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Last updated February 07, 2016. 

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Packing - Electronics - Should I bring them?
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[Questions to Ask Yourself] [What to Look for in Electronics]
[Bringing Your Cell Phone]
[Bringing Your Laptop] [ Bringing Your Digital Camera]

Should I bring a digital camera?" or "Should I bring my laptop?" or "Is it safe to bring (name of expensive electronic equipment) with me?"

These are questions I've asked myself and have been asked by tons of travelers planning their trips to Europe. The answers are not simple, because the answers will be different for each individual. Before bringing your digital camera, camcorder, mp3 player, CD player, cell phone, handheld, laptop, etc. with you, consider the questions listed below.

Questions to ask yourself before leaving home with a piece of electronics.

  • Will I be feel "lost" if I don't have my piece of electronics with me?
  • Do I really need to have this piece of electronic with me?
  • Can I afford to replace this piece of equipment if it is lost or stolen?
  • Can I afford travel insurance to protect my valuables?
  • Does my travel insurance cover this piece of equipment being lost or stolen? How/When do I file my claim?
  • How much does my electronic equipment weigh?
  • Do I want to haul this piece of equipment around with me 24/7?
  • How long is the battery life of my electronic equipment?
  • Does my electronic equipment require recharging of its batteries?
  • Will I have access to electrical outlets to recharge my electronics?
  • Will I need a transformer voltage converter (for non-dual voltage appliances) or an adaptor plug set to use or recharge my electronic equipment? Click here for more info about electricity.  Use this Electrical Wizard to find out what voltage different countries use.

What to look for in electronics

  • small, compact size
  • lightweight, but durable construction (computer notebooks under 4 pounds)
  • long battery life and/or easily replaceable batteries
  • compatible technology (multi-band cell phones, etc.)
  • dual voltage capabilities

Bringing your cell phone

I don't bring a cell phone with me when I travel. The costs are just too high. I bring a pre-paid phone card like the ones at They are useable in most countries and cost considerably less than using a cell phone.

If you MUST bring a cell phone then, please check out my page about cell phones, so you can find out the cheapest way to use one while in Europe and how to get your phone unlocked for use of international SIM cards.

For more information about calling cards and cell phone costs, please check out my Keeping in Touch page.

Bringing your laptop computer

I don't bring a laptop, because I currently don't have one and because they are rather heavy to carry around and really expensive. If you do bring a laptop, make sure you have the proper adaptors and converters to recharge your laptop.

Instead of bringing a laptop, you can:

  • Use Go To My PC a service that allows you to access your computer's hard drive from any computer connected to the internet. Access your e-mail, programs/applications, documents, etc. All data is protected with AES encryption using 128-bit keys.
  • Use internet cafes, they are widely available and easily accessible. For more information about internet cafes, please check out my Keeping in Touch page.
  • Use a handheld PDA (Palm Pilots, etc) with keyboard accessory or built in keyboard. These are smaller and lighter and offer the functions you need while on the road without the weight and expense of laptops.

 Bringing your digital camera

If you bring a digital camera, make sure you have the proper adaptorsicon and converters to recharge your camera. Also make sure you have plenty of space on your memory cards. The larger the memory card the better, because I'm sure you'll take lots of pictures.

Downloading your photos

You should be able to find a photography store or internet cafe that can download your photos onto a CD for you and/or print out hard copies of them. The fees for those services vary.

If you want to share your photos with the folks at home, you can use a service like Snapfish to store, share, and print your photos. They offer free storage, photo sharing, and photo editing tools. Prints cost around 12 cents each.

Instead of bringing a digital camera, you can:

  • Use a disposable camera (they even have underwater ones now!)
  • Use a regular 35 mm film camera or APS film camera
  • Buy picture postcards or photo books (my favorite souvenirs to buy!)

Click here for places to get deals on electronic items and accessories.

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