Travel Forum

Our Travel Forum was created to provide you with the opportunity to connect with other travelers who share your passion for travel. Sign into "My Account" and you’ll be able to write reviews, share your travel experiences, and post questions for other travelers. Not yet registered? It’s simple to create an account, membership is free, and it only takes a moment to join. Once you do, you’ll be able to write reviews, share your travel experiences, and post questions for other travelers. If you have a specific customer service or quality assurance question, please contact our Traveler Support Team by calling 1-800-221-0814. We value the contributions of our travelers. Please familiarize yourself with the guidelines for participation before you begin.

Author: porkchop55

Joined: 2/6/2011
Posts: 71
Trips Taken: 11
Countries Visited:

Vietnam, Cambodia, Great Britain, Israel, Italy, Spain, Turkey, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Tunisia, China, Peru, Canada, Japan, Philippines, Thailand, Fiji, American Samoa, Australia, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea

Traveler Since: 2004

August 03, 2011

I’ve looked through the forums for information on using Tech tools on travel.  In the Europe forum I found lots on WiFi on GCT ships and under “What are Travelers Reading” I found discussion about e-Readers.  So, I thought it might be nice to start a Tech discussion under travel tips. 

Has anyone had good or bad experiences using a Kindle, iPad, iPod, netbook, MP3 player etc. on travel?

How hard is it to find free WiFi in Europe, China, Asia and other places GCT and OAT go? 

Do most hotels GCT and OAT use have free WiFi?

What’s the best way to make calls to the USA using WiFi?

Please share your lessons learned.

Author: porkchop55

Joined: 2/6/2011
Posts: 71
Trips Taken: 11
Countries Visited:

Vietnam, Cambodia, Great Britain, Israel, Italy, Spain, Turkey, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Tunisia, China, Peru, Canada, Japan, Philippines, Thailand, Fiji, American Samoa, Australia, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea

Traveler Since: 2004

August 03, 2011

Last year on our trip to Tunisia, with an extension to Rome, I carrying so many books that when it came time to take a domestic flight I put all the books in my backpack to make sure I was under the 40 lb luggage limit.  That made for a rather heavy backpack.  We were doing our own thing in Rome so I had a Rick Steves Rome guide and an Archeological Guide to Rome. 

So this year I have decided to take the plug and use more Tech on our October trip to Spain and Portugal.    When buying books to read before the trip I purchased the $114 Kindle.  I picked the Kindle because I found there were many free books like Washington Irving’s Tales of Alhambra and Don Quixote, it would be easier to read in the bright sunlight, and it will go for almost a month on a single charge.  Being able read in the sunlight will be nice when reading a guide book outside. 

Author: shatzi

Joined: 3/10/2010
Posts: 59
Trips Taken: 6
Traveler Since: 2009

August 03, 2011

Great idea for a forum.  Last year I took an ereader on a river cruise and was not the only one traveling lightly.  This year I plan to take my Motorola Xoom.  I  am hoping, with the wifi currently on ships, it will prove successful.  We took it to Canada in the spring and had no problems.

We had purchased a unlocked phone to use on trips and purchased sim cards for the different countries.  Because we will be visiting 5 different countries this year, we were able to fine a sim card to cover all 5 .

I would love to hear from any one who has used an android device on the river ships with wifi and how successful it was.

FYI.....Those ear buds from your ipod make a great substitute for the headphones on tours!

Author: nancyf

Joined: 4/26/2010
Posts: 155
Trips Taken: 7
Countries Visited:

43 of the 50 United States, including Hawaii and Alaska, England , France , Italy , Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Africa (Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe. South Africa), Israel, Canada, the Carribbean, Peru, going to Egypt & Jordan in February 2011 ( canceled due to the unrest there, but I will take this trip later!), China, Russia, Kenya, Turkey, Greece, Malta, Sicily.

Traveler Since: 2007

August 04, 2011

I took my Kindle on my trip to China in Feb.  and to Kenya in June.(I had just gotten it as a Xmas gift from my kids!!) I had downloaded quite a few books onto it before I left. Using it to read only requires no WiFi.

