find a cybercafe, but they were hard to find. Then I had the unfamiliar keyboard problem. The German keyboard is not too bad, except the "z" and the "y" are interchanged. It drives me crayz.
CO USA Mon 11/19/2007
Laptop vs Internet Cafes
My wife and I just returned from two months traveling around Europe, and the one thing I wish that we'd taken was a laptop. While Internet Cafes were easy to find almost anywhere, I simply wasn't prepared for how hard it was to use a computer with a non-US keyboard layout.
Adding even a paragraph to our blog (which we used to keep in touch with our family and friends in the States) took me a half hour on a French keyboard.
Newport Beach, CA USA Sat 11/17/2007
The last two trips to Italy I have taken my TomTom 910 which has all the maps of western europe on it. The only thing you have to do is go to preferences, manage maps and change the map. After that it is 99.99% accurate.
How nice it is not to have to carry multiple large maps around. Since it has a battery, we carried it while walking back from a parking area and it was easy to use.
Worth brining every time.
Branford, CT USA Fri 11/16/2007
"Canada" - Which countries did you visit and what type/brand of "pocket pc" do you have? It sounds like a wonderful idea, but I'm not familiar with this and need to know more about it.
FL USA Fri 11/09/2007
PSP what a gem
I get bored easily so i brought my play station portable. it was great for my trip to italy and Greece. I can watch movies, tv shows, play video games and connect to the internet, and show people my photos on it. The clarity is awesome. Its a little large but when your on a long bus trip or the long flight here or there its great.
Flagstaff, az USA Thu 11/01/2007
Took our new digital camera on our trip-of-a-lifetime to Ireland,and on day 3 stuck it on the charger (rated 110-240,50-60Hz,) and pulled it off the next morning to find the previously 50% charged battery was dead! It was Sunday in Dingle, but the camera shop opened in the afternoon, stuck the battery in their tester, and charged -no problem (no fee.) I paid to have the battery charged in Meath and Dublin, camera worked fine, and on return to the US, the charger worked fine. Thanks to the guys in the camera shops for my 500+ photos of Ireland!
Seattle, WA USA Sun 10/28/2007
On my recent trip I took along my newly purchased pocket pc/phone. I never used it as a cell phone, but I did use the pc. I found wifi service enough that I was usually able to do my e-mail (often available in my hostel lobby, or for free while standing outside the lobby of more expensive hotels - just once in a month did I purchase time). I used the microsoft word program to write and save my journal, which I posted on my blog when I was able to get wifi. Was also nice being able to stay in touch with IM. Essentially I had all the benefits of a laptop, but in a cell phone size.
Canada Thu 10/18/2007
Leased car, get the GPS
We leased a seven passenger car from Renault on our last trip to Europe. We picked it up in Amsterdam, drove through Germany, Austria and Italy and dropped it off in Rome. It was a great deal and worked wonderfully for our family trip.
The one thing I would do differently next time is spend the extra $100 to have it equipped with a GPS system.
We were fine through Germany and Austria but Italy doesn't have street signs or addresses on most buildings. We wasted hours trying to find roads and hotels. A decent system would have been worth way more than the cost.
Washington , DC USA Fri 10/05/2007
don't use the internet access by Spectrum, it will cut you off before your time has expired and the hotels will not give refunds. It is a complete rip off!!!!
Edinbourgh, USA Thu 09/20/2007
Cell phones in Europe
Iīm in Portugal now and just bought a 50 euro phone with a 10 euro sim and 20 euro of talk time for 60 euros. I put in the card and it works. You can get them at any gas station. Calls within Portugal are 12 cents a min any time and overseas are 24 cents.
Toronto, ON Canada Tue 09/18/2007
Who needs a GPS?
Last year while traveling by car in Italy, I opted not to get the GPS option. What a mistake! I tried to save a few bucks and wound up spending precious time and gas while getting lost along route. GPS, worth the cost!
West Chicago, IL USA Sun 09/02/2007
We found out the hard way that internet reservations can have its draw backs. Sometimes sites are not owned by the hotel and information about the establishment can be wrong or be less than informative about conditions (steps, no elevators, not wheel chair accessible)!
West Chicago, IL USA Sun 09/02/2007
Getting a Cell Phone for Use in Europe
You can rent phones for use in Europe or even take some active U.S. phones over there and pay roaming charges but if you want to save money, you buy a used phone here that can work over there and buy local country or multi-country SIM cards in Europe. This is 1. The least expensive 2. Safest (no charges for lost phone or if it is used by someone else after being stolen) method of getting a phone for use there. It takes a little work but you have a phone you can use anywhere in Europe and use here for Pay-as-You-go or pre-paid or emergency service in the U.S.
Step 1 Look for a used phone.
If you have or have had phone service with T-Mobile, AT&T or Cingular and you still have that phone or a friend has an old unused phone lying around from those services, you may be one step ahead. There are other carriers (but not Verizon or Sprint) whose phones may work (see step 2 below). The phone must use GSM communication and Verizon, Sprint and some others do not. GSM phones us a little "SIM" card (under the battery).
If you don't have a qualifying phone: 1. Look in the local paper for people who are selling phones 2. Look on Craigslist (http://sfbay.craigslist.org/, then find nearby cities or states) and search in Electronics for sale 3. Look on Ebay
You need to ask the seller before buying: 1. For the model number of the phone for step 2 below 2. How old the battery is and if they had problems with it. Beware of battery condition (after you buy the phone, you may find that the battery needs replacement 3. If the charger says 110V-240V 50-60Hz (or you will need a different charger or power converter in Europe). Note that if the charger works on 240V, all you will need is an adapter to the U.S. style plug, much cheaper and more convenient than a converter.
Step 2 Check if the phone is usable.
There are two GSM frequencies used in the U.S. and two different ones in Europe. They are not interchangeable. Some GSM phones are quad-band covering all the frequencies. This is best but those that are tri-band will have at least one European frequency and will work but in buildings and places where one band is weak or blocked, you may lose a connection. (Can you hear me now?)
Go to http://www.phonearena.com/htmls/home.php and put the model number of the phone in the search window and hit enter. It will show that model. Select it and look for the band information (and rating of the phone). If it is a quad or tri band, and the phone has the characteristics and rating you want (beggars can't be choosy), you can then proceed to step 3. Otherwise, keep looking.
