Travel and Technology
My first adventure to Europe began in Switzerland in 2013 with family. During a get-together in a penthouse overlooking the beautiful Mount Pilatus, my cousin, who owns an IT company, started talking to me about “wiffey.” As he was talking, my brain was running, “Wiffey, what is wiffey? I should know this.”
Finally, when there was a lull in the conversation, I gave him a puzzled look and asked, “What is wiffey?” After insisting I knew wiffey, he finally took out a pencil and paper and wrote down - Wi-Fi. We both ended up laughing about the misunderstanding.
The “wiffey” incident was the beginning of my journey in understanding that technology is basically the same around the globe – perhaps with a little difference in pronunciation. The cost of technology, availability of Wi-Fi, and connectors for electricity to charge units can be different. However, the same mobile devices I have seen across the U.S., from Chicago to LA on Route 66, can be seen in Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, France, and Spain.
Internet services in Europe have a different pricing structure than in the U.S. These services are heavily taxed in some European countries. Consequently, Wi-Fi may not always be free. If you are traveling, check a hotel website or call the hotel to find out if Wi-Fi is available and if any costs are associated with access.
Most cell phone chargers are rated for 110V and 220V (Europe’s standard). Get your magnifying glass out and read the small print on the charging block that plugs into the wall. The small print is where you find the electrical information. As long as it states up to 220V, a plug adapter to fit the shape of the particular country’s electrical plug is all that is needed to charge your phone.
Technology can be a great asset while planning a trip or on the trip itself. Whether you are driving across the U.S. or going on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Europe, your technology can go with you. However, you need to do some advanced planning to make sure you are aware of any differences.
Please join me on Wednesday, April 20, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. for my presentation on Planning Travel with Technology in the auditorium of the Rocky River Public Library. I will be sharing the technology tips I have picked up during my travels.
Angela Paterek is Training Manager at the Rocky River Public Library.