I also turn off the WiFi feature unless I am downloading books (at home......didn't need to do this on the trip.....see first paragraph), because it makes the battery charge last longer. I had taken the battery charger, though, with me, just in case the battery started to run low. I don't ever want to not be able to access my "books" on the Kindle!!

I don't worry about other kind of access on trip. I leave my contact info with my children and figure that they can reach me through that, if it's really necessary. If there are computers available on board ship or at hotels, I use them occasionally. I don't really need a blow-by-blow from home about every detail about kids and grandkids. I travel to see foreign places, to meet new people, to have new experiences, and to "get away" for a while.

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 970
Trips Taken: 11
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

August 04, 2011

I agree with everything Nancy wrote.  I do take the charger for my Kindle with me, and I was able to use it on the Rossia a year ago.  I did that on the last afternoon so that I would have the Kindle available on the trip home, but the light turned green so quickly that it probably wasn't necessary. 

I take my cell phone so that I can call my limo driver who will be waiting in the cell phone parking lot when I get home.  Otherwise, I don't use it on trips.  My son has a copy of the hotels and the GCT emergency numbers, but he's never had to use them. 

On the Rossia, I used one of the two computers in the ship's library to access my e-mail every couple of days.  Other trips, I've found an internet cafe or a public access computer in the hotel.  I don't have to be connected all the time.

Author: cdoyle5641

Joined: 8/2/2011
Posts: 4
Trips Taken: 0
Countries Visited:

I usually travel alone or with family, but it is now time to give GCT a try. My only son and his beloved wife live in central England, so I usually go there once a year. Have seen Ireland, England, some of France, Germany and Switzerland. Have done lots of cruises and been to Hong Kong (my fav) 6 times. Am doing Scotland and Wales on a driving trip with the kids this fall, but it's time to get to Italy next year. Hope to see you soon.


August 04, 2011

I have fallen deeply in love with my Kindle and have (so far) taken in to England and Hong Kong.  No more searching for an English Language bookstore in China!  You can keep You entire library available - to have it you get bored.  Also - can download a new book from nearly anywhere in the world in just a minute or two.  My charger works well with adaptors, or plugged into any USB port. 

The best part is that I can take as many books as I like and it still only weighs a few ounces.  Saves all that extra weight for shopping.

 

Author: cls65

Joined: 7/27/2011
Posts: 1
Trips Taken: 1

August 04, 2011

I am taking new kindle to Europe for River Cruise Mosel/Rhine.

Will my charger work on the ship?  I am from U.S.

Author: porkchop55

Joined: 2/6/2011
Posts: 71
Trips Taken: 11
Countries Visited:

Vietnam, Cambodia, Great Britain, Israel, Italy, Spain, Turkey, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Tunisia, China, Peru, Canada, Japan, Philippines, Thailand, Fiji, American Samoa, Australia, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea

Traveler Since: 2004

August 05, 2011

With the price of small 7” touch screen  Android tablet computers around $100 I purchased one just to use on trips.   It uses WiFi to connect to the internet so I hope most hotels have free WiFi.  I plan to use it to access e-mail, check the local weather forecast, and read the news.  My experience from past trips is that hotels may have one computer in the lobby and it is often being used by someone else when I try to use it.  They also tend to have a keyboard that is not QWERTY (US layout) and it takes longer to type things. 

I also noticed on my OAT trip last year that some hotels had no computer but had free Wifi in the lobby.  I’m wondering if with so many people have portable computers the hotel lobby computer will go the way of the pay phone and be harder and harder to find.

I’ll let you know how it worked out when I get back from my next GCT trip in October.

Author: nancyf

Joined: 4/26/2010
Posts: 155
Trips Taken: 7
Countries Visited:

43 of the 50 United States, including Hawaii and Alaska, England , France , Italy , Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Africa (Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe. South Africa), Israel, Canada, the Carribbean, Peru, going to Egypt & Jordan in February 2011 ( canceled due to the unrest there, but I will take this trip later!), China, Russia, Kenya, Turkey, Greece, Malta, Sicily.