Step 3 The phone must be unlocked
Generally, phones in the U.S. are "locked" to the service provider because they want you to use only their service in return for selling you the $300 phone for $29. This is NOT the locking you can do to prevent others from using your phone but is called a Network Lock. To use a phone in Europe, it must be UNLOCKED. There are four ways of accomplishing this: 1. Buy an unlocked phone. This raises the asking price but is the simplest. 2. Get the service provider to unlock it. If the person who is providing the phone still has a contract with T-Mobile or Cingular/AT&T with another phone or with that phone, ask them to call their provider, tell the provider that they are going to Europe and ask that the provider give them the unlock code. A good site is http://forums.mobiledia.com for searching for unlock information. 3. Find the "secret" unlock code on the internet. Some phones, particularly older Samsung phones can be unlocked with a series of codes. Search the internet for the manufacturer and/or model number and the word "unlock". 4. Pay a third party to unlock the phone. The above search will not only show sites that will tell you whether you can unlock the phone but will list sites that will do it for a fee of $5 to $10. If the phone can't be unlocked or is too expensive to buy and have unlocked, then look for another one instead of buying it.
Step 4 Buy the phone
Borrow or buy the needed phone, verify it works, get it unlocked and you are ready for the next step.
Step 5 Get a manual
Go to the manufacturer's web site and search for the user manual and download it if the seller has not provided you one. Read it for information on inserting SIMs as well as how to use the phone.
Step 6 Verify the phone works in the U.S. and is unlocked.
After getting the phone unlocked, verify it with a U.S. SIM card. Purchase a pre-paid SIM card from T-Mobile, Cingular/AT&T or other provider of prepaid services. You can often find these inexpensively on EBay. However, you only have 90 days to use the minutes after activating the pre-paid SIM and most EBay SIMs are pre-activated and may have unchangeable out-of-state numbers. That shouldn't be a big problem as you can extend the time by buying more minutes and don't care if you don't need them. However, be sure and buy a SIM with sufficient usage time so you can test your SIM and phone and use it before arriving in and after returning from Europe. This way you don't need your regular phone with you to tell people you are returning or in case of problems before leaving the country.
Step 7 Put in your U.S. Phone Book
The address book is stored on the SIM. Put your needed phone numbers in the phone and they will be stored on that SIM. You will not have them when you put the European SIM in your phone but if you need them to call home from Europe, you can pop out the European SIM and replace it with the U.S. SIM to view the numbers you saved. However, it is far cheaper to use the European SIM to call home than it is to use the U.S. SIM, if indeed it works there at all.
Step 8 Find Which European SIM(s) you want
Go to http://www.prepaidgsm.net/en/operators.html , select where you are going and view the available providers, costs and other information on your choices. Then you know what SIM you will want and understand costs and more. Buy your SIM in that country. For multiple countries, compare the price of buying and USING a SIM in each country vs. buying a multi-country SIM.
Hendersonville, NC USA Sat 09/01/2007
Europe Power. Get a local 3-way cube tap
Often the only plugs in European hotels are full! I bought a 3 outlet cube-tap at a French hardware store and it sure comes in handy. Unplug the lamp (or whatever) insert the cube-tap, plug back in the lamp and then a US-Europe adapter. Bingo! Power & light in one place!
Seattle, WA USA Thu 08/30/2007
I do take my laptop as we have college age sons who need occasionally (ha ha) help with O-Chem or Physics. Skype is WONDERFUL. SKYPE can be used as a straight phone, just text msg. or video/audio. You don't need a camera (although camera and mike on-line are a/o $120 to buy so you can hook up.) Real time communication (with real time visual if needed, as in, here's the diagram Robert) at a/o .05 cents a minute. (that's .05 cents a minute not 5 cents a minute.) You need a "Pay Pal" account. I set our's up with 10 Euros and after a year of use we're down to, oh dear only 6.58 Euros left of useage.
ASan Diego, CA USA Tue 08/28/2007
safeguard your cellphone by setting up its lock
A tip is to use the locks built into your cellphone. Most cellphones come with two types of locks. The first is a unlock code you enter to turn the phone on. The second is a lock you can set when the phone is on to temporarily lock it; when you want to make or receive a call you unlock it.
These are usually 4 digit numbers; see your manual. By default these are normally off. The reason to consider setting up at least the power-on code is that YOU are liable for calls made when your phone is stolen! Whether on travel or if its stolen here in the USA. See http://tinyurl.com/343bz5 for an article about your liability.
LA, CA USA Fri 08/24/2007
Looking for cheaper Callback trigger
Dear Sir I want to make cheaper call from Saudi Arabia ( +966) to Nepal (+977) under 15 Cent throught callback triggier . is it possiable ? thank you
Al Jubail, Dammam Saudi Mon 08/20/2007
Use of GPS
I know there has been some reluctance to embrace technology when travelling to Europe for some people, however before the last trip to Europe I purchased a GPS unit that had maps for both North America & Europe much to the dismay of my wife. It was capable of being used both in a car as well as walking. It was a great supplement to using maps while driving and when we were in cities like Rome and Paris it assisted us in getting reoriented as to where we were on our city map. As well it was helpful in giving directions to restaurants that we wanted to find. As well when we were driving it was helpful in advising the direction and distance to the nearest fuel stations. When we were travelling on the freeways around Paris it gave warning when there was a change to the speed limits.
By the end of the trip my wife admitted the GPS was a good addition to our baggage.
Vancouver, BC USA Sun 08/19/2007
SIM CARDS WORKED GREAT LAST MONTH IN EUROPE
Just returned from 3 weeks in Europe with Unlocked GSM Phone. It was GREAT. I bought an unlocked Quad Band phone for about $100. Then, I bought a World Sim Card from MOBAL.COM. It was FREE and I only paid for shipping. Very cheap. I got a SIM Card that works in 172 countries. Average cost is $1.50 back to US and $1.25 for in country calls. You charge it to your Charge Card. No putting money onto the Sim Card. The phone number is a PERMANENT UK phone number. It NEVER expires. There is NO MONTHLY MINIMUM usage. There is NO PER CALL CONNECTION FEE. And, when I got home, the call charges were EXACTLY what Mobal said they would be on their website. FOR CRUISE PASSENGERS: I was on a 7 Day Baltic Cruise. I was able to use the phone on the Celebrity Ship and it cost $1.50 per minute back to the US rather than the $7.95 Satellite Phone Charge from the cabin on the ship.
