Tell me what it is you want to do with your one wild and precious life? -mary oliver

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Tech Tips for World Travelers

Shelly may have mentioned that no one prepares technologically for a trip quite like I do. So I thought I would share a couple tips here based on my experience.

Adapters vs. Converters - Adapters are great. Adapters allow you to plug a device with a standard US plug into an outlet in a foreign country. And you'll find that many of the items you'll want to plug in (laptop power supplies, battery chargers, etc) will only require an adapter. They're already built to use the different power found here in Eastern Europe (220V~,  50 Hz). Look for a label on the device that lists its power requirements. Most will say something like "Input: 100-240V~, 50/60Hz". When you see that, you know an adapter is all you need. I bought a few adapters from Amazon that have worked well for us. 

We've also used a surge protector/power strip with six universal outlets that plugs directly into an Eastern European outlet. This eliminates the need for separate adapters, helps with the limited number and inconvenient location of outlets in some apartments, and provides a minimal amount of protection against surges and other power irregularities.

Converters, on the other hand, are a real pain. In my experience, they're unreliable and inconvenient. If you're planning to take an electrical device from home that won't work with Eastern European power (hair dryer, curling iron, coffee pot, anything with a heating element to name a few), you're typically better off to leave that item at home and buy the EE version when you get here. Most of those items are relatively inexpensive, easy to find and will work nuch better than your American version with a voltage converter.

Travel WiFi Router - depending on where you are, WiFi may be relatively easy to find in local restaurants, shopping centers, hotel lobbies, etc. But WiFi in individual apartments or hotel rooms may be hard to find. Wired high-speed internet connections may be available, but the "wired" location may not be convenient or you may want to be able to connect more than one device to the internet at a time. Or you may have an iPad or other device that requires WiFi and won't work with a wired connection. In any of those cases, you may want your own wireless router. I've had great success with our TRENDnet TEW-654TR. It's specifically designed for travel so it's small, lightweight, and easy to use. Set it up at home before you leave, and it will be ready to "plug and play" when you reach your destination.

In future installments of "Tech Tips", I'll share with you more about security, Skype, and maybe even water purification. Don't hesitate to send questions or comments, as I'm always happy to help when I can.
One day soon, we'll be busting out of this place! At least Sarah and I will be... собака (dog) is on her own.

As of Saturday afternoon, it appears that our court decree will become effective this Tuesday and I'll be able to start the rest of the paper-chase that afternoon. We're still not sure of the exact timing due to uncertainty about how long it may take to get her passport and closure of the US Embassy for the Memorial Day holiday. But at least it appears we're in the home stretch.

We thank you again for all of your thoughts and prayers as we work to complete this part of the journey and head for home. Enjoy the rest of the weekend!



  1. Andy, this is fantastic information! You are (and will be) such a great resource for all the parents heading overseas for a similar adventure :). I know the unusually long process has been a and Shelly have risen to meet it head on, showing your true grit, resourcefulness and faith. We can't wait to meet Sarah! Hurry home as soon as you get clearance :)!!

  2. hoping today went well and you got lots done so you can get to Kiev before the embassy closes for the holidays!!!! good luck!
    Nancy (blogger is being a stinker)