Traveler Since: 2007

August 05, 2011

@cls65--yes, your charger should work. Just be sure to take your converter and adapters.

Author: porkchop55

Joined: 2/6/2011
Posts: 71
Trips Taken: 11
Countries Visited:

Vietnam, Cambodia, Great Britain, Israel, Italy, Spain, Turkey, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Tunisia, China, Peru, Canada, Japan, Philippines, Thailand, Fiji, American Samoa, Australia, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea

Traveler Since: 2004

August 09, 2011

If you are going on a trip to Europe be sure to check out Rick Steves’ free audio guides at www.ricksteves.com.  He has them for sites in Athens, London, Italy and Paris and is adding more.  I used his free guide for the Orsay and Versailles during my 2009 trip to Paris instead of paying for one.  He also has free maps to go along with the walking tours.  

Rick Steves guide books are also available for the Kindle.  That means you can pack lighter.

Author: shatzi

Joined: 3/10/2010
Posts: 59
Trips Taken: 6
Traveler Since: 2009

August 09, 2011

We have used the podcast on a walking tour in Paris.  It certainly led to places we may have over looked.  I think there is a podcast for everything! Thanks for the website.  Another great site is: http://www.hulu.com/.  If you do a search for Rick Steves or even just the town or place you are going to visit, you will find lots of visual information. Technology has certainly made it easy to find travel resources and communication!

I was recently introduced to a book, When Gadgets Betray Us by Robert Vamosi.   It covers the dark side of the ever evolving technology.  I am looking forward to reading it.  I believe it is also available for ereaders. Technology is here to stay and it's worth, at least try, to be one step ahead.

Author: singsling

Joined: 6/23/2010
Posts: 241
Trips Taken: 11
Traveler Since: 1995

August 15, 2011

I, too, found it enticing to take an eReader to Europe on our recent back-to-back trips.   One was a river cruise, and one was a land/coastal cruise (Norway).  I too used to bring 8 books at least on a month's tours.  When I bought my eReaders, I found on the back of the charger the Voltage; the two were 110/240V.  This means, just buy an adapter for the country you are visiting and plug the charger with the adapter in any socket, the voltage adjusts itself.  (By the way, I buy only dual voltage curling irons and portable steam irons to take overseas, which I've used in Asia and  Europe, with adapters).    I only had a chance to read a few times in a day since we were out all day.  I read at night, and when I went to bed, I just plugged the charger in and if I got up in the middle of the night and it was charged (green light), I pulled the plug.  I did this a few times a week. 

As for using the netbook.  On the river cruise, the ship had Wii fi only in the lounge with one computer to check out.  We had to get a user ID and password from the front desk.  We have  a netbook and never could get into the Internet/email using the ship's ID and PW on our netbook.  The manager tried it too and couldn't get it to work.  But, one evening I was fiddling with my eReader Wii fi and there was my email.  When it found the ship, I just selected that and I had no problem.  I didn't try the Internet because I had nothing I wanted to look up at the time.  I did send an email, which was the first time in almost 2 weeks that we could send email to let family know we were okay.  We still don't know why we couldn't use the ship's Wii fi.  When we left the ship and got into hotels, we were able to use our netbook to both go into some websites and send emails, but not all hotels had Wii fi that would work with our netbook. I also found some of  the websites we visited (banks, utilities) we could not get into because they didn't recognize the site we used to get in and blocked us from getting into their sites due to security for our netbook and their site.

Situations are different but that was ours.

 

Author: porkchop55

Joined: 2/6/2011
Posts: 71
Trips Taken: 11
Countries Visited:

Vietnam, Cambodia, Great Britain, Israel, Italy, Spain, Turkey, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Tunisia, China, Peru, Canada, Japan, Philippines, Thailand, Fiji, American Samoa, Australia, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea

Traveler Since: 2004

September 21, 2011

It’s great that most manufactures are standardizing on USB chargers for portable electronic equipment.  I now need to carry one charger on trips.  My phone, camera, Kindle and MP3 player can all be charged with a single duel voltage USB charger.  I do however need to carry different USB cords for the camera and MP3.  Maybe someday they will standardize all the plugs and I will only need one cord. 