Second SIM CARD: Because I was going to Scotland, I got a second sim card from 0044.uk.com. This one I had to pay for ($25), had to top off (put money in it -- Min. L10 or $20), the number expires after 90 days and you lose the minutes you don't use. BUT, BUT, BUT, the calls to the US were only 9 cents a minute .... That is incredible. And, after 9 days in Scotland and after calling a whole lot of the time, I still left the UK with $5 left in the phone.
I can't tell you how GOOD cell coverage was on BOTH MOBAL and on 0044. (0044 uses the 02 Network in the UK.)
Just wanted everyone to know there are great options out there.
Larry in Los Angeles
Sherman Oaks, CA USA Wed 08/15/2007
last year I took a small (20 gig) hard drive with slots for most camera cards and downloaded photos each day --- worked fine except that I couldn't actually see them until I could attach hard drive to a computer Since than I have purchased a Gigabeat MP3 player that I can download direct from camera -- view photos on the screen -- download them to ANY computer --- AND the player was cheaper than the comparable I-Pod!!!
Perth Australia, Australia Mon 08/06/2007
Unlocked GSM Phones
Gadgets to tote while traveling are great. Most of the good ones have been mentioned here and in the MP3 player section, but I haven't seen anyone talking about unlocked GSM phones, such as a Motorola Razr or Treo. With one of these, you can buy a phone SIM almost anywhere in the world and use it locally to stay in touch with travel companions, companies and friends among the natives. Then you can continue using the same phone as your regular mobile phone after you're back home. Just swap the SIMs! I'll never buy another locked mobile phone. it is only in the USA that a tip like this would be relevant. Everywhere else in the world, locked phones are almost unheard of. Our system in the US with all these phones that are locked into a single provider is reminiscent of the old days of land lines and leased installed phones. Fortunately, we're no longer obliged to buy into it if we choose a GSM network mobile service and buy an unlocked phone.
Ann Arbor , MI USA Mon 08/06/2007
Email, Internet, Satellite TV
With Satellite TV, email and the Internet, it is no longer necessary to stop traveling, ever. Even at home, we can be on the move virtually and constantly as we exchange email with new associates in countries we've visited, interact with them personally via social networking applications such as Facebook Youtube and MySpace, research destinations and resources on the Internet, and follow day to day events in far-away places, learn about foreign cinema and develop our language skills via satellite TV. Nothing can ever replace actual travel, but with the communications tools of the wired global village we can study and plan far in advance and minimize time spent not being sure what to do next. Another great tool is Google Earth. Use it to zoom on the places you know in familiar cities and make greeting cards from blown-up satellite views of favorite neighborhoods.
Ann Arbor, MI USA Mon 08/06/2007
You need no computer for digital photos
While a laptop might not be needed JUST for storing digital photos, it is useful for a great many things, including storing, LABELING, and SORTING my photos. Every morning at breakfast I process my photos from the day before. That takes far less time than looking for a cybercafe or photo store. I also use the laptop for recording my journal and keeping detail speadsheet records of my expenses, including one that projects the amount of money required to finish the trip.
We must go different places, because I have never found cybercafes and photoshops to be as ubiquitous as you claim. On my last trip to Germany, I did not find any cybercafes near train stations. Fortunately, I had found the location of cybercafes using the internet before I went, so I knew where to go. Otherwise I wouldn't have found them.
At under three pounds, my small laptop doesn't weight much more than a couple of guidebooks, and is far more useful.
CO USA Thu 08/02/2007
You need no computer for digital photos
If you're taking your computer to Europe to upload pictures from your camera, don't.
Nothing is easier than finding a photo store, or, better, an internet cafe. You can upload your pictures, get them "burned" to CD ROM (totally Xray safe) and take the pictures home that way. Internet cafes abound near major train stations. Even the smallest towns have a photo shop that will burn your memory card to CD for a reasonable fee.
This is the sort of thing you can do while walking to and from dinner any old evening.
I can always coax them into showing me the picture thumbnails afterward, so I know it worked.
Rochester, MN USA Wed 08/01/2007
If you are taking your laptop be sure to bring a USB Cable, many hotels say they have WiFi. However, I learned most mean it is located in the lobby. If you want to use it in your room it will not hurt to carry the cable. It is small and raps well with a rubber band.
Vienna, Austria Tue 07/24/2007
Quick correction on the USB Cable, I meant to say the Ethernet Cable. Sorry hope it did not cause a problem.
Vienna, Austri Tue 07/24/2007
I found this great website that helps you figure out what type of adapters/transformers you need for any electrical appliance in any country. Just fill in the your info and it tells you what you need! As I am technologically challenged, this was a big help! http://www.buytravelconverter.com/
Minneapolis, MN USA Thu 07/19/2007
Another site that lists adapters by country. Scroll down for the countries.
CA USA Thu 07/19/2007
Backup device - Alarm Clock/Watch
Bring a portable alarm clock (or watch that has an alarm setting). It may not seem fancy, but it sure was handy! We planned to use my cell phone as our watch, and called the cell phone company to set things up. However, it was after hours and they asked us to call back the following Monday - we of course forgot to do this. So my phone was a useless lump of metal the whole trip. Our portable alarm clock (which I brought on a whim - the phone was supposed to serve that function too) became invaluable telling us the time, and waking us up in the mornings! So that's my technology tip - bring a backup device and consider the time :-)
WA USA Thu 07/19/2007
We found very few cyber shops this time in Italy and France.Our Hotel in Paris recomended Cyber World cafe @ 20,rue de l'expositon-7500Paris firstname.lastname@example.org were very helpful and we were able to print our airlines pass there,we did have tp present our passports.It was hard if you needed driving direction printed out-may hotels let us use the computer but don't allow printing
Richmond, Ca. USA Wed 07/18/2007
If you are like so many people who only use a computer for entertainment - to play games and watch movies - then congratulation for leaving yours at home.
However, my computer is a valuable tool to save and organize pictures, hold valuable information, keep records of expenses, and save my journal. I would never travel without mine.
I don't know what you problem was with the pocket PC, but I have used a lightweight NEC handheld with great success.
USA Mon 07/16/2007
Laptop was a Must!
I don't regret for a minute hauling my 14-inch MacBook over to recent for our recent three week stay there. While traveling I used it for viewing movies and games. When in Greece I used it for nightly loading up photos, videos, and sound clips. I also wrote a travel blog every night for family and friends with stories and photos that I would then put up on the internet every morning. Almost all the hotels had in-room or lobby safes large enough to store my laptop.
