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Discussion Starter #1
I have a couple questions, feel free to answer any part of them...

I've noticed that there are a few international travelers.  Do you use a universal charger like iGo and just hook it up to a converter?  Are there any concerns/worries about doing this?  Would it be better to bring separate chargers (phone, ipod, Kindle)?  Is there anything else besides charging that I need to think about?

I've also seen on different threads that a few people have iGo chargers and they seem to like them.  Is it really easier/lighter/smaller to carry an iGo with three different tips instead of carrying three chargers?

I'm looking for any tips or advice you can give me!  I'm traveling to France and Italy this summer.  It's the trip of a lifetime for me.  I lead a boring Midwestern life and never thought I would get to do something like this.  I am so excited!  I've never traveled to Europe, I certainly don't want to haul more junk with me than necessary.  My Kindle is considered necessary!  

I would love to hear any pointers or opinions
 

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Kim, sounds like a great trip.  I bought the kindle cause we're going on a long cruise to southern Europe in March and I didn't want to carry a ton of books (8 days at sea).  Not sure why you'd carry your phone charger as I don't think a US cell will work in Europe.  I'd bet this IGo thing would be a better way to go than the separate chargers, but remember most of Europe is on 220 vice the 110 we have here so be careful.  Not much help.  Im' sure others will help more.  Have a great trip!

John
 

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John is right about your cell phone.. it won't work in Europe so you really won't need that charger.  And anything you can leave behind will be a good thing. 

Have a great trip!  I did Italy and Greece last summer and loved it! 
 

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Yes, the iGo really is lighter than a charger for each device.  However, I haven't used mine in Europe.  My previous experience in Europe, and I've been several times, is that some devices only need a plug adapter; others need to be plugged into a transformer.  Generally, if your device doesn't have a big boxy plug or a box somewhere in the cord, it needs to be plugged into a transformer; otherwise it just needs an adapter.  I found that plugging something that didn't need a transformer into a transformer kept it from charging properly.  Read the manual or go to the website for the device.

Some cell phones will work in Europe.  Mine does.  Call your service provider to doublecheck.  You may need to turn on international calling.  It was free to turn it on but I had to take the extra step to do it.  We used the cell phone several times over there, including to call home when my husband needed to go in the hospital in Spain.  I'll never travel over there without a cell phone, and I had made sure I had a cell phone that worked over there when I purchased my last one.

Hope this helps.

Betsy
 

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Discussion Starter #5
As far as the cell phone goes... It depends on the phone and the provider.  With my phone and using AT&T, I am able to use my phone in Europe.
 

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Kim,

Go buy one of these:
(they sell them at Amazon)

and one of these:
(which you probably have already in your house)

and you'll be all set to run/charge your Kindle, computer, battery charger, iPod, and whatever other device you decide to bring along on your trip. You should be all set. If you bring along a hair dryer, make sure it has one of the switches to change from 110/220 v. In my experience, hair dryers are the only thing that need to be converted. I actually haven't brought a hair dryer on the last few trips I have been on because they are usually available in the hotel room or I just towel dry my hair (my hair is short).

Remember, whispernet doesn't work in Europe so you'll need the USB cable if you want to transfer any books during your trip. And, also, remember that the USB doesn't trickle charge the Kindle so you will need your charger.

I go to Europe at least once per year so please feel free to ask questions. I am happy to help!

L
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Betsy the Quilter said:
Yes, the iGo really is lighter than a charger for each device. However, I haven't used mine in Europe. My previous experience in Europe, and I've been several times, is that some devices only need a plug adapter; others need to be plugged into a transformer. Generally, if your device doesn't have a big boxy plug or a box somewhere in the cord, it needs to be plugged into a transformer; otherwise it just needs an adapter. I found that plugging something that didn't need a transformer into a transformer kept it from charging properly. Read the manual or go to the website for the device.
Wow, thanks for the info Betsy.
Transformers.... Adapters.... I thought I only needed one simple little dohicky thing, I have more to learn than I thought I did.
 

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It depends on the phone. All of the major cell phone carriers have phones that work in the US and in Europe. If you have one of those cell phones, it would make sense to bring it. I would strongly encourage you to see about temporarily adding an international package to your cell phone plan.

You are going to need a converter. You can buy universal converters now so that you have to carry a ton of them.

I would warn you to look into the types of plugs and electrical outlets are used in France and Italy and make sure you have the right converters. When I was in Egypt, I blew up a rechargable battery recharger because I had placed it in the wrong outlet. I didn't realize that there are two outlets (each with a different voltage) in Egypt and I had placed it in the wrong one. I lost a $20 charger and the batteries in it. Thank god it was not my IPod. I didn't have  Kindle at the time.

The other option is to try and get a replaceable battery for the Kindle and charge it before you leave. That way you have two batteries and can swap if needed. That is what I am planning on doing for my honeymoon. I know the Amazon replaceable ar eon back order but have been told that there are several other options.

I studied abroad in Italy and loved it. It is a wonderful country. Here is a tip, check the bill when you get it for the gratuity. When I was there, the gratuity was already inluded in the bill. My Italian friends loved going out to eat with me because we would get better service. The restaurants know that most Americans don't realize that the tip is included in the bill and so they give them good serivice looking for a large tip on top of the already billed tip.

I have to say, I was bummed that I could not find decent travel guides for New Zealand for the Kindle.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Leslie said:
If you bring along a hair dryer, make sure it has one of the switches to change from 110/220 v. In my experience, hair dryers are the only thing that need to be converted. I actually haven't brought a hair dryer on the last few trips I have been on because they are usually available in the hotel room
Thanks - I was certainly wondering about the hair dryer. Unfortunately, I have one of those heads that NEED the dryer.

