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Old 08-02-2014, 06:16 AM   #1601
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I've been using Trip Advisor pretty heavily. It's been a good source in the past. And you can save trips and save hotel, restaurants, attractions, etc. Then I tell DH to log in and check it out - it's his opportunity to share his opinion.
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Old 08-02-2014, 01:25 PM   #1602
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Phones in Europe:
DH is going to pick up a couple of months of the T-Mobile no-contract "Simple Choice Plan" and nano-SIM for his (Verizon) iPhone5 which will make it easy to keep in touch at home if needed as well as roam anywhere we visit in Europe for minimal extra charges.

This is a great way to go. We came back from a few weeks in Mexico and were able to use our phones the entire time. Same with a trip up to Vancouver BC over the holidays. No issues and no extra cost. DW is going to Europe next month to visit family and not having to figure out the phone situation is a big plus. In the past, we've always dealt with SIM cards and while not too much of a pain, it was one more item to have to deal with.

The only part this doesn't solve is having a local number. For calling out, Skype + WIFI works fine (it might work over the cell network, but it might be too slow), but I'm not sure if there's an easy way to receive calls.
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Old 08-02-2014, 03:11 PM   #1603
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I don't quite get it, but maybe that's because I don't talk for hours on my phone.

When I'm traveling I just use the standard ATT international voice roaming. It's $1.50 a minute to talk to someone back home or make a quick call to someone local. Since I only talk to someone back home if it's pressing, and it rarely is, this seems like a good price especially since I don't have to lift a finger to get it.

I have bought buckets of data when traveling - I like to use maps when I'm walking around places. It's not cheap, but it's not especially expensive either. $30 for 120MB or $60 for 300MB. No need for different simms in different countries. Most of the time I use WiFi anyway.

On our last trip (2 weeks) covering The Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovokia, and Hungary I paid for 300MB of data. DW just turned off cellular data on her phone. This worked great. I didn't make any voice calls, but did use FaceTime audio once to talk to my DF over WiFi (free).
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Anyone got any travel planned?
Old 08-02-2014, 04:14 PM   #1604
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Anyone got any travel planned?

We use data primarily for maps and to look up info. We also used texting quite a bit in Mexico, since it was common that my family of four would go their separate ways for a while and it was an easy way for us to stay in touch. I'll admit, it's all for convenience and we could - and have - gotten by without cell phones. But if there's no extra cost, why not use it?

Editing to add: we hardly ever use voice to talk. This is true when are traveling or at home. Texting is our source of communication.
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Old 08-02-2014, 04:26 PM   #1605
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I have bought buckets of data when traveling - I like to use maps when I'm walking around places. It's not cheap, but it's not especially expensive either. $30 for 120MB or $60 for 300MB. No need for different simms in different countries. Most of the time I use WiFi anyway.
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This is what I do when I travel to Europe or Canada. We have AT&T and have always been happy with them.
The data is invaluable when you're wandering around and need to use maps for navigation, or want to Google something you just saw.

In Europe, for example, I have bought the $60 package for 300 MB for long trips, but we have found by watching carefully that 120 MB of data is perfect for a two week trip. So $30 covers it nicely.

I also spring for the messaging service (50 texts for $10). We tend to text each other a lot, since we frequently wander a city separately. So $40 each, or $80 for the two of us on a two week trip is pretty reasonable, and we don't have to mess with separate SIM cards, separate phone numbers, or anything else.

We make local phone calls so rarely when in Europe that it's usually not necessary for us to get the international roaming, but if you did need it, that's only another $30 each for 30 minutes.
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Old 08-02-2014, 05:31 PM   #1606
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Heading to Hawaii in October- used points and miles so I feel it will be more relaxing not having to feel like we paid $$$$ for the accommodations and flights.
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Old 08-02-2014, 06:51 PM   #1607
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Tonight I booked a week on Chincoteague Island for next month. Can't wait.
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Old 08-02-2014, 09:28 PM   #1608
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We have family in Europe to keep in contact with while visiting. DH and I may have to contact each other. DH will have free data and texting on his iPhone. We may need to deal with business calls from US.
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Old 08-02-2014, 10:30 PM   #1609
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I have bought buckets of data when traveling - I like to use maps when I'm walking around places. It's not cheap, but it's not especially expensive either. $30 for 120MB or $60 for 300MB. No need for different simms in different countries. Most of the time I use WiFi anyway.

