Travel Plugs - Electricity Outlets
Cellphone/ Sim Cards
- Vancouver -> Frankfurt (lay over of 7 hours!...gave me a chance to explore the city)
- Frankfurt -> Florence
- Florence -> Venice
- Venice -> Cinque Terre
- Cinque Terre -> Pisa
- Pisa -> Nuremberg
- Nuremberg -> Biberach
- Biberach -> Frankfurt/Vancouver
Know anymore planning tools? Let me know!
I went on the Renaissance tour which included Santa Maria Novella church, Cathedral Of Santa Maria del Fiore (The Duomo), Piazza della Signoria, Church of Santa Croce
It is great having a phone that was manufacture unlocked because it gave me the freedom to use my phone with other sim cards/mobile providers while travelling.
I did a bit of research to see what deals are available in Italy, and i started with TIM. When getting a sim card and activating it in Italy, you have to give them your passport information. So in case you don't already carry your passport with you - bring it to the phone store !
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I found this post most helpful which summarizes going with either TIM / Vodafone / Wind / Trebelow
The following was taken from Donald Strachan's blog:
The “TIM per smartphone” option is still one of the best deals around for a visitor. It costs 3€ per week, renewed automatically each week after activation, for 300 Mb of data. If you run out before the week is up, you can renew early (you will receive a text with instructions; reply with SI and you are refilled with data). To activate TIM per smartphone, just text TIMSMART3 ON to 40916 from your TIM line. There are a couple of further options to consider: TIM per smartphone mese (1 Gb valid for up to a month for 10€; text TIMSMARTMESE ON to 40916); and TIM per smartphone 4G (500 Mb at 4G/LTE speeds valid for a week for 6€; text TIMSMART4G ON to 40916).
Note, though, that TIM 4G coverage is limited to some cities only. Most of the country is covered with 3G only (and remote areas, not even that: slow EDGE speeds are still out there).
It is free to activate any of these options, as long as you do it by text or phone. In a TIM store, they will probably charge you an activation fee (often equal to the first payment of your prepaid plan). Here is the online TIM store locator.
Voda’s data-only add-on isn’t quite as generous as TIM’s: it costs 3€ per week for up to 250 Mb with the Mobile Internet option. However, Voda has fantastic all-in plans for mixing up talk, text and browsing. Vodafone UNLIMITEDoffers unlimited in-country Voda-to-Voda minutes (it costs a further 1€ per day for 200 minutes to anyone, debited automatically from your first call), unlimited texts and 1 Gb of data per month (at 4G/LTE speeds for no extra money, until May 31, 2013) for 11.90€.
Smart 350 is slightly better if you want to do more talking: 350 minutes to everyone, 350 texts to everyone, and 1 Gb of fast data for 9.90€ per month. Note, that’s a promotional price, and may rise after June 9, 2013. (It may not… prices on Voda’s all-in tariffs swing around a lot; check the updated tariff sheet they keep in most Vodafone stores.) Here is the Vodafone online store locator.
As with Voda, you get the best out of Wind with a minutes plus texts plus Internet plan. The All Inclusive plan has 120 minutes, 120 texts and 1 Gb of Internet for 7€ per month (until June 9, 2013; the regular price is 17€ per month, but after June 9 another promotion will almost certainly come onstream). To activate, text ALL SI to 4033. You can increase that data allowance to 2 Gb for an extra 2.50€ by activating the Internet No Stop add-on. Or make it 10 Gb of Internet by activating the Mega Unlimited add-on for 12€ per month (text UNLIMITED SI to 4033). Here is the Wind store locator.
The advice on 3/Tre remains the same: this is very much Italy’s “fourth” network. I have struggled in the past to find a signal in remote, rural areas. But if you expect to be city-tripping only, this is worth a look—mostly because the plans are straightforward and cheap. All-In Small costs 8€ per month for 120 domestic minutes, 120 texts and 1 Gb of high-speed Internet. Alternatively, don’t bother with a plan (other than the Power10 .10€/min. pay as you go rate) and addSuper Internet: 5€ for up to 3Gb of Internet valid for 30 days. Here is the Tre/3 store locator.iPad plans in ItalySIMs for iPads, iPad Minis and Android tablets are available on every network. Tre’s plan is the simplest and cheapest: the Super Internet package offers 3 Gb of Internet valid for a month for 5€; Tre SIMs usually cost 7€.Prices and plans on Vodafone and TIM vary with browsing speed (cheaper for standard 3G, pricier for HSPA+ [42.2 Mbps, in theory], priciest for 4G/LTE). TIM has the cheaper “starter” plan: Internet Start offers 2 Gb of browsing within a month for 12€ (plus 5€ activation fee). Pay a little more for Voda’s Internet Go package (20€/month) and you get 5 Gb of traffic at 3G speeds. For heavy use, TIM’s Internet 4G tariff allows up to 15 Gb of traffic in a month, at 4G/LTE speeds, for 35€. TIM and Voda SIMs usually cost 5€.
