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BOE 21, May 12th

Craig & Barb on our first trip to Europe. Highly stoked, booked a day early in Harlem, have no idea what we're to do yet but not too worried. I was concerned about our bags prior to check-in but after reading RS guidebook, I think we will be fine. One question I haven't seen a definitive answer on yet, is there WiFi on the bus? and mobile data with the euro sim cards? Plenty of other things to talk about in the next 44 days!

Can't wait

Posted by
11294 posts

If you get to your hotel and your room isn't ready, you can leave your bags. Just be prepared to retrieve your guidebook, camera, etc quickly (know where these things are, so you don't have to hunt for them while leaving your bags at the hotel).

Which "euro sim cards" are you referring to? That will determine if you have mobile data and what it will cost.

Posted by
333 posts

Hi Craig- I'll be on the tour a week and half ahead of you. It can be difficult to find people on specific tours, but it's not impossible! I've met two from mine.

Haarlem is a great little city- plenty to do and see there. Don't miss the Corrie Ten Boom house/museum if you're at all interested in WW2 history. Her story is the other side of the coin to Anne Frank.

I've not heard anything about WiFi on the bus, but I'm assuming a big no. No idea about the euro sim card either. I have a Verizon phone/plan and they have nice packages now for when people go overseas on trips. I'll be setting up a plan with them to cover my 5 weeks in Europe. Hopefully somebody else here can answer your questions.

Have a great time on your trip!

Posted by
11898 posts

My bus last year did not have wifi, but there was wifi available at some of the AutoGrille rest stops, altho to be honest we usually just had a 20 minute or so stop so not enough time to do more than make a quick pit stop and grab a snack or a drink. Most of us were eager to get on to the next adventure!

The hotels had wifi, altho in a couple of them some did not have reception in their rooms. In my mind I am picturing group members sitting around in the lounge areas of the hotels in Austria and Switzerland with smart phones and tablets.

You all will have a wonderful time! I think about my tour last Fall in some way every single day. Really. It was wonderful! The group members were wonderful! The guide was wonderful! The sights were wonderful! lol!

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks Harold, I read somewhere tips or guidebook, that you can buy sim cards almost anywhere to use your American phone as a European one(Euro phone number and everything), but it did not mention mobile data. I am IT by profession and Thinking I might have bandwidth issues. ideally, I could upload pictures, blogs to the cloud while on the longer bus trips. If affordable data is available I can make my phone a mobile hotspot for up to 10 people to use.

Lisa, been reading and enjoying some of your posts. This is our "Once in a Lifetime" vacation, and yes I am very interested in WWII history! My wifes eyes roll backward when I start on about this or that moment in history ;-) We are from Michigan and on the West side of the state is a dutch town called Holland and they have tulip festival every spring, and now we get to see the original! 5 weeks WOW! enjoy.

Hi Pam, sounds like your ready to go again. I don't want to be sucked into my gadgets too much but, long road trip sounds like a good time for some FB posts :-P Can't be more excited!!!

Posted by
11294 posts

If you're starting in the Netherlands and want mobile data, you have several options.

  1. You can buy a data plan for your US service; this is expensive but easy.
  2. You can buy an International SIM before you leave; this may not be any cheaper than using your US service. However, once set up, this is also easy.
  3. You can buy a Dutch SIM with a data plan. This will definitely be cheaper than other options. It will probably roam in outside the Netherlands, but at higher rates. Rates within the EU are capped, but outside they can skyrocket. So, on this trip be particularly careful in Switzerland (check rates before you do ANYTHING, or you may be out of credit fast). The problem is refilling; you may not be able to refill a Dutch SIM easily in other countries. So, you can just use up the Dutch SIM, then buy a new one in another country when it runs out of credit. You must also spend some time getting it set up; when you do this make sure they switch the prompts to English, that you know how to check the balance, how to top up, etc.

As in the US, you have to make sure the data plan allows tethering (for instance, my T-Mobile plan charges extra for it).

To learn more about this, I recommend Prepaid GSM. Here is their page on International providers:

Here is their page on Dutch SIM prepaid plans:

Here is Lebara in the Netherlands; this company operates in various countries and often has good rates:

And here are the Prepaid GSM forums. The discussions can get very technical, but these guys really know their stuff: