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Travelling through Europe – mobile phones, internet & photography

There are a lot of articles over the internet that give recommendations about what you should buy or what you need when travelling Europe and the world when it comes to mobile phones, laptops, tablets, cameras and other devices.

Firstly for USA readers when I refer to a mobile or mobile phone I’m referring to a cell phone.

Most of these articles are inevitably about selling a certain product but really don’t give a lot of information other than, this is really good product and you should buy this one. This is a little different, I will include a bunch of different links to different products that you can buy if you want and I would like you to, because the sales of these products are what will keep this blog going in the future, but if you don’t, you will get a lot of information that will help you make a decision even if you don’t buy from me.

Firstly, I’ve worked for the past 12 years in different Telco companies in Australia when I started Nokia 5110 ruled supreme over the world, the Finnish telco with a phone that would not break. Then Blackberry had a bit of time in the sun and now the unstoppable juggernaut that is Apple. Scientologist leadership would look at this cult and say “how do they do it”. I’ve also travelled a lot over the years, first trip a 1 year journey around the world followed by another 5 years in Europe and since I’ve been home, another 10 or so visits to Asia. I know what it is to travel long term.

Now to the nitty gritty and if there is one thing to take from this article it’s this.


So every person is going to be different in what they might need and will want to take with them when they travel. This will come down to a bunch of questions that you should ask yourself.

  1. Are you travelling alone or as a couple or are there a group of you travelling together.

If there is more than one person you’ll be able to carry more things between you, chances are you’ll want to use the internet at the same time and you’ll have multiple devices between you. It will also mean that you will be able to share the cost of calls and data.


If there are a group of you travelling together you should buy a mini modem so you can all access the internet through the mobile phone system when you don’t have access to affordable wi-fi. If you are travelling alone a USB Mobile Broadband modem will be a more cost effective option.

2. Are you going to see a large number of countries in a small time frame?

Reason for this is if you are only going to spend a small time in each country it will make it unfeasible to get a new SIM in each country that you visit. This is generally the cheapest way to be able to buy calls and data.


There are SIM cards you can buy that cover multiple countries in Europe and around the world which provide better rates than roaming with your current Telco provider.

3. How long is your trip?

If you are travelling for a short time you may find that using Skype from a free wi-fi spot backed up with global roaming from your home telco will be sufficient. In my opinion if you are travelling for more than 4 weeks global roaming will not be a cost efficient option for you. The longer you’re away the higher the likelihood that you will either find a hotel with very high wi-fi rates, you can’t find a cafe with free wi-fi or you want to access a website that requires security ie banking.

Also the longer you are travelling its more likely that you will be taking more and bigger devices with you such as a tablet or laptop.


Having you own mobile broadband provides you with flexibility, security of your valuable data and coupled with cloud facilities gives you a large storage capacity available almost anywhere you have mobile phone coverage.

4. What will you be using your devices for.

A person who is running a blog will need different devices to someone who is backpacking Europe and is carrying their life on their back. This comes down to a few different device types Mobile Phone, Tablet, Laptop, Camera, Kindle, GPS, or wearables. How much do you need, do you want to watch the football match on bigger screen or speak to you family on Skype on your mobile. These are the questions.


No solution here just a decision that needs to be made and that’s how much do you need to take Weight vs Usability.

5. What devices do I already have and what am I prepared to buy new.

It’s given that most people will have a mobile phone but if you’re in USA or Brazil, Japan or Korea will that phone work in Europe? Most phones will but you need to check that your phone will work on 900 MHz and 1800 MHz. While phones in the USA use 850MHz and 1900MHz.

So if your current mobile phone doesn’t use those frequencies then you either need to get another phone or rethink your strategy.

Then there is Apple vs Android and Windows (only added because I use Windows). If you use Apple products you will have inevitable issues if you use try to use any non-Apple device, product or App.

If you have a wi-fi tablet is it worth taking because you can only use it where there is wi-fi however by getting mobile broadband it is then usable anywhere where there is a mobile phone signal.