By the way, wireless internet was available everywhere especially now that Starbucks has invaded the country. While the blog took time, it was no different than keeping a personal travel journal and will remain a permanent reminder of our trip.
Next time I'll take less clothes but will always take my laptop!
danville, ca USA Mon 07/16/2007
We went mostly digital on a recent trip to Italy. The digital camera and the kit completely paid for itself on just this one trip considering the cost of film and developing. Since every snapshot seems like its free, we took far too many. I have 1,200 pictures to look through now and correct for rotations. A 2 gig SD card, $19, had more than enough storage: Even including short videos. Advice: Treat the digital camera like you were still using film. Take the time to set the shot. Make each one count. 1/2 of mine are all junk cause I didn't take the same considerations I would have with film. Also, study how your camera works in low light conditions with out flash before the trip. Some have EV adjustments that will help in the low lit churches. Having at least one disposable fixed focus camera will help out with the glass cased displays. A home scanner will make those pics digital for sharing later.
Springfield, OR USA Fri 07/13/2007
Using Steves' guides, or others, you can make you own audio tour by reading the selection into an analog to digital recorder on your desk top. Then convert it to MP3 format and run it on your iPod or Rio or what ever. I'm surpised that Steves hasn't already done this.... Or maybe he has and I just don't know about it.... A CD with these audio guides in every travel guide would be a pretty cool idea.
Springfield , OR USA Fri 07/13/2007
I cleverly bought a pocket PC to avoid taking my laptop. In two days of trying how to figure out how to use the obtuse Microsoft operating system, however, I gave up on the idea. I decided to take my laptop afterall. But got talked out of the idea by a friend.
I went without for a month, the longest period I've been without a computer since 1981. It was great. Never missed it. Occasionally, I stopped in an Internet parlor to do a little email---mostly confirming hotel reservations.
Vallejo, CA USA Thu 07/12/2007
I know all too well the damage exrays do to disposible cameras. My pics of germany when developed all had a red tinge, and were very dark, some more than others. I wanted to carry the 2 cameras I had in my hands through security but the guard at airport wouldnt let me, and told me it would not effect the outcome. This was before the new tsa regulations. When I go Sicily this fall I am going digital.
ma USA Thu 06/28/2007
Portable Photo Storage
There is a brand of portable harddrive for photo storage - X-Drive. You put your memory card into it and push a button and the photos are automatically copied. The photos are still on your memory card, so you will need to delete them once copied.
The X-Drive requires a lap top-sized hard drive. You can buy the X-Drive with or without a hard drive - obviously, ones with a HD cost more.
I used one for two years in a row and it worked fine. Then, it went south...luckily I didn't loose any photos.
There may be other brands out there - check the net for "portable hard drive".
RICHMOND, Virgin USA Wed 06/27/2007
Best portable storage for photos (hard drive)
I am wondering who has advice on the best portable hard drive (for photo storage) to take on my upcoming trip to Italy. I can't spend over 125.00. Any tips would be greatly appreciated!
CA USA Tue 06/26/2007
Beware x-ray damage to film
In April 2007 when visiting the Eiffel Tower my digital camera battery went dead (bad timing) & I purchased a single use camera @ the gift shop. It was a perfect, clear day & I really missed not having my digital camera. But I shot away anyway. When I returned to the US I developed the film to find that it had been damaged by x-ray. What a disappointment. Fortunately, I have friends from my tour who were there @ the same time & they are sharing some of their pictures with me. My advice to anyone who travels with film cameras is to either have them developed before you return home (x-ray won't damage these prints or negatives)or ship your film home. I wrote Kodak & here's part of their reply, "new equipment exposes film in checked luggage to more intense x-rays and has been known to fog even very slow speed films. Therefore, we now recommend that you avoid (if at all possible) exposing your filmWe suggest taking your film in a clear plastic bag in your carry-on luggage and requesting hand inspection. Even if that request is refused, placing the undeveloped film on the conveyor belt at the passenger walk-through station is less risky than placing it in your checked bags because those scanners are less intense. (However, keep in mind that, depending on the way the machine is set and the number of times your film goes through security, it can also be damaged in your carry-on bag.) Just in case such a suggestion is made by a friend, Kodak does not recommend the use of lead-lined bags for film storage while traveling. If such a bag is placed in your luggage (either carry-on or checked), it may trigger a more intense scan of the bag until the lead lining is penetrated and the contents are visible." I now travel with an extra battery & charger & will charge a battery each night. I hope to visit the Eiffel Tower in the future & take pictures. I sure hope I'll have another perfect, clear day.
Louisville, KY USA Wed 06/20/2007
Travel with UMPC
Forthe ultimate in portable computing, I just got a OQO Model 2 UMPC and it is fabulous! The version I have has Windows XP (though you can get it with Vista) and built in wifi (as well as WWAN with Sprint, though that only works in the US). It's got 1 GB RAM and a 60 GB harddrive and I've loaded all the usual Microsoft apps. Thumb-type keyboard is the best on any UMPC, and it runs a Bluetooth folding keyboard as well. Terrific bright screen that rotates into portrait style for viewing long web pages. The best part is that the total size of the thing is just a tad larger than a pack of cards (fold a standard piece of paper into quarters and that's the footprint) and with standard battery, it weighs less than one pound.
Cons--it has a noisy fan and gets pretty warm in use. Also, the battery life isn't very good with the standard battery, though with the extended battery I get between five and six hours of use. And it's not cheap, naturally.
I realize that most Rick Steves readers don't want or need this kind of technology. But for those of us that do (I travel on business a lot) and who want to travel light, you can't beat this device. I just got back from Australia where I spent two weeks with a single carryon including my little OQO. Awesome...
USA Wed 06/13/2007
GPS Reviews - Recommendations
For those that are looking for a car GPS unit that has Europe and North America pre-installed, your options are as follows: Tom Tom 910, Garmin Nuvi 270, 370, 670.
The Tom Tom is inexpensive, but has many drawbacks. Read the reviews for all of these. Personally, I'm going with the Nuvi 370, but the 270 is just as good without some of the bells and whistles. Besides a larger screen, the 670 does not have features that I'm interested in.
Rick should pay more attention to this for two reasons: you cannot rent a car in France or Germany with English GPS, and more travelers are exploring beyond preplanned routes, and Eurorail lines.