For my next trip I’m thinking of taking 2 USB chargers in case I need to charge two things at the same time.   Also I read a travel tip suggesting you take a short extension cord with 3 plugs on the end.  That way you only need one plug adapter to charge two things at a time.  The extension core is also nice to have if there is only one free plug in the hotel room or the plug is behind the desk.

Author: stans

Joined: 7/27/2010
Posts: 2
Trips Taken: 3
Traveler Since: 2010

September 21, 2011

While travelling in China last year with GCT I had my trusty iPad with me. With my Kindle, Nook and free or nearly free phone call apps it has really lightened my electronic gadgets load. No more heavy notebook computer to lug around.

Many of the hotels had ethernet connections in the rooms, but no WiFi, although that was frequently available in the lobby.  The iPad does not have a connection for an ethernet cable, but does have WiFi, so I carried a small router (Apple Airport Express) with me that plugs into the ethernet connection in the wall and then sends out a WiFi signal. I used an app called Whistle with the iPad that allowed me to call the US free through WiFi. When that didn't work, I used Skype.

Many smartphones now have built-in Wifi and can be used to access the internet without having to pay data charges from your carrier, if you can find free WiFi hotspots.

Author: porkchop55

Joined: 2/6/2011
Posts: 71
Trips Taken: 11
Countries Visited:

Vietnam, Cambodia, Great Britain, Israel, Italy, Spain, Turkey, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Tunisia, China, Peru, Canada, Japan, Philippines, Thailand, Fiji, American Samoa, Australia, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea

Traveler Since: 2004

September 29, 2011

Stans, thanks for the tip on using a small router to make your own Wifi hotspot.   I decided to buy one and found a very small Edimax router on Newegg for $25.  The thing is amazing; it is the size of 1/2 a deck of cards and the USB power supply is about the same size.  Since it uses the same power supply and cable as my Kindle I will only have to carry one cable and power supply unless I think I will need to charge my Kindle at the same time, which isn’t likely since the Kindle charge lasts for weeks.

Author: porkchop55

Joined: 2/6/2011
Posts: 71
Trips Taken: 11
Countries Visited:

Vietnam, Cambodia, Great Britain, Israel, Italy, Spain, Turkey, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Tunisia, China, Peru, Canada, Japan, Philippines, Thailand, Fiji, American Samoa, Australia, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea

Traveler Since: 2004

October 13, 2011

I just learned an easy way to web surf and get e-mail on my Kindle with WiFi.  For 99 cents in the Kindle Store you can buy “Web Browser Surfer 3rd Edition”.  This is a book that you load on your Kindle and it has an index of different types of Web sites so you select what type of site you want to go to and it then list sites and has a link to each site.  When you click on the link it opens a browser and takes you to the site.  No typing in URLs just click and go.   I don’t know if it will work with the new Kindle touch, but if you bought your Kindle more than a month ago it will work. 

It has links for common sites like Google mail which is what I use on trips, so if you use your local cable company for e-mail it may not be listed.

I found that the Kindle key pad is not the greatest thing to type on. When holding it and typing the Kindle seems a little top heavy compared to something like a Blackberry, but it will work great for short messages home.

Author: porkchop55

Joined: 2/6/2011
Posts: 71
Trips Taken: 11
Countries Visited:

Vietnam, Cambodia, Great Britain, Israel, Italy, Spain, Turkey, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Tunisia, China, Peru, Canada, Japan, Philippines, Thailand, Fiji, American Samoa, Australia, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea

Traveler Since: 2004

October 14, 2011

We leave on Spain and Portugal in Depth in 6 days and last night I received the welcome aboard e-mail from our Trip Leader.   He suggested that if you have a laptop computer to bring it because all hotels on this trip have free WiFi.   He also said they have computers available, but they charge to use them.