Do you need a mobile phone? Everything you can do on a mobile phone you can do on a tablet. And then you only need to purchase data not voice calls. In my opinion it would be harder travelling with just a mobile but not a tablet rather than travelling with a tablet and no mobile. The only reason I carry a mobile phone while travelling is that it’s a light weight camera and its easier to upload the photos to Instagram. Making calls is secondary. I can keep in touch with home on my laptop with Skype. I don’t use many apps so I don’t really need a tablet. I have one but I pretty much use it as a Kindle.

6. Are you into photography?

This question opens a pandoras box because there are so many questions after this. SLR or Compact? One lense or multiple? But your choice of camera or no camera will influence your other hardware choices. Because of this. If you take an SLR camera you’ll need a card reader and an OTG cable then upload an app to hold the pictures. Another more expensive option is to buy a tablet that accepts a USB port. If not you can use a laptop. But a lot of this will depend on what hardware you currently have and what you can carry.

Here are 3 tablets that do have a 2.0 USB port

Acer Iconia Tab A200

Toshiba Thrive

Microsoft Surface


No solutions here because there are so many questions. My mobile phone of choice is a Nokia 1020 because of one reason, a 39 megapixel camera with a Zeiss lenses. I’m happy to tolerate a Windows operating system to get those superior photos.

7. Are you going to travel through Europe in a campervan, caravan or camping with a car?

If you are going to have a vehicle you have the ability to bring devices that weigh more such as a larger camera, laptop and you will use a GPS. There will be at least 2 people more than likely so you can share the cost and mobile broadband modems can handle multiple devices connecting to them.


If you are travelling by vehicle for a longer time period I would highly recommend getting a mobile broadband wi-fi modem. It will give you broadband while you’re travelling allow you to book your next campsite make telephone calls by Skype and will make your trip more enjoyable.

So here are some summary points to conclude

  1. Do not use global roaming unless its a short trip – Skype is your friend.
  2. You can get moderately priced data only SIM cards in Europe
  3. You will not find free wi-fi everywhere in Europe mobile broadband is a great backup
  4. You will need data more than voice calls so think data first and you can make your voice calls using data.
  5. If you are a group travelling together a mini-modem is a better option than everyone buying USB mobile broadband modems.
  6. If you are heavily into photography think about how you can upload and store the photos do you need cloud access and how do you get the photos from camera to storage.

Save money sightseeing in Paris

Visiting Paris soon? One way that travellers can save money is by pre-purchasing a Paris Pass.

The Paris Pass is a sightseeing card which gives holders FREE ENTRY to over 60 sights and tourist attractions in Paris.

Customers simply pay the once off price for the Paris Pass of their choice (there are three durations to choose from) and then can enter as many of the tourist attractions included on the pass that they wish to, without paying, plus travel for free on the Paris Metro system.

Attractions which can be visited free with the Paris Pass are the Louvre Museum, the Arc de Triomphe, a Seine river cruise, an open top bus sightseeing tour, the Grevin Wax Museum and the Palace of Versailles – to name but a few.

The Paris Pass is an ideal addition to a family holiday, romantic weekend or group trip – in fact, anyone who is traveling to Paris can enjoy and benefit from the pass. Customer survey results show that over 90% of Paris Pass users are more than satisfied and would recommend the pass to others.

Great way to save money in London

Visiting London soon? One way that travellers can save money is by pre-purchasing a London Pass.

The London Pass is a sightseeing card which gives holders FREE ENTRY to over 60 sights and tourist attractions in London.

You pay a one off cost for the pass and then you are able to visit as many of the included tourist sites in the period that your pass is valid for.

Some of the most popular attractions which can be visited free with the London Pass are the Tower of London, Kensington Palace, Windsor Castle, London Zoo – to name but a few.

The London Pass is an ideal addition to a family holiday, romantic weekend or group trip – in fact, anyone who is travelling to London can enjoy and benefit from the pass.

Homestay in Hoi An – Orchid Garden Homestay

I spent yesterday afternoon as guests of a Hoi An Homestay – Orchid Garden Homestay.

Orchid Garden Homestay is located on Cua Dai Road halfway between Hoi An Old Town and Cua Dai Beach. The homestay is a collection of 11 bungalows so it probably better classed as a boutique hotel or self contained units than a homestay. Of these bungalows 5 of them have a self contained kitchen if you wish to cook your own food.