Fremont, CA USA Fri 06/08/2007
Extra battery & charger
My Canon Powershot digital camera uses a rechargable battery. I have bought an extra battery & charger so that I always have a fresh one. When I travel I charge the battery I used that day & put the fully charged one in the camera. The next morning I put the freshly charged battery in my camera case & I'm ready for the day. I failed to do this one day & learned my lesson the hard way. It was the day I went up the Eiffel Tower! I enjoyed the experience but I sure do miss the pictures I could have taken there. I'll never let that happen again!PS: Don't forget the adaptor for the charger on international travel.
Louisville, KY USA Fri 06/08/2007
Internet Use in Europe
Internet access at cyber cafes can be challenging! Especial in Eastern Europe as the key board is different, and it usually is not set up in English. So when you go in ask them first to change the language to English,and change the key board to American before you start to struggle on your own. You can waste valuable time after the clock starts ticking just trying to get someone to help you. We found that the Apple computer stores have computer you can use and there is usually someone who speaks good English that is relatively handy when you have trouble as I did.
Colorado Springs, Co USA Thu 06/07/2007
Digital Camera tip
As I now travel with my digital camera I often take photos of a signs or object to trigger my memory identifying places. When it's time to review my pictures it's great to see the sign in sequence with he image I was interested in. Then I can delete it once I've noted it in my journal or photo album. Since it's not film I'm not afraid to "waste" a picture. My camera also has a voice recorder which I could use like this but never have. I have also taken photos of signs in the subway like "Mind the Gap" in London. That's pretty funny to many of us Americans. I don't delete those. And don't forget to look up at the wonderful ornate signs that often hang over restaruants & pubs. They can make wonderful pictures. I have seen many of these gems in London, France & Germany.
Louisville, KY USA Tue 06/05/2007
Wikipedia available on PDA's
Using the Tomeraider application and a 2 GB SD card I have loaded the entire Wikipedia on my palm (minus the pictures). This was very useful in my trip to Italy in Museums. Most major art works, let alone artists, have detailed entries that exceed the detail of most guidebooks...and you only are carrying the weight of your PDA.
El Cerrito, ca USA Fri 06/01/2007
Flight information website
A great website for tracking flight, airline and airport information is http://www.flightstats.com. Membership is not necessary but it is free.
You can real-time track flights, see historical performance on flights and get a ton of info, including reviews, on airports. For example, you can find out that the last flight of the day from Minneapolis to Fargo is excessively late or flat-out canceled 20% of the time!
There's also a great feature that will send you emails or text messages whenever flight info changes.
If anyone wants to know more information about what to expect on a flight they booked or are trying to decide which flights to take, I'd strongly recommend http://www.flightstats.com.
St. Paul, MN USA Thu 05/31/2007
Programming the toll free numbers may be a good idea, but many of these airlines also have European toll free numbers. They just don't look like ours.
Don't forget to carry a hard copy of this stuff as all it takes is one dead battery to keep you from accessing the info on your phone. Many pocket sized date books have these numbers listed in the back, as do some of the "travel notebooks" that you can buy at the bookstore.
Oh! Nearly forgot, there is also a "database" file for the Palm that you can download for free. I just used an Excel spread sheet to write them all down, and put that on my PDA and phone. I keep a hard copy with my ID and credit cards, too.
Birmingham, AL USA Tue 05/29/2007
Nintendo DS and flatiron
Does anyone know about charging Nintendo DS Lites? The charger just says "input AC 120V" what size converter would I need to get? Also, I have a flatiron that says 40 W....would that need a different size converter? (I saw two sizes of converters at Brookstone) We are going to Spain and UK. Thanks!! Pat
Irvine, CA USA Sun 05/27/2007
Living in a World of Battery Chargers
Traveling with a group or family means everyone has a digital camera, maybe a cell phone, a laptop, etc. to charge. And we all know that budget or mid-level European hotel rooms have perhaps one outlet available. Take a look at the Monster MP OTG400. It is a travel outlet strip. Put your plug adaptor on it and you can plug in four battery chargers. You could always just bring a regular power strip from home rather than buying the Monster, but try packing it first. It's amazing how much room those long power cords take up!
Sacramento, CA USA Wed 05/23/2007
240V vs. 22V
I hesitate to contradict our great benefactor, but voltage terms like 220V or 240V tend to get thrown around rather loosely. In this case I think by 240V he just means "European voltage". In any case, a voltage spec like 230V is only a nominal value; actual voltage will vary +/- depending on the distance away from the power network.
Until recently, the nominal voltage in Italy would have been 220V, as would have been the nominal voltage anywhere in the continental EU. The voltage in the UK, however, would have been specified as 240V. Appliances sold in these areas would have been rated for the nominal voltage.
The EU has now gone to one standard voltage, 230V. Initially, the tolerance range on the voltage standard is wide enough to accommodate both 220V and 240V. Over time, the tolerance will be narrowed, and the utilities will have to adjust their nominal voltage accordingly until sometime in the future, all of the EU will be at 230V.
Denver, CO USA Sun 05/13/2007
240V vs 220V?
I recently purchased the iGo Juice70. When double checking the input power capabilities, I noticed it was from 100-230V. My guidebook (Rick's, of course) states that Italy uses 240V. One website I wrote stated 220V was used in Italy. Can someone eliminate my current confusion? I just want to know if my iGo will work or if I need to do something else.
editors note: all questions must be posted to Travelers Helpline.
Washington, DC USA Sat 05/12/2007
I take a disposable camera when I travel. I don't have to worry if it gets stolen. I just buy another one. The best trick I've come up with yet for easy electronics!
Toledo, Ohio USA Fri 04/27/2007
Make sure your convertor is for NON-Heated items - burned up a MP3 player by plugging into a convertoer for Iron.
USA Tue 04/24/2007
Re: Useful cell phone numbers
Keep in mind 800 numbers may not work overseas. Get the non toll free number for everything.
USA Sun 04/22/2007
Useful cell phone numbers
Add your airlines 800 or direct number into your cell phone. If your flight is cancelled you can call to reschedule while everyone else is waiting in line.
Put your credit card, bank card & health insurance phone numbers in as well in case you have to report a lost or stolden card or become ill.
San Diego, CA USA Tue 04/17/2007
Who needs a laptop when you can have a palmtop?
I have been a longtime Palm user, and I recently upgraded to the LifeDrive. It has a 4GB hard drive (Yup, you read that right), WiFi, bluetooth, and an SD card port. You can play video and audio, read ebooks, PDF, and use a wide variety of second source software. A 1 GB SD card can hold dozens of books, and/or hours of audio and video. You can also purchase the international adapter charger for it. I got mine as part of the docking cradle package. You can also get these chargers for many cell phones.
