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Traveling Light

It’s getting close to Christmas again and for some, that will mean traveling to different parts of the country or world to see loved ones.

If you’re a gadget freak like me, then you probably have a laptop, tablet, smartphone, camera and probably something else that you just need to bring along!! Unfortunately, that means extra chargers too…
Sometimes though, with a bit of smart planning, you may only need to bring one charger with you. Many tablets and smartphones will happily charge off a usb connection on a laptop. In some cases, they may even use the same USB connection. If so, then you are in luck, you can use your laptop as a charging station. Just don’t forget to pack the correct USB lead!

If you are not bringing a laptop on your travels, take a look for a USB Power Plug with at least 2 USB outlets. Make sure you get one that is powerful enough to charge your tablet. Normally a USB Power Plug will have an output of 500mA. That would be enough to charge your iPhone or Android phone. Unfortunately, many tablets need a output of 2100mA. Check your existing power supply to see what rating it has. I didn’t and spent a weekend thinking my tablet was broken as my phone would charge, but my tablet would not!!

If you are going abroad and need a data connection, try and find a PAYG Data Sim. I was abroad recently and calls from my mobile were going to cost me €2.33 a minute and data was almost as extortionate! I bought a sim card for €30 which gave me 2GB of Data to use. I installed Skype on my smartphone and used it to make calls. This has one obviously short fall though, you can’t be contacted on your mobile number whilst using that sim, but if you can live with that, you will save a small fortune in data charges. Don’t forget, many smartphones will allow you to create a wifi hotspot, so your tablet or laptop can use the same connection also.

Just a final tip about using your mobile phone abroad. Check with your provider to see how you can access voicemail when abroad. We are all used to dialing 171 when at home. This also works on some networks in the UK, but it does not work worldwide. This had me really confused for a while until I realised what was happening. While talking with them, make sure you have roaming turned on also, otherwise you will not be able to connect to any network.

One other piece of equipment I never mentioned was the Plug Converter. We, like the UK, use a 3 Pin Plug. You’ll find on your travels that not many other places do, so it is worth investing in a Plug Converter. You can pick up a Universal Travel Adapter Plug in many supermarkets, or if you leave it till the last minute, at the airport. These will allow you to plug in your equipment at your destination. One word of warning though, these adapters do NOT convert electrical output current and voltage. Check your equipment to see if it can handle multiple voltages and currents. Most laptops, tablets and smartphones can, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

Safe traveling and as always, if you have any questions about the above, don’t hesitate to contact us