The bungalows have cable TV in a lounge room with Vietnamese style lounge chairs.

Some of the bedrooms can be set up as either a double or twin beds but you should ask about this when you book.

Some of the bungalows have 2 showers one indoor and one outdoor and this is one of the bungalows individual charm each bungalow is different from the other.

There is a nice swimming pool in the homestay which would be very welcome in the summer because Hoi An gets hot. One thing I loved about the homestay was the food. Breakfast is included in he room rate and you can have a Vietnamese breakfast or Continental European.

Looking to go to the beach? You can use the homestay’s bike and ride to the beach or in the other to the Old Town. If you need some information the receptionists speak excellent English.

Rates at Orchid Garden Homestay range from US$40-70 per night.

Is Classic Holiday a scam? Few Points that Validates Classic Holidays a Signature of Excellence

Is Classic Holiday a scam? Few Points that Validates Classic Holidays a Signature of Excellence

The world’s most recognized holiday club, Classic Holidays, has been helping families enjoy exceptional holidays since 1978. It is their forte to take care of their members in every way with their travel requirements. In all these years they have reached a position with over 650 employees, looking after almost 65,000 club members in Australia and New Zealand.

Classic Holidays takes care of the holiday arrangements of its members- everything from planning, reservation to car rentals. This year, almost over 98,000 member holidays booked in. Overall, the Classic Holidays Club system is versatile, flexible, diverse and easy to use. Take a look at the below points that make it clear why joining Classic Holidays Memberships is extremely efficient-

  • For those who love travelling, Classic Holidays make a wonderful holiday arrangement to its members to remember for the rest of your life.
  • Club member will have access to top-notch resorts and accommodation facilities in the most beautiful and exquisite areas in the world.
  • The strength of Classic Escape lies in its enduring affordability! Once you re connected as members, you get into affordable relaxation.
  • As a member, Classic Escapes entitled you to the lowest possible prices for holiday accommodation and travel. You can receive the following discounts-
  1. 15% discount off the lowest price of any resort, hotel or holiday park accommodation
  2. Up to 60+% off the price of off-peak accommodation packages.
  3. Up to 40% off on international travel bookings.
  4. Up to 30% off on cruises and cruise/travel packages.
  5. 15% minimum discount off on all-inclusive travel insurance.
  6. Up to 30% off on car rentals, transfers and activities.

When you join the membership as a Resort Owner under Classic Holidays membership club, you own a traditional week of timeshare at the home resort managed by Classic Holidays. Being a part of the wide chain of members, you can take advantage of your free membership and exchange your week for $1,000 rebate on cruise or coach tour.

 Again, as a Classic Getaway Member, you have easy access to discounted holiday ownership throughout the world. Other features including the discounts are achieved through your association with Classic Holidays and its global partners.

If you deliberately want to create a lifetime of holiday memories, join Classic Escape affordable holiday club to see how exciting it is to travel across the world. You can ask other members, or the people who work with the team, they’ll tell you that Classic Holidays’ customer-centric culture is widely acknowledged

Wet season in Hoi An – the weather breaks

After hearing how the past month how the monsoon hasn’t happened this year the weather has broken.

Last night the rain was so heavy it woke me up. It’s rained pretty much all day today as well.

Which is just great by me because I hear that my home town is suffering with 4 x 40C days in a row, which I would not be liking at all.

Starting to get a few things together now, trying to set a regular schedule of things to do on the website an also the work I am doing for another website Tripeasel.

Tripeasel are a socially conscious startup with an aim to impact the local economy of the destinations through job creations and environmental protection. You can buy a trip package from them today as an investment for your future trips.

Your purchase will be protected with a full refund and helps the startup grow their services by adding more exotic destinations and attract future investors. They are bunch of hardworking people who are seeking a little support from you. Back their pre-order campaign today, it will only cost you 15 bucks (50% discount) with a blogger special coupon code from me

The other issue causing me angst is my Nokia Phone/Camera which I need to get fixed. I fell over a couple weeks ago and smashed the screen and its proving difficult to get fixed so far.