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Backpacker Magazine – March 2012

Travel Like a Pro: Get Wired

Stay charged and in touch abroad.

by: Abbey Smith

Travel Like a Pro
More adventure travel tips for Backpackers
Plug In Anywhere. North America’s standard outlets are common in Southeast Asia, Central America, and parts of South America. For other destinations, purchase an inexpensive adapter. If your appliance doesn’t accept a range of voltages (look for “110V-240V” on the tag), you may also need a converter. Driving overseas? Car cigarette lighters are standard worldwide. Bring an inverter like Wagan’s Smart AC 200 USB+ ($65; and use your vehicle as a charging hub. Or try a portable solar charger.

Buy a Global Cell Phone. Most countries use a digital network called GSM, but most U.S.-bought phones aren’t compatible. Solution: Purchase an “unlocked” GSM phone online (they start at about $50)—it won’t be tied to a single service provider. You can swap out SIM cards and get local rates anywhere. Telestial ( sells country-specific prepaid SIM cards ($20 and up).

Use Satellites. Iridium Communication’s ( satellite network covers the globe (cell networks only cover 10 percent). Rent or buy a sat phone, or consider a data- and emergency-only device like DeLorme’s inReach Satellite Communicator ($250 plus a $10/month subscription;

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