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|Travel Books For Europe|
European Travel Books - A quality tour guide book is a must. If two of you are traveling together, it will not hurt to have a travel guide for each of you. Sure there will be duplication of information, but I've noticed they are usually uniquely different that you can find that little local cafe off a side street that may be missing in the other. Although the link directs you to hard copy books, we strongly recommend that if you are carrying a mobile device, that you search for the digital versions and download those. Also, go to your applicable App Store to download Travel information Apps like Rick Steves among others.
- Backpacks/Day Packs/Waist Packs - Travel Buddies use smaller backpacks, almost Day Packs in size, with the handle and wheels and use a fanny or waist belt to hold important documents, wallets and passports. (Those scoundrel pick pockets are still around, I'm afraid!) Ours can be pulled with a handle and wheels like the one shown here (might come in handy if you try to bring back a camel or something!)
- We also recommend a Messenger Bag for keeping your money, credit cards, cell phones, a small umbrella and other small items you might like to keep with you and accessible during the day's touring of sites. Many museums and Cathedrals will allow you access with a messenger bag whereas you will have to drop your larger backpacks and day packs in a claims room. Just less hassle to wear your Messenger Bag. For more information on how to pick and pack your things refer to the video on the Links page on packing. (TB Recommended Item)
Smartrip Stop and Lock Manual Luggage Scale/tape
- One Item often overlooked is the need to ensure your carry on luggage meets the requirements of airlines. This inexpensive luggage scale with a built in tape measure is a necessity. As you're packing for your trip, weigh your bag. With a typical weight maximum for carry on luggage at 16 lbs, and over certain dimensions, every ounce matters. Know your carrier's weight limits. (TB Recommended Item)
- Amazon's pick for best choice, this power converter gives you plenty of flexibility when traveling overseas. Gives you plenty of ports to plug in your devices and USB devices. Keep in mind that the weight of this unit +accessories comes in at 1.2 lbs. If your electronic equipment labels (for ALL the electric and electronic devices you carry shows the designation of 110-220 v, you do not need this converter unit. You just need a Plug Adapter. If you are taking a hair dryer or similar electric appliance, it may burn out as soon as it is plugged into just an Adapter. Weigh the value of the extra weigh over just purchasing a new hair dryer in Europe. (TB Recommended Item)
|Sublime Ware Adapter Plug|
- Adapter Plug - Use this adapter if all your electronic equipment AND your other electrical items, like hair dryers show on the label that they can operate off 110-220 Volts, otherwise consider the Power Converter unit above. This unit comes with 4 USB ports. (TB Recommended Item)
- A handy portable recharger for your mobile devices. this one has a capacity of 8000mah. Carry this in your Messenger bag, along with your tablet and phone for on the go quick recharging! This unit is only 6.45 oz.. Please take the time to look at other models as some can give you up to 20,000 mah, but will be heavier. (TB Recommended Item)
- For me, it's all about the camera. My traditional camera has been my partner for years. I must tell you though, if there is a quality Smartphone that can do about everything I've done with my bulky camera, at a reasonable price, I'll switch. Besides, I don't like looking like a tourist if I can help it (although I'm sure when you are walking around with 30 other people, who cares, right?)
- Smartphones and Cell Phone Cameras - They are smaller, less bulky than a full format DSLR (I like compact for weight and size for travel); the more expensive ones have quite good cameras. Some professional travel photographers have started to use a quality iPhone or Smartphone for all their field work; they are becoming that high quality. Most of us into photography think we are much better at it than we probably are. Remember, if you're on a busy tour, you are most likely going to be taking shots on the run and grabbing that shot of dramatic effect within a few seconds. The key to good photography is really about how fast you can get your camera ready for that moment and how well you frame your shots. The tour experts I've read about, say because of the weight limitations imposed now by airlines, you're better off going with a iPhone or Smartphone rather than a traditional camera. But each to their own.
- I would recommend using the camera specs of a phone like the Huawei Mate 9 or Mate 10 (pronounced WOW-YAY) as your benchmark to compare other phones to find the one that fits your needs and pocketbook. Here is a video review of the Mate 10 Plus by Unbox Therapy and here is a compilation of the Top 10 Camera Smartphones for 2018 using promo clips for each phone. A quick overview of the current crop of high tech to get your "dream factory" juices going.
- Consider an "unlocked" phone. An unlocked phone is one where no specific carrier is embedded into the phone. You can then choose the carrier you want as long as the network system is compatible with your phone. Speaking of networks...
Travel SIM CARDS - Europe
- GSM or CDMA. The other consideration is the network. Europe operates on a system called GSM. There are primarily two US carriers, AT&T and T-Mobile that use GSM. If you have a GSM supported phone, you can pick up a GSM SIM card once you're overseas, or purchase a Travel SIM Card through Amazon that gives you limited voice and data usage from 15 days on up. Even this is changing. More phone companies are making phones compatible with both systems.
- Consider a Dual SIM Phone if you are traveling a lot. You can keep a SIM Card for two different locations with different phone numbers. Dual SIM phones are also useful if you want to keep your personal and business calls separated with two different numbers and use the one phone. Do not try to call home from Europe without having a local SIM card...the roaming charges will eat you alive if you are a heavy international caller. Although I understand T-Mobile phones are becoming the go to phones for international travelers. Just do your research.
- Having said all that technical mumbo jumbo, if you're not interested in the camera feature, you could just buy an inexpensive "pay as you go" phone when you first arrive in Europe and use it for emergencies and calling home without the expense of purchasing a new phone.