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Topic # 98729 5-Mar-2012 15:37
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(First off, apologies for the length and verbosity of this post.  I've been thinking about this for a few weeks, and the questions have been mounting up.  I figured it was best to try put it all into one thread.)

I’m going to be travelling to the UK in 3 months, with my wife and father-in-law, for four weeks.  I’m looking for tips on how to be prepared to make the most of things while I’m over there, especially to do with tech and gadgets.  We’ll be taking our phones (iPhones all round) and an iPad 1.  We probably won’t be taking laptops or digital cameras, though, to keep weight down.

Data & internet access: a lot of the places we’re going should have wifi, but it would be good to have some mobile connectivity while we’re out and about, in terms of texts or minutes to co-ordinate ourselves, and some data to keep in the loop with emails and the wider world.  Data roaming is obviously too expensive, so we’re thinking of getting a SIM card from a local provider for the duration of our trip.  Vodafone.co.uk do a 30-day SIM only plan for 31 pounds, which gives 900 minutes, unlimited texts, and 1GB of data.  This sounds like a good option.  Does anyone have any better alternatives?  Are  there any issues with needing to "unlock" the phone before using a UK SIM card, or is it just "plug 'n' play."  I'd hate to get over there, buy a SIM, and then not have it work...

Photos and video: we’ll probably just use the built-in camera of the iPhone for photos and videos, to avoid lugging round extra devices.  My wife, who is trigger-happy, is worried that she’ll fill up her 32GB iPhone 4S with photos in the first few days.  What are the best options for managing the multimedia flow?  I’m thinking that SkyDrive or Dropbox would be a good option, though the volume of photos she’s thinking about might chew through the 1GB data on the Vodafone plan above.  Short of buying extra data (which I’m not sure about), what are the other options for handling the numbers of photos and video we might produce?  I don’t think there’s any way to download photos to an external storage media without a computer.  Which would mean a trip to a cyber-café with a USB memory stick.  Anyone have an elegant solution to this problem?

Charging: seeing as we’re only taking Apple gear, it’s a bit easier to manage our charging needs.  We’ll be renting a car for most of the trip, so I’ve got a car charger with a USB port, which will let us charge one device as we drive from place to place.  I’m also thinking about getting a third party charger with a UK plug.  I’ve seen one on Trademe which has 4 USB ports – we could then just bring one USB cable for each device, and all charge up our iPhones and iPad at night at the same time.  Or would it be easier to buy a standard travel adaptor, and bring along our usual wall chargers?  Also, for the flights, we’ll be travelling on Emirates all the way (on the A380).  Does anyone know what in-seat facilities there are for charging devices?  I.e. a powered USB port, or a wall socket?  Similarly, what wall adaptors would I need for Dubai and Sydney, where we a staying a couple of nights on each leg of the trip?
Gadgets: are there any essential gadgets for travelling which you recommend?  You know, the things that you wouldn’t do without?

Thanks in advance for your advice.

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  Reply # 590768 5-Mar-2012 15:54
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Lizard1977:
Charging:  Also, for the flights, we’ll be travelling on Emirates all the way (on the A380).  Does anyone know what in-seat facilities there are for charging devices?  I.e. a powered USB port, or a wall socket?  Similarly, what wall adaptors would I need for Dubai and Sydney, where we a staying a couple of nights on each leg of the trip?
 



Seatguru.com for power & usb connections

Sydney has the same plugs as NZ, Dubai seems to offer a multitude of socket options, if you can muster up a UK/US option (as well as the NZ/AU pins), then your hotel should be fine. One of those power cubes of anything to anything might be the way to go

Lizard1977:

Gadgets: are there any essential gadgets for travelling which you recommend?  You know, the things that you wouldn’t do without?



Many discussions on noise cancelling headphones are on geekzone, all depends on your cost / use of them. With Emirates ICE, I can't remember running out of movies to watch for the past couple of RTW flights as well...



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  Reply # 590772 5-Mar-2012 16:07
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Edit: Never mind. Just saw your link to seat guru. Will have a look now...

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 590773 5-Mar-2012 16:07
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Last time I was over there I got a prepaid SIM from T-Mobile and added the "30 day Internet Booster" (£5). It includes a "fair use" amount of data that you shouldn't have any problems with if you're just doing email etc.

http://www.t-mobile.co.uk/shop/mobile-phones/price-plans/pay-as-you-go/boosters/



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  Reply # 590775 5-Mar-2012 16:10
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Thanks for the T-mobile suggestion. I'll have a look. Fair use can be a tricky concept. We might end up uploading lots of photos. What do they do if you exceed "fair use"? Throttle your speed or start charging you?

