Electronics and Staying Connected

by Nadine Dirksen - Friday, October 5, 2018

In today’s day and age everyone want’s to know where they’ll have WiFi, how they can check email and will their hairdryer plug into “their” outlets. Some may opt to leave everything behind and try to unplug from time to time. Either way we want you to be prepared should you want to reach out and touch someone from the other side of the pond.

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Adaptors & Converters

Adapters

Electrical outlets vary in their shape across countries. Plugs and outlets are categorized into types from A through N. In order to make your device’s plug fit into local outlets, you will need an adapter.

Converters

The voltage used across the world is either 110V-127V or 220-240V (the US uses 110V). A converter will make your device usable in countries with a different voltage than your home country’s.

What do you need?

Many modern electronics people usually take on their travels – smart phones, tablets and laptops– already have a built-in voltage converter, in which case, you will only need an adapter to plug it in. In the increasingly rare event that you bring a device that doesn’t have a battery pack with a voltage converter or a built-in converter (shaver, hair dryer etc), you’ll need to buy a separate voltage converter.

Both adapters and converters can be found at just about any local hardware, travel or outdoors store.  We find this guide pretty thorough and helpful.

Hair Dryers

Usually, hotels used on our tours will have hair dryers in the room. If not, they will them available at the front desk. The same is true for barges and boats on our tours.

Cell Phones

Cell phones that support the GSM Wireless system (Global System for Mobile Communications) work in most places around the world these days. Most cell phone providers do provide GSM-capable phones, although you may have to call your service provider to have the technology “turned on” or “unlocked”. You can also rent GSM-capable phones. You must have an international plan turned on in order to make phone calls, and remember you will be charged for both outgoing and incoming phone calls.

You might consider buying a local pre-paid SIM card to switch out – remember you will have a local number then. For more information about using European SIM cards in your smartphones check out Rick Steves’ blog post.

Making Phone Calls

You’ll need to know the International Access Code (sometimes called Exit Code) for the country from which you are calling (IAC) and the country code for the country that you are calling (CC). You’ll also need to know the local number (LN). European local numbers can vary in length; whatever digits follow the country code is the telephone number. For more specific information on how to make phone calls in the country you are traveling to, please check out our country-specific instructions.

You will also find instructions on how to make a phone call on your Day 1 Dayheet, which you will receive by email about 30 days prior to your tour start.

VoIP Calls

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) allows you to make free computer to computer phone calls, and for a small charge calls to a cell or land line telephone. Try SkypeGoogle Talk or VoipBuster.

Internet/Wifi Access

Throughout your trip you’ll have the opportunity to connect to local internet and WiFi hot spots in a number of cafes, hotels and restaurants. Most of the hotels we use (on some tours 100%, on others 70%) have WiFi, although at times it is only available in common areas. We will mention on the Hotel Itinerary (emailed out to you about 30 days prior to your tour starting date), if there is no WiFi on any day.

Nadine Dirksen - A German native, Nadine is a happy Colorado transplant who moved from lush Bavaria when she married. She left the land of pretzels in 2012 and has been enjoying a fun life full of cycling, mountain biking, CrossFit, hiking, running and any other outdoor activity that involves her little black Dachshund-mix. When not having fun outside or at work, she tries her hand at different craft projects with varying success. She helps our travelers by answering all their questions before their tours and she can't wait to help you bring your dream trip to reality!

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