Down to the wire

11 days until I leave, almost to the hour. I’ve been working on some last-minute moving preparations, some which may seem obvious to those who have moved overseas before, but all are new to me. I know no one personally who can give me some advice, so it’s all been a learning experience.

I had some appliances that I wanted to bring with me. 2 kitchen appliances, a hair dryer, and a hair straightener. I was aware that my laptop/camera only need an adapter, not a converter, but I wasn’t sure if this was the case for my appliances. Also, I didn’t know why my laptop/camera only need an adapter. My sister linked me to an article about voltage and electronics in Europe, but neither of us understood if the article implied that I needed a converter.

So I asked the internet. I learned that yes, my appliances would need a converter if I brought them with me. My camera /laptop don’t need one because they have a voltage range from 100 – 240V (or something similar), meaning that they will work in all countries within that range, they just need an adapter to fit into the proper outlets. One of my kitchen appliances has a voltage of 120V, for example, so it would need to be converted. After reading the advice and anecdotes I was given, and after looking at the reviews of converters on Amazon, which seem to have an equal number of 5 star and 1 star ratings, it seems easier and safer to leave my appliances here and just some find inexpensive ones while abroad. People talked about fuses being blown, their appliances melting or catching on fire, or the converter itself making weird noises or starting to smoke, so it seems less stressful to just buy some European appliances. My suitcase is markedly lighter without these appliances, which is nice.

Next I need an international calling card. To call my parents in America, I’ll most likely just use Skype or Google Voice, but 1) I have some business to periodically attend to in America that needs an actual phone, and 2) I need something that will allow me to call international phone numbers from outside of Spain, either with my cell phone or a landline/payphone. I went to Amazon, and they mentioned Digitz. I went to the website and these cards seem to be good, but the information available on the website is about calling internationally from America, not the other way around. I wanted to call the website to see if I could call the US from abroad, and the website itself says call or email if you have questions, but no phone number is listed so I emailed.

Just in case Digitz is indeed just for Americans who wish to call abroad, I’m looking at another company and card, the ZapTel True North card. According to the blog I found this link off of, this card does indeed call worldwide. They also boast no hidden fees, just like Digitz, so hopefully between one of these companies I’ll be taken care of.

I think these are the last big things I need to take care of. I have a couple of odds and ends to purchase, like a little more cooking supplies and some American measuring cups/spoons. But I think I’m almost ready. Any day now.

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~ by Revé on August 18, 2011.

5 Responses to “Down to the wire”

  1. That’s exciting!
    Just yesterday I went to an event for returning/first time Assistants and some of the new ones said they were leaving soon. I didn’t leave until just a few days before orientation started. Going to the event kinda made me wish I was going back to study or work as well! Is your sister departing at the same time as you?

    I read some of your earlier posts and wanted to mention that it might be easier to look for appliances and kitchen supplies once you get there. However, getting some measuring spoons/cups is a probably a good idea. They have stores similar to Wal-Mart/Target like, Carrefour and Hipercor, that carry a large variety of products. Several of them are sold here as well.

    My family started using Pennytalk to call me. For calling the U.S, I usually just used my cell phone or went to a locutorio.

    Suerte with the rest of your travel planning!

    • Yeah, my sister and I leave together. Our parents will also be there for the first week…they’d never go to Spain otherwise lol.

      Right, it seems easier to just get some Spanish appliances. Converting American appliances seems like it can be so dangerous. My Spanish teacher had a similar experience with her European appliances in America.

      Are there a lot of Carrefours/Hipercors? Hopefully I can carpool/share a cab with someone to go to them.

      I never heard back from Digitz so I think I’ll get the Zap Tel, just to have.

      Muchas gracias 🙂

      • Oh that’s great, they’ll be able to come with you.
        I’m not sure if you mentioned this but did you decide to go with an apartment or will you be staying with a family?

        I had a converter for my laptop even though it probably didn’t need it but just used it anyway.

        There should be at least a couple Hipercors in Sevilla? They’re usually connected to El corte ingles- the department store.

        Even the relatively small town where I lived had a Carrefour but it was on the outskirts of town. So I only went when my roommate was going. So I’m sure there’s one where you’ll be. There’s also Carrefour Express which is basically just a supermarket.

        De nada, let me know if you have any questions!

    • I’ll be living in an apartment. Staying in a host family was an option, but it’s about $2.5 – 3k cheaper to just have a roommate (and make my own food) than to live with a family (and have half/full board provided). That’s causing me the most difficulties with regards to my packing because I’m packing food and stuff to cook with.

      The only electronics I’m bringing are my laptop, camera, and iPod and they all just need an adapter.

      Oh ok, I have a slight familiarity with El corte ingles (meaning I’ve actually heard of it lol).

  2. Wow that is a lot cheaper. Plus sometimes host family dynamics can be a little hard to figure out. I guess the apartment is already arranged? That was one of the more difficult parts trying to find a place to live.
    Yep those are basically the only electronics I bring with me places as well.

    I like el corte ingles- it reminds me of macy’s or nordstrom but sometimes the prices are high. There are tons of shops everywhere, so if you like shopping that could be a good or bad thing. lol

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