Edit: had a look at the fair use policy. No limit for email and browsing. 500MB or 1GB limit for streaming or uploading or downloading files, at which point they stop access for the rest of the month. Presumably, this would apply to apps as well.

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  Reply # 590777 5-Mar-2012 16:16
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Try carphonewarehouse.com when you arrive, can be useful as they sell for all networks. Worth noting they have a load of MVNOs in the UK, and coverage can vary quite a bit. Ofcom has a coverage map for mobile broadband.

If you get a mobile hotspot (might be cheaper to share one data connection rather than one for every device), some of them let you store data on them, not sure if the iphone/ipad let you do that or not. There is the camera connection kit for the ipad, you could use with some SD cards if you can copy the data off the ipad. Workflow would be:

iphone -> ipad -> sd card --- using the camera connection kit and/or an app like bump (does it use bluetooth to transfer?)?

I think there is someone selling external storage for ipads/iphone based on an adhoc wifi network or something.

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  Reply # 590824 5-Mar-2012 17:55
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Take a 6-outlet power board. Then you only need one plug adapter for All the Things.

Buy a Mars Bar once you're in the departure area. When you arrive at your destination, check the length of the 'Nothing to Declare' and 'Something to Declare' lines. This is especially important arriving back in NZ.

If, as usual, the 'Nothing to Declare' line is 7000 people long, walk up to the 'Something to Declare' line and present your Mars Bar - which is food, and therefore must be declared. They will take one look at it and wave you through. If the green line is short, eat your Mars Bar and go through it instead.

In your carry on, take the following:

* Toothbrush
* Toothpaste (yes this is more annoying now than it used to be)
* Deodorant
* Razor
* Clean t-shirt & underpants

When they wake you up before landing in the UK, wash face, brush teeth, shave, change shirt & underpants and put on deodorant. You will not believe how much better that will make you feel, especially if flying economy.

EDIT: I forgot to add - BONUS: sweaty shirt & underpants surprise for anyone who insists on inspecting your carry-on when you arrive! 




iPad Air + iPhone SE + 2degrees 4tw!

These comments are my own and do not represent the opinions of 2degrees.


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  Reply # 590831 5-Mar-2012 18:22
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SaltyNZ: Take a 6-outlet power board. Then you only need one plug adapter for All the Things.

Buy a Mars Bar once you're in the departure area. When you arrive at your destination, check the length of the 'Nothing to Declare' and 'Something to Declare' lines. This is especially important arriving back in NZ. 

 


The last time I flew through Luton a couple of years ago the Red line for something to declare was unattended and had a hotdial phone with a sign next to it to call if you had anything to declare!

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  Reply # 590834 5-Mar-2012 18:31
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sbiddle:

The last time I flew through Luton a couple of years ago the Red line for something to declare was unattended and had a hotdial phone with a sign next to it to call if you had anything to declare!


Yeah, they care a lot less about customs going into the UK than MAF does coming home. :-)

Mind you, the first time I went (I was actually on my way through to Dublin) no-one had clued me in to the clean shirt etc. When I arrived, I felt like Death and I can only imagine what I looked like. I got grilled. And a stern warning to make sure I went through passport control in Dublin: 'The onus is on you.'

When I arrived at Dublin, the immigration people were just waving everyone through without looking. They refused to look at my passport, even after I offered it. SO MUCH FOR SECURITY EH!?

The next time I went to the UK I ended up, amazingly, at the same guy. This time I was clean-shaven and smelled a lot better. I got a cursory 'What's your business in the UK?' and then let through with no further bother. 




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These comments are my own and do not represent the opinions of 2degrees.


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  Reply # 590853 5-Mar-2012 19:32
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The first time I went through immigration at Singapore, they had mints on each counter. I thought it was a nice touch until I grasped it was for the immigration officers benefit.

Forgot to add on the clothes front, if you have some worn out but wearable clothes for flying in, take the clean clothes as mentioned and bin your worn out clothes in the loo. With the exchange rate in the UK right now, you can upgrade the wardrobe too.

gzt

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  Reply # 590873 5-Mar-2012 20:34
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Lizard1977: Thanks for the T-mobile suggestion. I'll have a look. Fair use can be a tricky concept. We might end up uploading lots of photos. What do they do if you exceed "fair use"? Throttle your speed or start charging you?

