Thursday, May 24, 2007

A Summer's Fortnight Holiday

Return in a fortnight's time to enjoy more postings by the Hopeful Traveler. T.H.T. is taking some time to find more inspiration and considering more articles of interests that should be up for everyone's viewing very soon. Feel free to post your comments about any postings or email the Hopeful Traveler at Thank you.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Dual Voltage Swings to Two Countries

Dual voltage appliances accept both 110v and 220v power. All you need is a plug adapter to make the plug fit into the wall; a voltage converter is not required at all. Some applances like travel hair dryers and travel irons are dual voltage. They usually have a switch to one setting for 110 volts and another for 220 volts.

The following appliaces are normally dual voltage and should automatically adjust to 110v or 220v power:
- Laptop Computer Battery Chargers
- Camera Batter Chargers
- iPod Chargers

How can you tell if an appliance is dual voltage? Be sure to check the indications panel on any appliance you would like to use overseas. This panel shows information like the model number, wattage and where the appliance was made. It will also tell you the voltage of the appliance.
- Dual Voltage appliances will say 110/220vac, or 120-240vac, or something similar. This means both 110 and 220vac (volts alternating current) are accepted.
- Single voltage appliances will just say 110vac or 120vac.

Please note that for laptops, cameras and other types of battery chargers, the indications panel is found on the charger itselt. It took a magnifying glass to see the panel on the Hopeful Traveler's charger.

Foreign Electricty Sometimes Too Hot To Handle

The next few posts will deal with the confusing subject of using electrical appliances overseas. The Hopeful Traveler feels unless you're gonna die without the appliance, leave it at home.

First thing is electricity and plugs are not all alike. In the U.S., electric power comes out of the wall in a 110 to 120 volt range and most appliances have a flat bladed plug. These countries uses the same: Japan, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and many places in the Carribeean, Central America and the islands in the Pacific.

In most other countries, electricity comes out between 220 and 240 volts. So you will either need a voltage converter or an appliance that accepts both 110 volt and 220 volt power. Appliances that accept both are called "dual voltage". But this doesn't mean you can use your appliance in a foreign country. Why? The plug. Plug endings are different so you may need a plug adapter to fit your plug into the foreign outlets. Pictured above is a continental Europe outlet which has two round pins for plug endings and electricity coming at you at twice that of U.S. voltage.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Free Your Mind - Quick Tips for Relaxing in Flight

One of the most difficult challenges of flying is getting that elusive amount of needed rest. Not everybody can get any real good sleep on a plane especially on a crowded cramped aircraft but hopefully these suggestions will help.

Before Your Flight -
Shake those feelings of anxiety. Honestly, if the prospect of flying is a stressful event, then get a doctor's advice. On the other hand it's a matter of letting your mind be free. Take care of any work issues well in advance of your last day of work. Don't be scrambling at the last minute. Like packing at the last moment, you'll feel that time is short and something forgotten or incomplete.

Also constantly review your travel plans and packing. Cluttered minds leave things behind and undone. It's amazing what you think about one day that you didn't the day before. The Hopeful Traveler finds himself writing in a pocket notepad and sending himself emails to home from work just to remind himself of something he may have forgotten.

Most travelers believe the vacation begins once you reach your destination. But the Hopeful Traveler believes it begins from the moment you leave home. Those moments at the airport checking-in, going through security and waiting for your flight can affect how you enjoy the next leg of your journey. So plan on being at the airport ontime to avoid rushing or the prospect of long lines.

On Board -
The clothing you wear should be comfortable but appropriate for the duration of the flight and arrival at your destination. Dress in layers to keep warm considering airlines have cut back on blankets for passengers. Use slip-on shoes that you can remove inflight and clean socks to keep your feet warm.

Many already do this but being ready at the call of your group number or row will help you secure the overhead bin to get the most leg room possible.

Some passengers bring their own sleeping mask, pillow or blanket and that's fine. Whatever you need to make you feel more comfortable provided the items are easily accessible and stowed. Many of these items and more can be found at (see Quick Links). The Hopeful Traveler cannot fly without an iPod. A battery pack and portable charger/dock helps viewing videos for long-haul flights. If you can afford it, noise-cancelling headphones can help you enjoy your media device or in-inflight movie/music. Bring a book or several magazines. If you can't sleep don't just sit there doing nothing. You'll feel a sense of restlessness as you constantly check your watch.

Set your watch to destination time as soon as you board the plane. Always think of the time of where you are going and not of the time at home. To avoid that rush for restrooms before landing, plan on preparing for landing ahead of the in-flight announcement by setting a watch alarm. This will offer you the opportunity to stretch your legs and get yourself fully awake.

If you can sleep on the plane through the entire flight, fasten you seat belt so the flight attendants can see it is secured so you are not awaken if the pilot turns on the seatbelt sign.

Always drink plenty of water because the humidity in the cabin is extememly low. Stay away from alcohol and caffeine which can dehydrate you and interfere with sleep.

If you're traveling first class, then you got it made. But remember the alcohol flows often and free so just say 'no'.
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