I just spent a wonderful holiday weekend, perfect until I tried to use a new computer. I kept getting messages about keychain passwords  and messages crowded the screen. So what is to be learned from an admittedly electronic novice about this nightmare?

The easy stuff i

s that you only need an adaptor  out of the US.  Electronic devices are manufactured to charge on different types of electricity. DC is stronger than what we are used to in the US, so your device will charge faster. The plug is hotter but don’t worry.   Some countries are upgrading electricity so, for instance, in Italy, there is a new bigger adaptor–get this information from us or on line.  For those to whom this is really Greek: an adaptor enables your plug to fit into an overseas wall socket, like putting a square peg into a round hole. A converter changes the actual electricity. You do NOT need a converter for electronic devices.

Whatever you bring, learn it before you leave home. Test passwords and keep the most important somewhere secure. Local libraries,  Apple stores and other places hold classes. At the class, if you really do not understand the vocabulary of electronics, speak up.

Call your phone company and make the sales person teach you not just sell to you. For instance ATT charges $10 a day for talk, text and data overseas. Talk is telephone. Text is on a telephone line. Text can also be wifi on a system like Apple iMessage  or Whatsapp.  Lets say you are buying a package with a specific amount of data; ask questions like how much data is in a simple text email? If you are not paying for an overseas package, to turn off  ‘Cellular data’ as your plane prepares to taxi.  You will also have turned off your airplane mode at this time. Leave Cellular data off for the whole trip. You can still get phone calls once you remove airplane mode. A few very brief calls will probably not cost $10 a day.  You need to monitor your own needs to see if you need an overseas package or not.

If you need to talk to people frequently, send documents and text, learn about Whatsapp.com and put it on your phone. Get any contact you will need to add Whatsapp also. Now you can call, text, send images or documents with free wifi. Whapsapp.com is encrypted so you do not have to worry that much about using public wifi.

Data is emailing. But data is actually much more than emailing. Any Facebook post or email you receive, and other automatic updat , any email image a friend sends, even unopened is ‘data’.  Turning off cellular data will remove this cost.  If you urgently must look at an email, wait for wifi or turn it on for a few seconds just to see the email. But updates will click in during that brief time and cost you.

The Women’s Travel Group   stays at hotels that have wifi.  In an emergency, you can ask someone to share their wifi with you. You do this by asking them to connect your phone to their wifi, it is called air drop but will not be “secure’.   There is always someone on our trips who knows this stuff. Don’t be afraid to ask a few of us.

Since you bought expensive new toys, learn them and practice before you leave home. Of course, keep items safely stored; they are valuable. We recommend locking them in carry on luggage, before boarding your plane, and keeping them locked up if you have security again on arrival. Carrying them in a purse left at your seat, when you go to the plane toilet, is open to theft.  If you have an old smart phone with no telephone connection, you can use the wifi on it overseas and worry less.  (Note: our insurance covers phone loss).

This post is probably more than you need to know and written by a total novice, but one who travels all the time.

Next week we will be reporting from our Rhine cruise: Amsterdam-Basel with photos and chit chat. Join one of our next trips, many are sold out or close to full. New York has 1-2 rooms left only.

Phyllis@thewomenstravelgroup.com   www.thewomenstravelgroup.com