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walking around without that obvious tourist box around your neck

With a quiet box audio receiver on a tour, I love the concept of being far enough away from the guide so that you can hear what they are saying, and not being so cramped up next to everybody. But, I HATE having that thing around my neck all day. It is an obvious sign that you are a tourist (usually a bright red lanyard), it bumps on your chest and tangles with necklaces, and it requires earphones to be plugged into it that create even more wires on your body.

Has anybody had any luck with a wireless audio receiver that will allow me to use my apple airbuds? I was curious about the Airfly Pro by Twelve south.

Posted by
67 posts

I have the same issue. I put the device in a pocket (chest pocket on vest or jacket) and ran my personal earphones to my ears (no weight on the neck). I gave up wearing necklaces. With my point and shoot camera around my neck and scarf depending on the weather (we like to travel in shoulder season) it was way too much hanging (strangling) around my neck. Save the necklaces for dinner.

Posted by
57 posts

I usually put the receiver in my purse as well and wear my own earphones (with the wires coming out of my purse) but it would be so much nicer to use wire-free!

Posted by
184 posts

Wireless would be nice for the convenience, but do not kid yourself that you will not be identified as a tourist. Who cares. Do you treat tourists in your area poorly? I never worried about being identified as a tourist (speaking English is Italy was a dead give away) and found people to be helpful if you treated them with respect.

Posted by
1304 posts

I don't use the lanyard either as I don't find it comfortable.
I put the receiver in an outside pocket of my cross body bag and use my own earbuds which are more comfortable than the ones RS provides.

I don't think tourists fool anyone by not using lanyards, or dressing "European," etc.

Posted by
2914 posts

I wear a scarf sometimes to conceal, and sometimes hang it under my vest. However, I am a tourist in a group so I won’t be fooling anyone, just maybe looking a little more put together. For me, in that situation, I don’t mind looking like a tourist…and rarely mind in fact. It is better than following around a guide with a flower or other sign held high in the air…looking like a duckling. LOL Viking, I am talking to you. ;)

Posted by
57 posts

My main issue is the wires tangled up with my sunglasses lanyard (so as not to loose them going in and out of museums), necklace (I only wear one on a trip and never take it off so as not to loose it...(I know I could leave it at home, but it is a special one I always wear), my purse crossbody strap, ID/passport holder, (and with viking, also a contact tracer!!), etc, ...it' a tangled mess and my neck starts to ache....the looking like a tourist is not really that big of a deal.

Posted by
1304 posts

Yeah, I wouldn't be happy with that many things around my neck either. 😜
I would try to find other ways to handle some of the stuff, perhaps pinning some of it to my jacket and/or using a money belt.

Posted by
19 posts

Mine goes in my day pack with other day essentials connected to my Bose ear phones.
I think that’s another sure sign they know. Shop owners love RS. We spend $$ and stay in town.
Relax and enjoy.

Posted by
8625 posts

I do not recall having the 'whisper' all day long. It was used only in certain museums, or somewhere where being heard was difficult, but were collected as soon as the visit at the site was finished.

Edit- This is how it was done 5+ yrs ago.... has there been a change?

Posted by
425 posts

On all of our tours we were given receivers that we kept for the entire tour. We once were given the Vatican's dedicated receiver that was collected immediately after the visit ended. My Bose earphones work best because the noise cancellation can be handy. Sometimes the elective ear clip works better for me than the usual ear phone they provide.

Posted by
1304 posts

Yes, these days we are given Whisper devices at the beginning of the tour to use during the entire tour. They aren't used all day, or even every day. The guide reminds us to bring them the times they are needed/used.

Posted by
62 posts

Can anyone give me an idea of the size of the device we would be carrying? Pack of cigarettes size? Larger, smaller? I want to be sure it would fit in the front pocket of the small travel purse I usually bring.

Posted by
79 posts

Pack of cigarettes is about the size. It easily fits in my shirt pocket.

Posted by
325 posts

I completely forgot about this (more like blocked it out of my mind), until I read this thread and asked my husband about it. I will be the person wearing a puffer vest no matter the weather because it has a chest pocket for the receiver, and I already bought too small of a purse not taking this piece of equipment into consideration. Two weeks from today we will be in Paris! Yay!!!!!

Posted by
46 posts

Just back from Best of Turkey March 28 to April 9 and ugh, I kept getting tangled up with my camera strap, scarf (needed for mosque visits), the audio guide and the wired earphones. The earphones they gave out were left-ear only and very uncomfortable and so I used my own which I brought. The audio guide unfortunately did not allow for wireless/bluetooth set up that I could see. I was constantly turning off the audio guide when I was near the tour guide, and putting it away in my backpack.