And I will be loading up my Kindle with reading material before I go. I don't plan to bring a laptop or USB cable.
 

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kim said:
Wow, thanks for the info Betsy.
Transformers.... Adapters.... I thought I only needed one simple little dohicky thing, I have more to learn than I thought I did.
You don't need a transformer for your Kindle charger.

In my experience, I haven't needed one for my computer (Sony Vaio and previously, 2 different Gateways). I have also not needed anything special for the battery charger and on my most recent trip, my iPhone. The kids haven't needed anything for their iPods, either. You just need an adapter for the plug.

L
 

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Discussion Starter #11
ProfCrash said:
I would strongly encourage you to see about temporarily adding an international package to your cell phone plan.
Yes, I agree. AT&T also recommended I add an international calling plan just before I leave, and then I can revert back to my regular plan as soon as we come back. I certainly want my teenage daughter to be able to get a hold of me if she gets lost while chasing cute Italian boys. :)
 

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kim said:
Thanks - I was certainly wondering about the hair dryer. Unfortunately, I have one of those heads that NEED the dryer.

And I will be loading up my Kindle with reading material before I go. I don't plan to bring a laptop or USB cable.
You may want to re-think the laptop (my 2 cents). Internet is everywhere in Europe (just like here). Wireless in cafes, Internet in hotel rooms. On all of my trips since 2002, I've used email to keep in touch. I set up a mailing list in advance of friends and family who want to hear from me and then every day or two, write a long, newsy email with updates on what I am doing/seeing. It's easier (and cheaper) than writing dozens of postcards and at the end of the trip, I have all my messages to pull together and compile into a trip journal. Another alternative would be to set up a blog and post to that. My son is in Jamaica right now (enjoying his Kindle) and he is doing all his updates to family and friends via Facebook and that is working well. With any of these it is easy to send/share pictures, too.

Another reason for a laptop is to keep track of and organize pictures. My husband does this more than me but when we are traveling, he is a total shutter bug. He'd download pictures to the computer every night, organize them and label them. You think you'll remember what every single place/photo is but it is amazing how quickly you forget or get them mixed up.

L
 

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kim said:
Yes, I agree. AT&T also recommended I add an international calling plan just before I leave, and then I can revert back to my regular plan as soon as we come back. I certainly want my teenage daughter to be able to get a hold of me if she gets lost while chasing cute Italian boys. :)
::) some of us teenage girls can't help it. There's something about Europe that puts us in a romantic mood and bold in our actions!!! Or so I hear....
 

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kim said:
Yes, I agree. AT&T also recommended I add an international calling plan just before I leave, and then I can revert back to my regular plan as soon as we come back. I certainly want my teenage daughter to be able to get a hold of me if she gets lost while chasing cute Italian boys. :)
I have AT&T and used my iPhone on my last trip. It worked great. The expensive thing is data transfer so you don't want to use it for web browsing* and try to keep text messages to a bare minimum.

*another reason for the laptop

L
 

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I agree on the photos.

One thing I did In ehypt was to take a picture of the ticket we had for the Temple or Museum. That way I knew all the pictures after that were from that location. I tried to keep a photo journal each night, going through and writing down what each picture was. It would have been easier with a lap top, which I did not have. And I would not have had to buy a memory card in Egypt because I filled both of mine up.
 

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I'm the same way...gotta dry that hair.

I bought a special travel hairdryer. It was compact and worked on 2 currents. I don't remember the brand but I preferred it to my full size dryer and used it for many years. Some aren't very expensive and worth it. Here's a link for travel dryers.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_kinc?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=travel+hair+dryer&x=0&y=0

I loved Italy. Had a bad experience in France.

My travel tip for foreign countries...If you don't know the language and venture out on your own, take something with you that has the hotel address on it. It sounds pretty obvious but you will be excited and forget. Don't forget. ;)

Have fun.
 

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One thing I did In Egypt was to take a picture of the ticket we had for the Temple or Museum. That way I knew all the pictures after that were from that location.
Now that is a fabulous travel tip. Thanks, Prof!

L
 

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I used my Palm T/X to send email; most places, as Leslie says, have wireless, either free or pay per use. It was a godsend last fall as I could keep family apprised of what was going on, for free! Only used the phone to call home once Fred got to feeling better so his sister could hear his voice and stop worrying.  

I never leave home without my laptop, EXCEPT when I go to Europe as I don't want to haul it everywhere I go (along with the DSLR camera I use).  Except in the UK, I'd be reluctant to leave it in most hotel rooms I've stayed in (note to Betsy: must win lottery so we can stay in better hotels).  Internet cafes are everywhere, though, and many hotels have pay-per-use computers in the lobby that you can use.  Being able to post pictures would be cool.  Now that I have my Acer Aspire, I may start bringing a laptop to Europe.

Betsy
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Leslie,
Thanks for the laptop advice.  I will think about that.  I will already be carrying quite a bit of camera equipment (a fairly heavy body and a few lenses) and we will be moving through quite a few hotels so I was really worried about the amount of stuff I would be hauling around.  I was hoping to use my phone for my internet access and email communication.  

I'm still not sure if I want to haul the laptop with, but I'm going to give it some more thought.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Leslie said:
I have AT&T and used my iPhone on my last trip. It worked great. The expensive thing is data transfer so you don't want to use it for web browsing* and try to keep text messages to a bare minimum.

*another reason for the laptop
Great to know! I knew I could use my phone and AT&T in Europe, but I haven't checked out how much the calls, texts, and data will cost yet.
 
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