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Using skype while we're in Italy to see our Boys online

Using skype while we're in Italy to see our Boys online

Nov 2nd, 2009, 06:29 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Mar 2006
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Using skype while we're in Italy to see our Boys online

My husband and I are going on vacation to Italy on November 23, we'll come back to the States 15 days later. We have 2 boys (2 and 1) that will stay with grandparents. I would love to be able to chat with them and to see them through "skype". What do we do? do I bring my laptop and pay for a hotel internet connection? (which I think it's going to be extremely expensive..we are staying at Starwood Hotels, Westin, Hotel Eden...) or do we have other options? I also would prefer not to carry my laptop...thanks so much!
tasiburo is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2009, 07:01 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
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Most internet cafes (cheaper than most hotels unless they offer free internet) have Skype.check if they have a webcam or you may need to take a small one with you its a lot lighter than a laptop. You need to have a Skype account. & you can use it to phone home etc via the internet aprox 2 cnts a minute . I have used it for my travels in Europe.
jean253 is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2009, 07:40 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Vancouver
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Your hotels probably have a computer in the lobby that you
can use.

We just Skyped from Turkey and it was easy peasy to contact
our kids.
immimi is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2009, 07:52 PM
  #4  
 
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Do yourselves a big favor and go to Costco,Sam's Club or Best Buy and treat yourselves to a netbook from Acer(aspire one) for around $295.Is is very light and can be carried in your purse;has a long lasting battery and comes with microphone and webcam built in,etc. for skype usage.

I have been using mine since April and it payed for itself on my first trip. I now take it with me overseas everyweek for work.Most hotels have either free Wifi or discounted and it is so nice to have it at night over there in the privacy of your room to chat. You also can take it with you during the day for free wifi in various cafes. Personally, I think that it is a pain to look for an internet cafe to check emails and skype whether it has been in South Africa or Rome.
We just replaced my husband's Dell with the bigger version of Acer at home and the whole family loves using it. It has gotten great reviews for the brand.
dutyfree is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2009, 09:32 PM
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First of all, you need to make sure the grandparents have a computer with Skype installed, a webcam hooked up, and a good internet connection. And they need their own Skype account, which should be logged in so when you Skype from Italy, it will "ring" on their computer so they can answer it. You also need a Skype account and a computer with webcam. Test this all out before you leave for Italy.

Make sure the grandparents know how to use Skype and the web cam, etc. How will they know when you will Skype? If the computer is on and on the internet it will "ring" but if the computer is off - ? Will you call them first? Or set a preselected time when they can expect a Skype call? (You can call a regular phone from Skype for a few cents a minute - buy $10 credits as needed - but Skype to Skype on a computer is free if it doesn't involve an actual phone.)

The Netbook idea is a good one - I also recently bought an Acer Netbook and took it to Europe with me. Worked out great, very convenient. But it's just an option - you can certainly find "Internet Points" (as Internet cafes are known in Italy) and most of them have computers with Skype; some have cameras. If you only wish to Skype a few times on your trip an internet cafe might make the most sense, but a little netbook to check email and travel arrangements (and even make phone calls) can be super convenient, without needing to go find an internet cafe. Check with your hotels to see what internet costs, but as others have noted there may be decent free options around (e.g. McDonalds).
Andrew is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2009, 10:05 PM
  #6  
 
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There was a thread on this Forum some time ago on this subject. The deal was to just take a thumb drive with the Skype software installed. Plug it into a computer in an internet cafe.

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...unications.cfm

nukesafe is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2009, 10:43 PM
  #7  
 
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I took an Acer with me - at only 2 pounds it's easy to carry
and I found WiFi in cafes in Greece and Turkey.
immimi is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2009, 05:02 AM
  #8  
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Thanks so much to everybody that took the time to respond!
tasiburo is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2009, 11:49 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: May 2009
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I used to use Skype too, but have now switched to Logitech Vid, which is MUCH simpler to use if you have a netbook with a webcam. I don't know if they have a "portable" version to take on a USB stick, though.
Bugaboos is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2009, 01:02 PM
  #10  
 
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On the connectivity side, Starwood and other hotels you mentioned use internet as a key revenue source, so you will pay accordingly. Whether it gives you the value you are looking for is up to you. I need a connection back to the U.S. when I travel, so I always sign up for an internet connection. I include the internet charge when I compare hotels.

