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tj_PE

Travel!! Where are you headed; Where do you want to go? Where have you been?

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I have been to the Caribbean, the coast of Maine, both sides of Cape Cod, Hawaii (when I was kid), California, Gulf of Mexico (Florida panhandle), Miami, Puerto Rico, Bahamas, and Bermuda, and I'm sure there are others.  Not to mention viewing the photos online of exotic places and I maintain that sitting on the sandy beach and looking out at the ocean is pretty mundane and very much consistent. :)

 

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13 minutes ago, Ble_PE said:

I've always been a big tourist as well, but sometimes it's nice to just take time off and sit on your ass. I haven't had a vacation that allowed me to just sit and do nothing in probably 6 years, so I"m overdue. And I'm sorry @MA_PE, but a beach is not a beach when you've seen some of the ones I have...

I agree with this, but I also don't have tons of PTO time or funds to allow myself to just relax on a beach. I need it though! 

I'm hoping the soon to be acquired companion pass and related points will allow me to fly more places for less funds and maybe do weekend trips etc.

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16 minutes ago, MA_PE said:

I have been to the Caribbean, the coast of Maine, both sides of Cape Cod, Hawaii (when I was kid), California, Gulf of Mexico (Florida panhandle), Miami, Puerto Rico, Bahamas, and Bermuda, and I'm sure there are others.  Not to mention viewing the photos online of exotic places and I maintain that sitting on the sandy beach and looking out at the ocean is pretty mundane and very much consistent. :)

 

Well obviously you're wrong and I'm right.

 

:P 

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3 hours ago, tj_PE said:

I also have a problem with not having very relaxing vacations lol 

Yes, I typically like to take an "every other day" approach. Do a bunch of stuff one day, then take a day to relax and do nothing. Rinse and repeat.

2 hours ago, Ble_PE said:

Speaking of relaxing vacations, the Mrs. and I just booked a 5 night trip down to Playa del Carmen to stay in an all-inclusive resort. I'm looking forward to unlimited drinks and food and doing nothing all day except laying on the beach.

Nice! I really enjoyed Playa del Carmen. Very nice vacation destination. If you can, take the ferry over to Cozumel. Some great little shops and dining experiences there. The scuba diving/snorkeling is also pretty great. :thumbs:

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29 minutes ago, knight1fox3 said:

Nice! I really enjoyed Playa del Carmen. Very nice vacation destination. If you can, take the ferry over to Cozumel. Some great little shops and dining experiences there. The scuba diving/snorkeling is also pretty great. :thumbs:

We went to Playa del Carmen back when the Mrs. was about 5 months pregnant with mini-ble2 and mini-ble1 was about 18 months old. We had a great time, but we stayed on the resort the whole time because it would have been a pain to try to go anywhere. We're wanting to go to Chichen Itza for sure. We went to Cozumel a few years ago on a cruise so I'm not sure if we'll head out there again or not.

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grab the medical travel insurance!

my wife has had a bunch of patients recently who got sick in Play del Carmen, they racked up literally hundreds of thousands in bills before finally getting a med flight back to the states. Her patients families said basically if you end up in a Mexican hospital they come around in the morning and either want cash or a credit card every day or else they put your ass on the street!!!

They were notably older than you guys but some of these stories I have heard just make me take mexico off the list.

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50 minutes ago, knight1fox3 said:

The scuba diving/snorkeling is also pretty great.

Yeah, nothing beats dying underwater in the bottomless abyss!  ;)

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the reef in Cozumel is pretty shallow, maybe 25'-30'? you should be able to swim to the surface if something goes wrong ;)

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53 minutes ago, Ble_PE said:

We went to Playa del Carmen back when the Mrs. was about 5 months pregnant with mini-ble2 and mini-ble1 was about 18 months old. We had a great time, but we stayed on the resort the whole time because it would have been a pain to try to go anywhere. We're wanting to go to Chichen Itza for sure. We went to Cozumel a few years ago on a cruise so I'm not sure if we'll head out there again or not.

Cool. Chichen Itza (or as we called in college, "Chicken Pizza") is a neat landmark to visit. And if you venture into the neighboring town by the ruins, pack your own lunch but for the love of all that is holy, don't get anything with lettuce on it. Montezuma's Revenge is alive and well in that town! :D

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On 2/8/2018 at 3:22 AM, leggo PE said:

And to be clear, it won't be my wedding any of the times.

2018 Leggo's Schedule: Get married and start a family. Woo hoo!

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On 2/9/2018 at 10:16 PM, Dean Agnostic said:

I notice a name changed to @tj_PE. It was different name before. Something has changed in your life I speculate.

it's just an abridged version! nothing has changed, but everything is new.

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Travel Nerds -

The daughter is going to be in Germany this summer for 3 weeks (exchange student type thing)  what is the best thing to do for phone usage?  What we have heard is that Wi-Fi will work fine but either we pay our current provider a hundred bucks a month + data use while she is there?

I don't think she will be using the phone all that much but figure its a good thing to have since she is going solo (albeit with a host family)? i.e. momma will want to be able to hear from her...

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It may be worth having her buy a disposable phone while she's there. Typically only $30-$40 and she'll be good for local calls (if needed) and she can pick one up at the airport when she arrives. Depending on your carrier, her phone may be internationally enabled (i.e. AT&T's network is compatible with NZ phone systems) which would allow her to only buy a SIM card and use her current device.

If she's able to use Wifi, have her switch the phone to airplane mode and manually enable the wifi feature. If she needs to make a call back to the US, use an app like What's App which will allow you to text and call using data. I believe both ends need to have the app installed to work. We use that to call family back in the US as well as while I'm traveling for work. 