Orange had a similar deal last time I looked.

Also I wonder if there is anything preventing or prohibiting using two sims from the same carrier.

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  Reply # 590876 5-Mar-2012 20:43
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I have just come back from the UK, 3 mobile is the best deal by far.

They usually give you the sim free otherwise it is 1 pound. for 15 pounds you get 300 minutes, 3000 txts and unlimited data.

And i really mean unlimited - not fair use(I was living in the UK and pulled down ~88 GB one month)

You need to be careful with mobile broadband though as it is much much slower than in NZ. 3 mobile has the quickest network out of everyone but you are still lucky to get 1mbs.




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  Reply # 591044 6-Mar-2012 09:06
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SaltyNZ: Take a 6-outlet power board. Then you only need one plug adapter for All the Things.


That is a GENIUS idea!  I wish I had thought of it myself!

Buy a Mars Bar once you're in the departure area. When you arrive at your destination, check the length of the 'Nothing to Declare' and 'Something to Declare' lines. This is especially important arriving back in NZ.

If, as usual, the 'Nothing to Declare' line is 7000 people long, walk up to the 'Something to Declare' line and present your Mars Bar - which is food, and therefore must be declared. They will take one look at it and wave you through. If the green line is short, eat your Mars Bar and go through it instead.


Two genius ideas!  Brilliant!

Thanks for the advice.  It's these little things you never realise, and the travel agents don't tell you.



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  Reply # 591045 6-Mar-2012 09:11
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jbard: I have just come back from the UK, 3 mobile is the best deal by far.

They usually give you the sim free otherwise it is 1 pound. for 15 pounds you get 300 minutes, 3000 txts and unlimited data.

And i really mean unlimited - not fair use(I was living in the UK and pulled down ~88 GB one month)

You need to be careful with mobile broadband though as it is much much slower than in NZ. 3 mobile has the quickest network out of everyone but you are still lucky to get 1mbs.



Thanks for the heads-up.  Looks like 3 Mobile is the way to go.  Do you know if there are any fish-hooks for iPhones?  All of us will have NZ-bought iPhones.  Will we just be able to rock up to a 3 Mobile store, and buy 3 SIMs on the 15 pound Pay As You Go option, and get connected straight away?  Or does the iPhone need to be "unlocked" or something like that?  I did a bit of googling yesterday, and I read some comments about needing to have iTunes on hand to "activate" the new SIM for your phone - not sure how current that is, and whether it applies to NZ iPhones.

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  Reply # 591236 6-Mar-2012 13:20
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Lizard1977:
jbard: I have just come back from the UK, 3 mobile is the best deal by far.

They usually give you the sim free otherwise it is 1 pound. for 15 pounds you get 300 minutes, 3000 txts and unlimited data.

And i really mean unlimited - not fair use(I was living in the UK and pulled down ~88 GB one month)

You need to be careful with mobile broadband though as it is much much slower than in NZ. 3 mobile has the quickest network out of everyone but you are still lucky to get 1mbs.



Thanks for the heads-up.  Looks like 3 Mobile is the way to go.  Do you know if there are any fish-hooks for iPhones?  All of us will have NZ-bought iPhones.  Will we just be able to rock up to a 3 Mobile store, and buy 3 SIMs on the 15 pound Pay As You Go option, and get connected straight away?  Or does the iPhone need to be "unlocked" or something like that?  I did a bit of googling yesterday, and I read some comments about needing to have iTunes on hand to "activate" the new SIM for your phone - not sure how current that is, and whether it applies to NZ iPhones.


your iPhone isn't locked so you should just stick the 3 mobile SIM in and away you go. Not sure about this connecting to iTunes stuff as i don't have an iPhone but it sounds like rubbish.

 



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  Reply # 618623 2-May-2012 21:56
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Just thought of another question on the topic of using a Three Mobile SIM in my iPhone while I'm in the UK. Will I need to change the SMTP server for my mail account (Xnet) while I'm using the Three Mobile SIM? I ask this because when I'm out of WIFI range and on 3G here in NZ, I need to have Vodafone's smtp2.vodafone.net.nz server turned on if I want to be able to send email. Presumably I would need something similar for Three Mobile. I had a quick look on their website but couldn't see anything. Anyone know what I need, so I can be prepared in advance?

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