With a bluetooth keyboard you are all set to replace your computer. I even have a camera that uses the same size cards, and often copy the cards to the hard drive.
Personally, I would also add a car charger to my tech bag. Most phones charge in under an hour, but larger devices may take all night to recharge. In a pinch you could borrow someones cigarette lighter for an hour and charge up the forgotten cell phone.
Birmingham , AL USA Mon 04/16/2007
As stated below, you will need a plug adapter for the countries you are visiting. I would suggest you have an extra set of batteries charged up at all times.
Antioch, CA USA Sun 04/15/2007
digital camera batteries
I am traveling to Europe in September. I have a digital camera that runs on 2 rechargable batteries. Will my battery charger work without a power converter? AC100 - 240V, 50/60Hz, 8W if anybody knows please inform so I don't have to buy and pack any more than needed. Thanks
Pittsburgh, PA USA Thu 04/12/2007
Re: digital camera batteries
Your charger will work just fine overseas in a 240 volt environment. But you need a plug adapter for the different outlets. Just don't get the all in one type, they may not work in recessed outlets.
USA Thu 04/12/2007
Video IPod w/ DigiCam vs laptop storage
I just got the new video IPod with the camera-connector attachment. This allows me to Download from the DSLR-Nikon to the IPod for storage. I tend to take a lot of picts - but didnt want to carry around the heavy laptop or go pay for CDs enroute, or buy a lot of extra memory cards for the cam. While the Ipod is not cheap (I needed a new one anyway!) it really gives you a multi-purpose device to back up those pictures. You wont fill up your ipod fast as there is so much room - even at full 6 or 10 mb resolution. When you get home you can doueload them back to your PC. The ipod lets you view/slideshow the picts as well (unless its in raw mode). You can buy specific video-pict handheld hardrives that are a bit larger and the same price - but the ipod gives you all the added features...
CA USA Wed 04/11/2007
No converter needed for laptops
My husband takes his laptop with him when he travels to keep up-to-date with far-flung children and to check with me on elderly parents. His laptop does not need a converter (and most don't). You just need an adapter plug to fit into the local outlet configuration. Additionally he takes a Motorola Razr portable recharger ($50) which keeps his phone going for 6 to 8 weeks after the inital charge dies (he recharges the charger when he comes home - reuseable over and over). Weighs ounces. There are cell battery chargers but they really don't give a full charge. Find a good recharger for your cell phone model. Small, light and easy.
San Diego, CA USA Tue 04/10/2007
Less is more
My tip is to leave as much as possible home. If I am traveling in the states I will bring along my cell, but make a point of turning it off to only call to check on the cat or call and check in with a friend. Do you really need to travel with the computer if not doing work? Gee, even the iPod has a way of saving pictures on it...digital cameras save on film and a good one will do a great quick video shot for you - no need to do an hour long shot with a heavier video camera (that no one will want to sit through anyway). Streamline as much as possible. I'm excited for my next trip to Europe... my video iPod will let me play games (helps me fall asleep), listen to Rick's audio tours or radio show or music, and store photos. I have a charger that plugs into the wall OR a car's cigarette lighter. I'll leave the phone at home, and will only have to pack one other "technology item" - my digital camera that will shoot some short video. I find it easy enough to find a computer in the hotel, etc. to send the occasional email home. If my friends or family really needed to contact me, they had my itinerary, and could contact the hotel. Next time I go, I even plan on setting up a "just while I'm in Europe" email address so that I can send out those trip reports (which I will send to myself as a sort of journal, and the friends/family can respond to just those emails.. no bills, spam, etc. allowed. Our day to day lives are filled with technology, so it is great to get away from that for a while and truly only use that which enhances our travels.
Dupont, WA USA Mon 04/09/2007
Check out iGo power converters and tips to provide a one-device way to charge and power all of your electrical equipment. There are tips that work with a wide variety of devices (e.g. phones, iPods, GameBoys) and they also convert the voltage as well. We never go anywhere without them.
Nottingham, England, UK Sat 04/07/2007
If you are looking for Wifi access overseas you can Google it and it will show websites where access is at. Some of the better sites are Jiwire.com, wifi411.com, wififreespot.com, wifi.com. Start there and they might lead you to others.
USA Wed 04/04/2007
Car plug ins
From my understanding 12 volt car plugins are the same worldwide though I haven't tried it yet. I would suggest calling the car rental agency for France and asking them or call places like Hertz that rent all over the world for the info.
USA Wed 04/04/2007
In answer to the PDA inquiry I have found that wifi works well (try it out here before you go, can't necessarily get into every web site) but company vpn's do not work well with it. Maybe you will have different experiences than me.
USA Tue 04/03/2007
Wifi Access and PDA
I have not tried to find hotspots, but the hotels I have stayed at in Germany, Austria, Prague, and Budapest have had wifi. The usual procedure is to purchase a card for the amount of time you want and enter the code printed on the card.
I am hoping to buy a PDA to take next trip instead of the laptop, but I have no experience with them. I am trying to decide which one I need to buy, and just hope they are good for accessing wifi networks and logging onto my work VPM.
Ala USA Sat 03/31/2007
car plug ins
I have a car cigarette lighter plug in that I use here (in USA) to plug things into (such as digital camera battery charger) as I drive. We will be renting a car in France. Does anyone know if French cars have the same cigarette lighter plugs (and the same voltage) in cars as in US (i.e. can I use my adapter in France?)
Hansville, WA USA Sat 03/31/2007
lnbndiwlrv,lnbndiwlrv,Sorry people. discount propecia mesterolone discount prednisone order prednisone buy propecia online buy cheap propecia
Sorry people. discount propecia mesterolone discount prednisone order prednisone buy propecia online buy cheap propecia
123456, NA Unknown Sun 03/25/2007
I'm going to Europe in June and recently purchased a used pocket PC (Dell Axim X30 similar to HP iPAQ - the size of a PDA) on eBay for $150. It has WiFi and Bluetooth. I can browse the Web, do email, use Skype for phone, and even use MS Office. All I need is WiFi access. I think I can also stick my camera memory card into the X30 and upload my photos to my website for safe storage. I even purchased a small folding keyboard for $25 that will work with the X30. Not having tried this before, I'm wondering if this system will work well? Others seem to think so, and it beats carrying even a small laptop.