I’m not going to lug my laptop around Spain and Portugal, but I will be taking advantage of the free WiFi to check e-mail and weather with my 7” Android Tablet and my Kindle.  Don’t really need both but I want to test both out and see which is better for travel. 

Author: rscrawford

Joined: 1/20/2011
Posts: 4
Trips Taken: 5
Traveler Since: 2005

October 19, 2011

Last December I had my cell phone with me on the Christmas market tour.  Much to my surprise, I was hit with $60 in roaming charges.  I used text messaging and made 1 phone call home.  I now have a Android Inspire.  Any hints on avoiding the roaming charges?

Author: gmhughes

Joined: 11/1/2011
Posts: 5
Trips Taken: 5
Traveler Since: 2008

November 01, 2011

I took an IPad on a trip this past June (2011).  Wifi  ccess on the GCT ship (Rivery Rhapsody) was spotty and only worked when tied up in port,  not while cruising.  Not a lot of bandwith on the ship's router, so it didn't take too many people accessing the internet at the same time to clog up the system.  On several stops I could find wifi signals to access in town, but be careful or you could get hacked when using an unknown site.  I've found Starbucks' hotspots are pretty reliable -- for those Starbucks that have a hotspot.  Friends of ours used an IPad with Skype to make calls back to the US on an OAT trip to South America.  Voice quality was perfectly clear when they called us in the US and the cost was dirt cheap.

Author: porkchop55

Joined: 2/6/2011
Posts: 71
Trips Taken: 11
Countries Visited:

Vietnam, Cambodia, Great Britain, Israel, Italy, Spain, Turkey, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Tunisia, China, Peru, Canada, Japan, Philippines, Thailand, Fiji, American Samoa, Australia, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea

Traveler Since: 2004

November 08, 2011

Spain and Portugal in Depth WiFi Report, 3 November 2011:

This is a great trip and covers a lot of cities in 14 days.   There’s not much free time to spend surfing the internet but access was free in all but Lisbon.   My Android Tablet PC was WiFi only so I did not test Ethernet drops in the hotel rooms but noted if they had them.  

Madrid Spain – Hotel Catalonia Gran Via (Guadi) -  Free WiFi in room had a good strong signal.  Ask the front desk for the User ID and Password.  There was an Ethernet Drop in the room.

Cordoba Spain – Hotel Cordoba Center – Free Wifi but signal too weak to use in room.  Had to go to the lobby to use Wifi.  User ID and Password are printed on the key envelope they give you at check-in.   There was an Ethernet Drop in the room.

Torremolinos Spain – Hotel Melia Costa Del Sol – Free Wifi in room, but signal weak.  I Got better signal on  the balcony so I checked e-mail and enjoyed the view of the beach.  Ask the front desk for User ID and Password.  There was an Ethernet Drop in the room.

Seville Spain – Hotel Sevilla Center – Free WiFi in room with good signal.  User ID and Password are printed on the key envelope they give you at check-in.   There was an Ethernet Drop in the room.

Lisbon Portugal – Hotel Mundial – No free WiFi.  Purchase access card from front desk 3.50 Euros for one hour of WiFi access.   Note this is a one-time use access card, so if you use 15 minutes to check e-mail and then try to get back on the next day it will not work.  You must purchase a new card for each use.  The WIFi signal was good in the room.  There is no Ethernet drop in the room so WiFi is you only in-room option.

You cannot Post or Reply, please sign in

Rules of Use:
Be Relevant

Please stick to the topic of travel when posting in our Forum. Stay on the relevant topic and do not disrupt a discussion in progress. If you have a specific customer service question or issue, please contact our Traveler Support Team by calling 1-800-221-0814.

Be Respectful

Use of any inappropriate language, personal attacks, and hate speech are not permitted. Respect others’ opinions and suggestions.

Be Mindful of Privacy Issues

Please do not post the personal information of other members (full names, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, etc).

Help us help you

Please click on the ‘Report Abuse’ button if you see an inappropriate posting.