Traveling with tech: A geek goes to Rome

Susan Bradley

These days, most of us wouldn’t think of traveling without at least some of our digital devices. But there are pitfalls when doing so.

Here are a few lessons learned after a week on a Mediterranean cruise ship and five days touring Rome.

It’s true that travel broadens the mind and soul. And for a true technologist, taking along your smartphone, tablet, and/or laptop doesn’t necessarily detract from the experience. There can be good reasons to take your digital devices with you: communicating with those back home, posting updates of your travels, processing and uploading photos along the way, etc.

In the May 23 Top Story, I described my plans for an upcoming overseas vacation — and what preparations I was making for my digital devices. I’m happy to report that the trip to the Mediterranean was fabulous. I can also relate what worked — and what didn’t — when using phones, tablets, laptops, and their accessories overseas.

Getting Internet access while at sea

Surprisingly, using Skype to keep in touch with my dad while I was at sea was the only complete technology failure during the trip. It probably shouldn’t have been a surprise; following the May Top Story, I received numerous tips from fellow Windows Secrets Lounge members warning me about the use of Wi-Fi aboard cruise ships. They were right. Wi-Fi at sea was slow and expensive. My plans for regular video chats with Dad sank like a dropped phone.

A fellow Windows Secrets Lounge member had warned me that ship-based Wi-Fi would be expensive. On our cruise ship, rates were U.S. 75 cents per minute, and if you logged in for even a fraction of a minute, you were charged for the entire minute. I purchased a prepaid block of Internet time for $99, which brought the rate down to 45 cents per minute. Whenever I logged in, I was informed that I had to completely sign off when ending a session; and so I set up a bookmark for the sign-out page.

CORRECTION: This story has been revised. The original text stated U.S. .75 cents per minute and .45 cents per minute. The correct amounts are 75 cents and 45 cents.

Of course, one night we failed to sign out the iPad, incurring a $45.00 overage charge. Lesson learned; we didn’t use the ship’s Wi-Fi after that.

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2013-07-25:

Susan Bradley

About Susan Bradley

Susan Bradley is a Small Business Server and Security MVP, a title awarded by Microsoft to independent experts who do not work for the company. She's also a partner in a California CPA firm.