That's what I do too when I travel to Europe now. I buy 120MB of international data for $30 from AT&T and that usually lasts me about 15 days (the maximum length of my stay usually). I used to have a dedicated prepaid phone in Europe, but this is much simpler. I land in Europe, turn my phone on, and I am immediately connected whether I am in France, Switzerland, Germany, or Spain. I use AT&T international voice roaming only when essential. I prefer texting, which is much cheaper.
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Old 08-03-2014, 06:06 AM   #1610
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We have family in Europe to keep in contact with while visiting. DH and I may have to contact each other. DH will have free data and texting on his iPhone. We may need to deal with business calls from US.
Oh, right, and neither of us have GSM phones. Well, DH's iPhone 5 becomes one when he changes the SIM. I had to get something that would work in Europe. I'm happy to leave my US phone at home.
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Old 08-03-2014, 07:34 PM   #1611
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In Beijing now (2nd time this year). Will fly to Hohhot, Inner Mongolia tomorrow.
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Old 08-06-2014, 04:00 PM   #1612
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In Beijing now (2nd time this year). Will fly to Hohhot, Inner Mongolia tomorrow.
Wow!
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Old 08-06-2014, 04:13 PM   #1613
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Wow!
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Old 08-07-2014, 10:44 PM   #1614
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will be on Maui for 2 weeks later this month. $1k each for 4 of us, flight plus 1 bdrm vacation condo (ocean view.) is this a good deal?
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Old 08-08-2014, 11:36 AM   #1615
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In Beijing now (2nd time this year). Will fly to Hohhot, Inner Mongolia tomorrow.
Nice! Having spent time in "regular" Mongolia, I've always wanted to see what it looked like across the border!

DH is in Kyrgyzstan now, traveling to Kaz and then Mongolia from the western side over the next week or so. Hoping that he keeps up his map skills and doesn't wander across the mountains into China without a visa!
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Old 08-08-2014, 04:07 PM   #1616
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I am surprised that Huhhot, Inner Mongolia is so large and developed. Locals are friendly here. The grassland is green and open and the Gobi desert is stunning. I like the food here too though I think I have enough lamb to last me for the rest of the year! Some photos attached.ImageUploadedByEarly Retirement Forum1407535589.274321.jpgImageUploadedByEarly Retirement Forum1407535614.848341.jpgImageUploadedByEarly Retirement Forum1407535637.079005.jpg
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Old 08-10-2014, 12:49 PM   #1617
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I am surprised that Huhhot, Inner Mongolia is so large and developed. Locals are friendly here. The grassland is green and open and the Gobi desert is stunning. I like the food here too though I think I have enough lamb to last me for the rest of the year! Some photos attached.
Wow!
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Old 08-10-2014, 02:55 PM   #1618
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Beautiful shots, Moscyn!
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Old 08-13-2014, 07:51 AM   #1619
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We will buy our Wachau ticket after we arrive in Vienna. We also have to pick up our pre purchased Vienna-Budapest ticket. Bought our Budapest-Prague tickets on line at MAV this week. We knew when we were travelling so locking in for a reduced fare was the way to go. We will do the same on Trenitalia once we have finalized our Italy plans.

So far we have organized the next leg to Malta and then air to Sicily. We need to determine how long to stay in Sicily, etc (probably two weeks or so), where to go after that, and finally how to get home. We have not yet arranged any travel plans to get back in late Oct/early Nov.

The airline competition in Europe is amazing. Several of the discount airlines are not really discount when you add the surcharges. We find that the national carriers are often less expensive, all things considered, on certain flights. We have been able to stay well away from the RyanAirs and the Easyjets.
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Old 08-13-2014, 01:03 PM   #1620
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Our kids just came back from 10 days at the Los Cabos Hilton in Mexico...

Curious, I looked it up and found this site, with pictures of the Hotel and the surroundings. Must confess that I have never seen anything like it, much less been to this kind of a resort. Our idea of a super vacation was a trip to my folks little cottage in Barrington RI, on the 100 Acre Cove.
Just talked to my son, and he said they went to all five restaurants in the Hotel, and "did" all of the activities shown in the slide show, except maybe diving off the cliffs.

We're going to have to have a talk about LBYM... as they took four kids with them on the trip...

https://www.google.com/maps/uv?hl=en&pb=!1s0x81345fbc03ca8a85:0x66254281038d64 7a!2m5!2m2!1i80!2i80!3m1!2i100!3m1!7e1!4shttps://plus.google.com/105003752747368420707/photos?hl%3Den%26socfid%3Dweb:lu:kplacepageimage %26socpid%3D1!5scabo+hilton+-+Google+Search&sa=X&ei=Z7LrU5HhDZH4yQS8y4HIDg&ved= 0CLoBEKIqMAo
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