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Staying connected in Italy

I wanted to share my successful cel phone/tablet strategy -- We spent 5 weeks driving around Italy in Mar. & April 2016 -- We brought our cel phones, a Samsung Galaxy S6 & iPhone 5, (which we wanted for photos and video, as well as phone calls), and a Samsung S2 tablet (all Verizon) -- We put the phones on a Verizon international plan ($40 ea. for 100 minutes, 100 texts, and 100 MB data -- My plan was to put an Italian sim chip in the tablet, so we could have cheap data for google maps navigation, and use it as a hot spot for the phones, if necessary -- it never was, but the google maps navigation was terrific, and having internet to look stuff up while we traveled around was also great -- I bought a TIM sim chip at a TIM store in Perugia, and they installed it in my Verizon/Samsung Galaxy Tablet and activated it -- (40E for 10 or 20 GB data for 28 days) -- It took me a couple of days, and several phone calls to Verizon tech support before I got it up and running -- Key things were to change some settings on the tablet (Android).

1) Under Data usage, make sure mobile data is switched on --
2) Under More / Mobile networks / change Network Mode from Global to UMTS, and change Access Point Names from your US provider to your new Italian provider (TIM, WIND, or whatever) -- Unless you're pretty fluent, or have a bilingual Italian friend, It really helps to find a cell store with someone who speaks English.

Be sure to switch your Mobile data OFF (under Data usage) on your cel phones, so you don't burn thru your 100 MB of data while it downloads the latest Facebook updates, or app upgrades -- But don't go airplane mode, cause you want to be able to make calls, for reservations, or to find each other.

Again, the Google maps was fantastic for navigating -- We did lose signals a few times in crowded city's or way out in the boondocks, but not often -- By all means download maps if you'll be in one area for a while -- And it was so great having internet and googling places as we drove around, to check museum hours, restaurant reviews, etc. -- We even took the tablet when we walked around cities, setting Google maps for walking, instead of driving, and we'd save the location where we parked our car, so we could find our way back after wandering around Bologna (or wherever) all day!

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