Regardless of her using a local phone or not, I would still recommend What's App for the Germany <-> US calls.

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When I was in Spain last September, I bought a Spanish SIM card and put it in to my unlocked smartphone. It had a nominal amount of data associated with it (that you could buy more of if you wanted).

When I was an exchange student back in 2009-10 and living in Austria for almost a year, I had a little phone I bought when I first got there that I could continuously put money onto. Granted,  this was before smartphones were really a thing.

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RG, 

Make sure her phone is unlocked and get a local SIM card once she arrives in country.  I paid $40 for a month of coverage in Spain last year, well worth it for the local number and I never came close to using all the data provided.  Also have her sign up for google voice prior to her departure and get a local (CO) number, then install hangouts on the phone.  It'll work with the international phone sim and you can call a local number to reach her.  I used hangouts when in Japan, Guam, Gitmo and Spain on local sim cards.

Buying a phone or getting service in the EU and not being a resident can be tricky.  Easier to get a SIM from the airport (more expensive) or the local supplier shop.  Just request a pre-paid phone SIM and 1 month service.

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We have been looking at the "whats app"

So would she need to go to an AT&T store in Germany to buy the sim card? Or will there be some place in the airport?

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I don't have any knowledge with Whats App, but have heard mixed reviews from co-workers.  Some don't have any problems and others fight it while traveling. 

It wouldn't be a AT&T store; likely a Vodaphone or similar.  Edit - the international terminals of many airports have a kiosk that sells pre-paid sim cards.  I found one in Amsterdam and Madrid.  They can be tricky to find, so see if you can find the kiosk location ahead of time online.. Search "German Prepaid SIM" and you'll get a mixed review of websites providing information.  Here is one from late 2016 and is probably somewhat relevant:  https://toomanyadapters.com/buying-sim-card-germany/

You might even be able to order one in advance and have it mailed to your home.  

Edited by blybrook PE

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36 minutes ago, Road Guy said:

We have been looking at the "whats app"

So would she need to go to an AT&T store in Germany to buy the sim card? Or will there be some place in the airport?

What's App is universal and just goes through your data plan which is awesome if you only have wifi available. I would probably focus on that since she likely wouldn't be needing to make any local calls. It does limit things like GPS/Navigation since you wouldn't be able to use the wifi signal away from the house/hotel. Good thing is that McDonalds all offer free wifi and they are everywhere, so you can pop into one if you get lost.

The EU system is setup so that all carriers use the same towers and frequencies, so she can get a SIM card from any carrier. However, you have to check to see if your current phone is compatible with the EU system because each phone carrier in the US is different and the phones are different. Plus most US carriers lock the phones so they only work on their network (which is why you can't buy a Sprint phone and use a AT&T SIM card).  None of the carriers here in NZ are the same as the US. I had to buy a new phone when I moved to NZ because my Sprint phone wasn't compatible. However, I can use any NZ SIM card in the new phone because they're all on the same system.

 

This article explains things a little better:

https://thesavvybackpacker.com/smartphones-data-plans-abroad-europe/

 

1 minute ago, blybrook PE said:

I don't have any knowledge with Whats App, but have heard mixed reviews from co-workers.  Some don't have any problems and others fight it while traveling. 

It wouldn't be a AT&T store; likely a Vodaphone or similar.  Search "German Prepaid SIM" and you'll get a mixed review of websites providing information.  Here is one from late 2016 and is probably somewhat relevant:  https://toomanyadapters.com/buying-sim-card-germany/

You might even be able to order one in advance and have it mailed to your home.  

You will likely also have your phone unlocked in order to utilize the SIM card since most US carriers lock them to their own networks.

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cool very helpful thanks!

her phone is one we bought new from AT&T  a few years ago (iphone 6) dumb question how do I tell if its unlocked?

the boys and wife are going to Ireland in a few weeks - but just for a week and we plan to disable the internet on the boys phone since they will all be in a group so they don't get hit with any kind of international rates by "mistake" - but we defin plan to use the whats app

So $15G's for Ireland, $2G's for Germany (although that's pretty cheap) our (my) vacation this year is literally camping at Telluride - which is cool but I could use some umbrella / beach / blue water time...#dadlife ;)

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IF the phone is paid off, you need to request it be unlocked through AT&T (https://www.att.com/global-search/search?q=check+device+unlock+status).  Usually once it's been "unlocked" on their side, you need to do a backup and restore via i-Tunes (usually takes ~48 hours for AT&T to state you're unlocked on their end of things).  You'll get a message during the restore process in i-Tunes that states the phone is unlocked.  Since you are doing a restore, you won't be forced to the newest iOS.

 

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3 people.. sucks that the wife is chaperoning, so she will be basically working and they wont give her a discount.. Its probably more like $12K - I think it was $3800 /EA and Yeah its very fucked up IMO

 

Bly- Thanks that's good intel!

 

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Yep, her phone from AT&T probably is not unlocked. I believe only Verizon sells unlocked phones. I have an AT&T SIM Card but bought my Pixel directly from Google, so it came unlocked.

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Basically, if you bought your phone from your service provider, it will be locked to that network. If you bought it from a big-box store, it will likely be locked because they are sold based on service providers. However, if you bought it online from a neutral site like Newegg.com or Amazon, it will only be unlocked if the description specifically says so.

 

BTW, buying unlocked phones from the neutral site means they're not loaded up with all of the service-provider bloatware.

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