Joseph T. Sinclair
Vallejo, CA USA Fri 03/23/2007
Laptop Wifi access
I am planning on a 3 month trip to Western Europe Spring 2008 and I was wondering are wifi access points as plentiful as you would find in urban American cities (IE: Starbucks, Mcdonalds, leeching off locals, etc)? Is there also wifi access on public transportation like buses and trains? I havent really found any information regarding wifi access points anywhere in Europe so any information would be great.
Seattle, wa USA Tue 03/20/2007
Please get rid of the email field in the posting form so it's not such an easy spam target. Posters who want to supply their email addresses can do so in the body of their message, and can write out the "at" instead of using the character that's the shift of "2". I'm weary of sifting through all the spam postings on the boards.
USA Mon 03/12/2007
iPod & DSLR download
You need a special connector to download from your Nikon DSLR to your iPod. You may already have one. I have used it and it worked fine. iPod just seems to have an odd way of naming the folders.
Rockaway, NJ USA Fri 03/09/2007
Travelling with PDA
When my husband and I flew to Italy in February 2007 for Carnevale, our trip was saved by the used PDA I had bought off Craigslist a few months before we left. While flying through Philadelphia on US Airways, the suitcase containing our handmade Carnevale costumes was lost/stolen (more about that at www.usairwayslostmycostume.com). In addition to the costumes, the suitcase contained all of our guidebooks.
Lucky for us, I'd spent the weeks before our trip compiling a list of all the shops, restaurants, etc. from the various guidebooks. I used MS Excel, Access, Word and Adobe Acrobat Editor to do it, but I could just as easily have done it using any word processing program. I had a list for each city we wanted to visit, and imported the lists onto my PDA. The result? Upwards of 30 pages of information that fit in the pocket of my cargo pants and that the airline didn't lose!
In addition to these lists, I purchased a program called Handmap for my PDA, that was kind of like having Mapquest in my pocket, only I didn't have to have a live Internet connection, or drop $500 on GPS equipment. The maps allowed me to zoom in and out, search for specific streets and intersections, and (best of all) create icons on the map that linked to entries in my Contacts list (also on the PDA). So at a glance, I could see if there were shops or restaurants I'd tagged as interesting around wherever I was.
We spent one of the days we were in Florence south of the Arno. After visiting one museum, we decided we needed lunch. Pulling out my PDA, I fired up Handmap, figured out our current location, zoomed out a bit to see if I'd marked any restaurants in the area, and found one that I'd noted was recommended in several guidebooks. My husband still raves about the meal there. And we wouldn't have found it if I hadn't brought the PDA with me.
Tacoma, WA USA Thu 03/08/2007
Nikon and IPOD for download
Hi - I noticed many on the board recommned using an IPOD to back up picts from their digi cams. I wondered if anyone has succes using the Apple Connector with Nikon DSLRs (web site only shows compact nikons on compat. list). I thought Id ask before buying - but I will post results if no one else tried yet! thanks
editor's note: All questions must be posted to the Traveler's Helpline
USA Tue 03/06/2007
Re: Laptop Case
Speaking of laptop cases, I just saw one that seems to fit your needs in the new Magellan's catalogue (www.magellans.com) that is a simple padded neoprene zippered envelope designed specifically to protect laptops at $34.85. Thinking about buying one myself!
Placentia, CA USA Wed 02/28/2007
GPS Maps for Europe
I have an IPAQ 6945 w/ a GPS receiver. I see several of you have downloaded maps to use your GPS devices in Europe. I will soon be visiting Italy, Holland and Belgium. I would appreciate any info on how to get maps for these countries for my Pocket PC.
Jupiter, FL USA Sun 02/25/2007
I got a HP IPAQ 6900 series.. In the USA the unlocked version is 6945. It's great for traveling. The cool thing is it has WIFI, GPS, BLUETOOTH and a GSM phone. I recently took it to Thailand and everything worked flawlessly. Can buy a US$4 SIM prepaid and then top it up with minutes. I even downloaded and English version of a navigation software and it was great to be able to see the streets of Bangkok with english words. Can even install skype on it and it works using a WIFI wireless connection. I usually can find free unsecured wireless connections almost anywhere. Some coffee shops and bars offer free wifi. Anyway.. the newest IPAQ is a pretty good solution for traveling if one want to leave the laptop behind. Cheers and happy traveling! R:)
San Luis Obispo, CA USA Sun 02/18/2007
Laptop case rec needed
Can anyone recommend a cheap but durable laptop case? I don't want to bring a laptop bag in addition to my tote bag. I just want to put the laptop in a flat case that I can carry around with me. Thanks!
Philadelphia, PA USA Sun 02/18/2007
Communicating with Home
Defiantly take your laptop for the obvious reasons; photos, e-mail, checking reservations and itineraries online, but also for Skype. www.skype.com, you can ask your family and friends to download it on their computers at home and talk for as long as you like free of charge (not counting internet access) Just make sure they have and you take a decent headset with mic. It's great to check in and not get rear ended on an outrageous long distance bill.
Phenix City, Al USA Tue 02/06/2007
iPods and Laptops
This past Sept/Oct, my wife and I completed our third trip to Turkey and it was the first one we made with an iPod. My advise is don't leave home without it!!! Since we had a rental car and traveled over 5000 miles (not km) we had an FM transmitter and it was great to be able to listen to music that we enjoyed. In Turkey we found internet cafes everywhere we went and they were inexpensive. In January I went to Indonesia and again my iPod was great to have especially with the long flight. This Aug/Sept, we are making a 2 month trip to Europe - Belgium, France, Spain, Portugual and ??? Since we will be traveling by car, I am seriously considering the purchase of a smaller and lighter weight laptop like a Sony SZ or TX. One other thing about taking an iPod (for thoses that don't have one) is that you can put your address book on it, books on tape and on and on. If you do decide to purchase an iPod, spend some extra money to purchase a GOOD set of noise reducing headphones. They can also plug into the airplane headset jacks and will be far better than what they pass out on the plane.
Vancouver, WA USA Tue 02/06/2007
Europe-laptop or not?
My experience from last yr's trip to Italy and France with the 442nd RCT (Japanese-American veterans); I took my iPod and MacBook laptop. Though heavy (along with a digital camera and video camera)in my back pack, it was worth having for the convience of downloading my photos and emailing friends. Also, its good to have keeping up with the hometown news. I probably could have down without the laptop (2 week trip). For a 1-3 month trip, it may be worth the extra wt. Be sure to include a lock in case you leave your room. I kept mine locked in my suitcase. Since you're retired military,take avantage of what military bases there are in Europe;you should be able to find local trips and quarters. I did with friends in Germany in 2004,staying in Wiesbaden where I was stationed. I'd be interested about where you finally go for 1-3 months in Europe.
