Back Again

November 24, 2009 on 8:18 am | In things travelers need to know, travel | Comments Off

We apologize for the lack of “news” recently, but we have been out scouring the world to update ThereArePlaces and our Best Places to Visit. We are working on a comprehensive guide to Vienna and hope to have it out in a week or two.

One issue that continues to “shock” us when we travel is the cost of Internet Access in Europe. Hotels routinely charge 20 to 28 Euros for a day of connectivity. Those hotels that provide services for less, usually limit both the time and the bandwidth available, forcing you to connect at a higher cost if you want to send photos and other high volume data (and we average 300 to 500 photos a day – not to mention video).

Atlhough you might be tempted to think of the Europe as the EU, it is not federated in terms of roaming charges for phones. If you buy a voice and data plan for Germany, you will need another from France and another for Spain or be prepared to spend huge sums of money. Seems like telephone signals can freely travel across borders, but taking your phone across borders will cause you an arm and a leg, if you use it.

While on that topic, our iPhone was useless in Europe, since data roaming outside of our home territory in the U.S. is something that only Steve Jobs can afford. In order to travel with your iPhone and avoid huge charges, you need to set data roaming to off, use Airplane mode continuously and only dare to use your phone when you are near WiFi that you can use (since this can be used without charge from AT&T – but cannot be found free in most of Europe).

In other words, regardless of the device used, unless you have gazillions of dollars, you will find it hard to be connected on a constant basis in Europe. While you can hook-up at Internet cafes, these are good only for checking email and not for large scale file transfers or other operations that require secure connections.

Yep, you could solve all this problems with bundles of cash, but we travel the same way you do. We watch our spending and avoid activities that result in excessive charges. The end result, we were out of contact.

On the other hand, it was good to be traveling, as we are usually stuck in the office on administrative details. Autumn is often a great time to travel and this year was no exception. Yes, we ran into rain and some cold weather, but we did not run into large crowds at the more well-known attractions and had many of the less-popular attractions to ourselves.

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