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What do I need to take

I will be travelling to Italy in mid July. I will be visiting Venice, Florence and Rome for 13 days. I plan to take these gadgets with me: Kodak digital camera and Toshiba laptop. Currently I use metro pcs for cell phone service in the United States and this carrier does not work overseas. I would like to take a smart phone with me for quick use for photos, downloading needed information and its small size which will fit nicely in my very small bag that i will carry around daily. I imagine only making 2-3 phone calls back home while there, but would like phone service in case of emergencies. Does anyone have any suggestions on a phone i should get to take with me? Could i possibly buy one there? Inexpensive options preferred. Also, I have been trying to figure out what adapters and plugs are necessary to ensure all these things are charged and can work. Currently, I am confused because i have yet to find a concise answer. Does anyone have any links to direct me for this? I will also be bringing along a straightening iron and curling iron.

Thanks for your help!

Posted by
2081 posts


You may want to look at used smart phones. you can check ebay, craiglist or if your town is big enough, some places have used electronic/cell phone stores.

yes, you can buy a phone over there, but depending on how much smart you want, you may pay alot. I got one in the UK that had www capability, but its screen size is limited and so browsing want easy. But for phone/texts its fine. If i remember i paid somewhere aound 60~80 USD for it including some mintues, but they were only token and i bought a voucher to add minutes later.

If you decide to buy one over there, make sure you can add minutes when you need to.

as far as adapters go, if youre going to travel, you may want to get a "universal" adapter or as close to one.

I got one like this. The place i bought it from sold individual types, but this one is smaller than the whole bag of individuals.

enter link description here This isnt the ONE AND ONLY and there are many styles out there. YOu should be able to find them in airport shops or in town. Maybe your hotel may have some to "rent" or for "guest" use.

As has been mentioned alot, regarding your irons, you will want to make sure they are dual voltage.

happy trails.

Posted by
251 posts

Do you really need your laptop? It's heavy, takes up space and will you use it?

Most electronics today can be used in the US and in Europe with the proper plug adapter.

I purchased a Vodafone and have a SIM card for Italy and one for Greece. It was an inexpensive phone that I can use over and over.

Posted by
11154 posts

Your first step is to look at the chargers and power inputs for your current devices (you may need a magnifying glass). If they say "100-240 volts" AND "50-60 Hz" then your chargers will work in Europe. They work on all voltages in between, and all you need is the proper plug adapter. Your computer and camera battery charger are likely to be like this.

Italy uses the same 2 prong plug as the rest of Continental Europe, but they use a unique 3 prong plug. Here's a sample of the 2 prong plug:

and the 3 prong plug:

Unless they are specifically designed "travel models," your straightening iron and curling iron are not likely to be suitable. If they only say "100-120 volts" (but not above 200), do not bring them to Italy. If you attempt to use them there, you will destroy your device, blow a fuse, start a fire, or some combination of the above (unfortunately not an exaggeration). Instead, you can buy a travel model in the US, or buy something in Italy. The products you buy in Italy will work all over Europe, with the appropraite plug adapter, so it's a worthwhile investment if you'll be taking more trips.

Also note that even if you do have travel hair iron products, you often have to change them to the "220 volt" setting manually (it's not automatic, like is is with computers and chargers these days).

Posted by
507 posts

Since you plan on making phone calls . .
Check out EuroBuzz (EB) for your cell service. If you have the equivalent of an IPhone4s or higher, this company will sell you a SIM card with 2 phone numbers -- one US number for people to call you or you to call back home, & a European number -- for $9. You will need to get your phone "unlocked" by your current server in order to use the EB SIM card.


EB can sell you a telephone with a sim installed w/the two numbers for $29 which is yours to keep. The phone numbers are yours (either SIM or phone) as long as there is an active credit card in their files for your account.

NOTE: EB now works in the United States so you can test it before you leave.

At last check incoming texts were free, outgoing texts--79 cents each, & all phone calls were a 79 cents/min. Charges are made to your credit card as you go.

I just ordered a phone (w/SIM card & charger) I will use on an upcoming trip. The total cost was $39 . . .
{Edit: . . . which includes . . . }
. . . $10 for shipping. I will put my IPhone on vacation hold to avoid the nonsense calls. The US number will be left with 3 people who will know it is to be used only for emergencies.

{Addition 2/2/15: There are no monthly fees at anytime. I will put my phone away until I travel again while keeping an up-to-date credit card in EB's files.}

Posted by
6543 posts

I switched over to T Mobile for their $50 unlimited service, which includes $.20 per minute international calling. Millions of users have taken advantage of this plan, especially world travelers. Many European countries' official cell systems are T Mobile. All you need is a GMT telephone that's been unlocked. A phone previously used for AT&T is compatible if unlocked. Best thing is that you can sign up, use it and then cancel the service as there is no 2 year contract--monthly.

My 2 1/2 year old granddaughter kept calling us on her mother's speed dial in Budapest, and the phone service was seamless. It was just like calling in the U.S.

After hauling a 17" laptop around the world, I switched over to a Samsung notebook for travel--$179. The battery charge really lasts, and it's very easy to use.

We've had a 110-220 converter for years, and travel with it. The different countries' plug adapters are included.

Posted by
9361 posts

You can still use your regular phone for taking pictures and accessing the internet over wifi, even if it won't work as a phone. I do it all the time. In fact, I find wifi so prevalent that I use it almost as much as at home. I also travel with a netbook (for email and blogging), and a digital camera. My netbook weighs just over two lbs.

Posted by
5308 posts

In reference to Collette's post on Eurobuzz : We used Eurobuzz (dumb phones) in December for European calls only and put our Android phones on vacation hold ($10 per month instead of regular charges), ussing them for WiFi connections and as cameras.
Worked for us -- YMMV.

Posted by
4686 posts

For only 2-3 phone calls while there, at worst you can buy $10 worth of Skype credit and use your laptop while on WiFi to make the calls for only a few cents a minute to call "real" phones. If your laptop has a webcam + microphone built in then that's all you need, but you'd of course need some privacy to make speakerphone calls. Getting a little headset with a microphone would make this easier. If your phone is a smartphone, then you can use Skype via WiFi right on your phone without using it as a "cell phone." All you need to do is install the Skype app on the phone, sign up for a Skype account if you don't already have one, then buy some Skype credit.

If you do want a "real" phone that works as a cellular phone in Italy, you want an unlocked GSM world (or quadband) phone. Not all GSM phones that will work in the US automatically work in Europe, even if they are unlocked. Some of the GSM frequencies we use in the US are different than the GSM frequencies used in Europe. Most new phones will handle all the frequencies on both continents, but if you encounter an old GSM phone someone is willing to loan you, make sure it really will work in Italy. The last flip-phone I bought (GSM, T-Mobile) in 2009 will not work in Italy.