How do you stay connected when you travel?
So summer is over, and we are dreaming of traveling to somewhere nice again. Here are some tips for you to travel smart!
- Time constraint - if you are unorganized, you might not realize you have to pre-book or the place is unavailable when you are free.
- The deal really isn't THAT good if you're not familiar with the place..might be better deals there
- Probably not in the prime location - you'll probably have to travel really far - and this is hard to do when you don't know that area well or if you don't have your own transportation.
Here’s our current plan.
fly from Bellingham: Alaska Air → keep checking for price drops (better if you’re going with a group to have people check and alert each other)
park in Bellingham: don’t park at the official airport parking, its more expensive (10$/day). Park at those independent ones (7$ per day). They all use a shuttle service but the independent one, you dont have to wait much because they have less customers and time it so that they get to the gate at every flight. They are waiting for you. The gates of their parking lot is also locked overnight so less likely to have thieves visitations.
Moreover, its an domestic flight so you dont have to be there 2 hours ahead of time, in fact they dont want to see your face until 2hrs before the flight.
fly from Vancouver: parking is a RIP OFF! Let me tell you a story. I went on a work trip that lasted a week. The coupon said it would be 40$ (excuse all the $ signs after the number, i’m French Canadian) for a week, summer special.
http://www.geo.ca/August%20%2025%20LTL%20Specials%20e-Coupon%20template%20-%20Bonus%20Uniglobe%20Geo%20N%20Van.pdf (DO NOT CLICK UNTIL YOU READ THE FOLLOWING)
That sounds like a good deal, but...
I finish the week of work, wait for the shuttle for the longest time (10minutes, whereas i could just take a cab home instantaneously). Then they take you to the parking lot, you get to your car, get out of the parking lot. At the gate, they charge you something like 60$!!! I said, WTF, it says 40$. She explains this:
72*1.12*(some gas tax) - 32 = 60!!!!!!!!!
1- Gas tax? i didnt even use gas while in the parking lot, except for getting in and out!
2- what the hell calculation is that??? its not a 32$ coupon, its a coupon that says i pay 40$ per week!!!
I said what the hell? its 40$. She says, yes, but 50% tax. I said, 50%????? she said yes.
Company paid for it. And i paid for the gas of driving to the airport, which is about 7$ from my place. So really, how much did i save for all the trouble? 50$ taxi * 2 = 100$. This costed me 67$, and that’s with a coupon! imagine in normal days, it would have costed me 99$. the same thing as taking a cab and passing out in the cab. I digress.
Or you could take the skytrain to the airport and park your car on the street. I drive a Tercel so i dont really care where i leave my car. More than ready to get it stolen and get insurance for it. But even from Marine Drive station, the skytrain takes a really long time to get to the airport, that’s plus the waiting time, so you actually save lots of money, but you will lose a lot of time. I wouldnt do that if its company money as they can claim the cab money as loss but i cant claim my time as loss.
Aston at the Waikiki Banyan: we got condos that sleep 6. about 211.67$ (tx included) per night, in the summer!!! The place has a kitchen which really is a good balance if you’re staying long. There are things to buy and cook, a lot of strange fish that you’d want to try cooking yourself!
Rent or buy? that is the question.
That blog has a very good point, i’ll summarize:
- the snorkel and mask, you want to buy:
- hygiene reasons (you dont know where it’s been or if they clean it well)
- mask needs to be a good fit so you want to spend local time snorkeling rather than shopping around
- flippers, you can rent
- they are pretty big so wold fill up your suitcase
- its pretty cheap and you dont really care about much as long as they arent broken.
- for transportation, we’re going to rent scooters, will let you know how it was.
- kinda expensive but... really should do it!
Well, we're off to Hawaii in a little over a month!!
We've been planning this trip for a few months now and it's hard to believe that we'll be finally heading there soon!
Hm...time to get beach ready!! It's hard to get into the mood for a beachbody in Vancouver when it's always raining - it feels like Fall right now!
Stay tuned for some fitness routine to get us ready for Hawaii!