By the time this posts we will have returned from our Summer holiday. We went to NY for a month. I worked for two weeks out of the office in Times Square while M and the kids stayed at my mother and father in laws. I went up for the weekends. Then it was off to my mom’s for two weeks while i had off. I cannot tell you if I had a good time or not. Since i am writing this while still on the flight to NY. I assume it was a fantastic trip. This post isn’t about the holiday itself anyway. It is about the Tech used for this holiday.
FIrst and foremost in my mind when planning what to bring on this trip was how were we going to stay connected. Connectivity (Data, Video, Voice probably in that order) is scarily important in this day and age. It turns out for mobile phones we were pretty set already. M has a 3 PAYG SIM. I never got her on a contact. The cost of what she uses isn’t worth it on a pay monthly plan on EE or 3. In the end she stayed on the 3 PAYG she got when we first arrived. It has been fine. What i like about it is their roaming. The have the best roaming of any provider i have found in either country. With M’s regular plan she can roam in Europe or the US with no extra fee. In the US she can use her voice, text and data like she is in the UK. For data that is great. For texting that works since she uses apple messaging or whatsapp and doesn’t truely send texts often. Voice calls is the only oddity. She can make and receive calls in the US just like she was in the UK. That means in practical sense that she can call friends in the UK with her included minutes. If she wanted to call a US number it would be an international call just like if she was in the US. That’s annoying but not the end of the world. We have a voip provider for those people who don’t have FaceTime or WhatsApp.
For me i was worried i would have a problem. I do not use 3. I went with EE after a few months of being in the UK. I found their data network to be faster and more reliable. They did not have a roaming deal for the US as nice as 3. Their Europe roaming was good. After a bit of research and a call to EE support they told me that i could buy roaming in the US and Canada for £10 a month. I get all my data as well as texting and calling to the US. I haven’t tested this yet however if what they say is right for the £10 i spent i can make calls to US or UK numbers with my minutes. The only downside is people calling me from the US would still have to make an international call. I do have my voip provider with my old US mobile so that shouldn’t be a major issue.
To mitigate any issues receiving calls (if there is any) i did buy a US SIM card for the month. After some research i actually settled on Google Fi. I may not have written about it yet however i purchased a Motorola G7 so i could use its dual SIM function on this trip. I doubt i will keep Google Fi after the trip however i can cancel anytime. And the price was really good. Stress dreams aside from my use of Google services and their collection of everything i do when i use it. Seriously i had one. I will write about that another time. For the month i am in the states i figured i would try it.
Other tech I brought with us is lots of US adapters. Luckily we use mainly apple products so i had a bunch of US power plugs from our devices when we moved. I kept a bunch of them for this exact situation.
Another must is my Bose noise cancelling headphones. Great for the plane or when working in a noisy office.
For WiFi and other connectivity both parents houses are covered.
I also brought my Sony Alpha 8000 (i think its an 8000) mirrorless camera. I do not use it as much as i should since i am lazy and use my iPhone. However on a trip like this i will want it for some days. I am still amazed at how awesome the pictures it takes are.
I traveled heavy with other tech. I was working for two weeks so i needed my MacBook. It’s associated charges and adapters. I also brought a 5tb he’d with a backup of my data on it just in case. I also had to bring a USB headset for all the phone calls i will be on for work.
For personal use i brought my iPad Pro 11”. That is what i am typing on right now. It is basically my goto device for personal use now a days. I also had to bring my iPad Mini. One of the girls uses it on the plane flights. The Amazon Kindle Fires they had broke. Both in the span of a month of each other. We got a handful of trips out of them. They lasted a year and a half. For the $100 i spent on both of them it wasn’t a bad investment. I am not sure if i will get new ones. We have been surviving the past two trips with my iPad mini and M’s iPad. For now there is no plans to replace the much lower end tablets since the iPads work fine for the kids limited use case.
I packed one of my Raspberry Pi’s for the trip. I am not sure what / if anything i will do with it. I may need it as a VPN host somewhere. That is another blog topic on its own that i hope to get to. Either way the Pi was so small that i figured why not pack it. I just had room for it with my chargers and other adapters.
The last big bit of tech i would note is M and my 20,000 mili-amp batteries. I bought one for the family when we traveled. I also got each of us small 5,000 milk-amp ones for day to day use. M found she wanted/needed the bigger one so i started not having it in my weekend bag. I then got her one so she could always have one and so could i. So far this 7 hour flight has 48 minutes left and i used it to charge both my Moto G7 and my iPhone, plus my iPad Pro. The battery still has about 50% of its charge left in it. That is why i carry it. Well worth the £20 for it.