Posted by
57 posts

We purchased 2 Airfly adapters and are hopeful that they will work. They have great reviews and we practiced with something similar to the whisper boxes and they worked fantastically with our Apple Airbud pros. I will update after our trip, fingers crossed for one less wire!

Posted by
9 posts

Do we need old fashioned ear phone jacks or do the new I phone wired earbuds work in the audio receivers? Or do we need a dongle? (it is the little device that takes I phone wired ear buds and turns them into the old fashioned jack kind. Lol, It is a real thing.)

Posted by
57 posts

@ kartalcott, I have previously used my own Apple wired earbuds and my husband usually uses his wired Bose earbuds. Neither of us like the included ear phones as they have a very weak sound and are very uncomfortable (at least to me). The dongle that you mentioned is similar to the Airfly in that it allows you to make the whisper box a receiver by connecting the device with the Airfly and allowing you to use your own WIRELESS earplugs instead....it is also used in an airplane when watching the entertainment monitor, it allows you to watch the screen without being hooked up with wires.

Posted by
53 posts

I have an old pair of earbuds that came with my iPhone 4. They have the round adapter that will plug into audio box. I plan on taking them with me. Luckily they take up very little space.

Posted by
5161 posts

It doesn't matter whether the box shows or not. We will still obviously be tourists........

Posted by
57 posts

I wanted to report back that The Airfly by Twelve South worked wonderfully with our quiet box audio receiver on our RS England tour!!! We just plugged them into the receiver and our wireless earbuds (Apple airbuds) worked perfectly, I was then able to put the quiet box into my purse or pocket. My husband and I both had our own pair, the original version, (bought them for cancelled 2020 tour) but next time we might go ahead and get the upgraded version that allows two people to share one device and has a longer battery life. I never ran out of battery each day, but I did have to recharge each day with the original. My neck thanked me!!

Posted by
9710 posts

Lucky Girl, thank you so much for coming back with a report. I was interested because I'd prefer to use the AirPods over the wired ear buds as well.

Posted by
7598 posts

Great to hear, Lucky Girl. I bought the Airfly earlier this month and had the idea it would work just as you say. It's very nice of you to take the time to come back and post.

Posted by
727 posts

" It is an obvious sign that you are a tourist"

I took a quick look at the Florence - Piazza della Signoria Live cam this morning, pretty easy to pick out the winding Chinese Dragon tour groups, no bright red lanyard needed.

Posted by
8625 posts

Question-

Now that a 'whisper' ( receiver) is handed out at the beginning of the tour and used throughout, how does one charge it?

Posted by
9710 posts

The Whisper system uses batteries which most guides carry spares of every day. At some point everyone's goes flat.

Posted by
90 posts

Thanks, Lucky Girl, for updating us! I just returned from an RS tour where that whisper receiver drove me nuts banging up against my crossbody purse strap (had some metal on it). The RS earbud didn't reach if I put the whisper receiver in my purse. I definitely needed a better setup!

Posted by
5 posts
Posted by
57 posts

Happy Traveler, yes that is the brand we have. We have 2 originals, each person has to have one to work. I think we will get the Airfly pro for our next tour though, so that we can share just one, have longer battery life, and I won’t have to carry anything! (Originals worked great though) Good luck! Works great in the plane too…no cords to mess with.

Posted by
92 posts

After finishing the 14 day BOE, I have to say the orange whisper system with the blue lanyard did not pose a problem for us. It fit in my shirt or jacket pocket when not in use. I will say that in certain places, we were able to skip to the front of the line and the guide told the guard to let everyone with an orange box in. You'll have to get it out anyway. Our guide noted that the whole group would stand out as American tourists anyway even without the box due to our shoes, brand of clothes, glasses, purses, and style of walking, etc. You are with a group and you can't hide that.

Posted by
2647 posts

Now that a 'whisper' ( receiver) is handed out at the beginning of the tour and used throughout, how does one charge it?

Our guide gave us 1 USB charger for 2 of us sharing a room. I used my own USB cable, Type B - the older, asymmetrical one.

Posted by
44 posts

We had two different model whispers on my trips this Spring. In Portugal we had the same ones we had on our previous tours which used AA batteries, which the tour guide provided. She provided replacement batteries as needed through out the tour. In Turkey we had the rechargeable units. As I recall we only needed to recharge them once on the 13 day tour. The quality of the Turkey system was pretty bad at the beginning. But by the middle/end of the tour she had it figured out. They seemed to be subject to interface from other systems and our guide seemed reluctant to try and change channels.

Posted by
26 posts

It would be great if there was a app that everyone could download on their phones and hear the guide that way.