San Jose, CA USA Sun 02/04/2007
Re: Mayday, Mayday
IPods are great for traveling as you can use them to back-up your photos from your digital camera, watch/listen to podcasts and listen to some music/watch a movie when you're bored. However a laptop is not necessary as there are internet cafes everywhere!
Milpitas, CA USA Sun 02/04/2007
Re: Mayday, Mayday
If you have the space and have one already, I would bring a laptop. I have a photo and video ipod, and I love the fact that I have pics (of friends, family, and places that I have lived), videos, a few games, podcasts, and lots of audiobooks. Mine is also big enough I can store data and pics on it. I have a mac, so I have my contacts on it also. I also use it to upload pics on when I travel. I like having a laptop when I am willing to travel heavier, but when travel super light too heavy! I have a 12" power mac, so can fit nicely into the computer pocket of my rick steves roll suitcase. Hope this helps. Have a wonderful time!
Chapel Hill, NC USA Sun 02/04/2007
I am considering a 1-3 month trip abroad...not sure where exactly yet...Europe or Asia. First things first, wherever I decide, I need some tips on whether I should take an IPOD and a laptop? I am considering purchasing a 30gig IPOD...but will it be a hassle or worth the effort lugging it along?
Secondly, and probably most importantly, should I bring a laptop...email, pictures, videos, blogging for the envious folks back home...ha.
Sincerely appreciate the info...I am 54 and retired military...been lots of places and began travelling around the world my Rick Steves book in hand when I was in my 20s...however, things have changed and feel out of the loop...
Help bring me up to speed someone please...
Littleton, Co USA Sat 02/03/2007
Deep recessed outlets
Hi. I just wanted to comment that some Euro outlets are very deeply recessed. As a result, I carry two simple plug adaptors, the one plugged into the back of the other (and taped together for ease of extraction as one unit). Doesn't weigh anything and allows me to use a bulky transformer (don't ask) that otherwise would be blocked by the rim of the recessed outlet. If you don't have a bulky transformer, i.e. just a cord direct to your device, you don't need this tip.
Just a Traveller
Tucson, Az USA Tue 01/23/2007
Power converters, recessed outlets and so forth
Plugging in a converter to a recessed outlet. You'll need a grounded adapter plug - plug into recessed outlet, plug voltage adapter into adapter plug and you have magic al la 21st century. Buy a grounded adapter plug (o/a $5)that accepts diferent appliance plugs (travel smart by franzus for example.) UK requires a separate grounded adapter plug. Extension cords are also helpful (buy in country of use) as the darn lamp is never where you want it to be and is also good for pluggin in your adapter come sleepy time so you and your electronics can "recharge".
USA Mon 01/22/2007
single voltage laptops
I know of no brand of laptop manufactured in the last 7 years that is/was single voltage. You say they are still currently manufacturing single voltage laptops, then please list the models so people can avoid them. Laptops are specifically designed for travel and mobility there is no reason for them not to be built without dual voltage capabilities.
NY USA Sun 01/21/2007
Over the last few years, I have bought five laptops (work, travel, son's college and graduate school, etc). They have all been dual voltage.
USA Sun 01/21/2007
ALL brands of laptops are dual voltage???
Last time I checked, they were still selling single voltage laptops, and that doesn't even start to account for all the ones already purchased.
If you have a laptop, check it before you take it to Europe. If you are buying one, don't even think about one that isn't dual voltage.
USA Thu 01/18/2007
Laptops in Italy
All brands of laptops are dual voltage.
NY USA Mon 01/15/2007
Laptops in Italy
I bring my MacBook Pro with me every where. Not only can I catch up on email, but it is great for downloading my photos at night, and editing video. I also bring along some movies. MacBooks are all dual voltage so there is never a problem with power. it also allows me to charge my Ipod.
Branford, CT USA Sat 01/13/2007
The site mentioned previously is very good, but only shows plug adapters, not converters. A plug adapter allows you to plug a US plug into a European receptacle, but you still get European voltage (240V); a converter is a device that changes 240VAC to 120VAC.
USA Tue 01/09/2007
Converters & Electrical Info all countries
The following site list and shows various converters for different countries:
CA USA Sat 01/06/2007
Converters without extension cords
I think if you look at a European plug adapter you will find that the receptacle end takes either US flat blades or European pins (at least all the adapters I have see do). One of those will serve to span the recess.
USA Fri 01/05/2007
Hints for Techies
Almost everything I hav taken to Europe or Australia/NZ has been dual voltage.
Read the little power bricks etc. that come with your toys - if it says 120/240V (or anything close, like 100/250Volt) then it works - you just need the plug adaptor, no fancy converter/transformer. (Only 1 toy - a battery charger - did not take 240V. I plugged it in in Sydney and "pop". Time for new charger.)
I took an N. American octopus - one of those 1-plug-to 3 socket expanders. Then I plugged this into a plug adaptor, and I could charge the IPod, camera batteries, etc. all at once.
I used the 60Gb iPod gen. IV (Colour, no video) and the Apple "Camera Connector". I have used this on 3 separate Cameras - Canon A80, A710i, and Fuji 4900z - none listed on Apple web compatibility list - and it worked fine. Better to lug a nice light iPod than a huge laptop - free music on train rides.
I took the laptop to Italy once, and the iPod is much nicer. Downsides- takes about 15min to dump 512Mb, and if you didn't delete, your pics are on the iPod twice. Plus - you can review the pics after download.
Nowadays, camera cards are so cheap, I could get a few 2Gb (1,000 pics plus) cards for less than $50 apiece, and skip the ipod downloads except for entertainment value.
More low tech - I blew up my wife's hair dryer in Paris (melodramatic - it just stopped working). It had a little rotary switch - 120-240. I guess I didn't rotate it ALL THE WAY until it clicked. By the time we reached Rome, she decided we needed one - found one in a small shop for $30.00 ( 45,000L, IIRC). That's gotta be cheaper than a good converter, and more reliable. We have it any time we need to go back.
Thompson, MB Canada Fri 01/05/2007
converters and extension cords
I have a converter but couldn't plug it in to the recessed outlets (especially in Sweden) Where can I buy an extension cord for Europe (i.e. for european outlets) on the web?
USA Fri 01/05/2007