On the device side, there are lighter laptops, if the weight or the bulk is the concern. I take a netbook with no personal data on the hard disk. I leave such data on my home computer. What little personal data I carry with me is on a removable SD card. I just played with a Sony Vaio X demo unit at a local Sony Styles store. It is a 11inch screen unit weighing 1.6pounds. Alas, it is a pricey device.
greg is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2009, 01:08 PM
  #11  
 
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FYI, Greg, not all Starwood hotels charge for internet use. I stayed at two on my recent Europe trip that had free internet either in the room or in the lobby (or both): in Zagreb, Croatia, all the Starwood hotels there I checked (including Westin where I stayed) had free internet in the room. The Paris Airport Sheraton charged for internet in the rooms but had free wireless in the lobby and the lounge. So you really have to check per hotel to see whether they charge or not. I have a T-Mobile data plan in the US and can roam on some wireless networks in Europe; at the Le Méridien Gallia in Milan, I was able to use my netbook just briefly in the lobby, roaming via my T-Mobile account, for 12 cents/minute for two 10-minute sessions.
Andrew is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2009, 06:24 PM
  #12  
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I am reading everything and forwarding it to my DH, thanks so much! I will check with our hotels about the internet...my husband wants me to take my laptop (I have a VAIO, not very heavy, but again, it's going to be me taking care of it...) He let me know that he's not buying me a netbook (would have it be nice though.. He also says that he doesn't want to waste time looking for an internet cafe (since our stay in Italy is not very long and we had a lot to see and do)I was just trying to economize since I know that I'm going to want to be talking (and seeing) my boys forever!
tasiburo is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2009, 06:37 PM
  #13  
 
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Don't forget to bring a power plug adapter for your VAIO's power adapter. Almost certainly the VAIO's adapter will work on 220 volts but the American plug won't fit into the Italian sockets. Just get a little adapter that slips over the plug - costs about $3USD if you buy one before you leave.
Andrew is offline  
Nov 4th, 2009, 08:23 AM
  #14  
 
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You dont say where you are going in Italy.
Depending on where you are there may not be very many internet cafes or places with wifi - I thnk this trend may have peaked as italians themselves got home computers and connections, Although we did see a couple of internet places in the touristic center of Rome, I wouldnt have dragged my laptop around to get to one. In Naples I identified a few south indian run telephone joints and one wellknown internet cafe but none of these were convenient to our apartment.
We had hoped to be able to pick up wifi signal in our rented apartments in Naples and Rome but such was not the case. In Naples, the one free signal we picked up was secured; in rome, the walls were too thick for the signals (if they were there) to be detected.
I think italians must be all wired up just as we are now and not relying on the public venues or on the ability to hook onto free wifi. the skype on a thumb drive is a good idea in case you find internet cafes, but you are lucky to have potential access to hotel facilities.
jjkbrook is offline  
Nov 4th, 2009, 10:14 AM
  #15  
 
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I am a starwood platinum member, depending on your membership level they may give you free web access. Another option is to ask how much it will cost to access the hotel's executive suite - these usually come with a number of computers for free use, appetizers, drinks, etc. May be worth the upgrade price.
colleen90405 is offline  
Nov 4th, 2009, 10:30 AM
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bookmarking
melissa19 is offline  
Nov 4th, 2009, 01:16 PM
  #17  
 
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Book marking along with the original post about Skype. Lots of good info.
TDudette is offline  
Nov 4th, 2009, 02:36 PM
  #18  
 
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Warning: Experiment with how your BOYS like Skype before you waste too much time. My mother-in-law and I thought Skype would be a great way for her to keep in touch with my young daughter. Alas, my daughter, even now at age 6, has no interest in sitting there. I hold her in my lap and bribe her to say "hi" and that's about it. And that's even with my MIL holding their new puppy up to the webcam!
christycruz is offline  
Nov 7th, 2009, 11:34 AM
  #19  
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thanks to the new people that added more information to my question. We are going to Rome, Florence, Venice and Milan, staying at starwood hotels in all places but in Milan that we're staying at the Hilton. Our boys (they are only 2 and 1 year old...) are kind of used to skype since I'm from Paraguay and they see "abuelo" through skype, they obviously don't want to stay in front of the laptop forever, but it's basically so we can see them playing and see their little faces for a little bit...thanks for reminding me about the adapter I need to buy for my VAIO (I need to write this down!). I emailed the the Westin Excelsior in Florence (where we'll be while there) and they responded this:

"As far as the internet service is concerned, we would like to inform you that all rooms are equipped by high speed internet access and Wi-Fi connection is available in the Hall and meeting rooms.

Clients can connect their own laptop at the cost for each hour of Euro 5,00 or a special package for 24 hours of Euro 16,00.

Otherwise, clients can connect internet through the TV system at the cost of Euro 14.00 per 24 hours.

Prepaid cards are sold at the Concierge Desk

However, we would like to inform you that a business center and internet point is located on ground floor of our sister property Grand Hotel, just in front of the Westin Excelsior.

It is possible to use prepaid cards: Euro 8.00 - 15 minutes Euro 10.00 - 30 minutes
Euro 15.00 - one hour

My husband is also a platinum member (a lot of travel...) and that's what the prices they sent us...

DH still wants to bring the laptop, so I guess that's what we'll be paying..I'm going to email the other hotels we're staying and compare prices...
tasiburo is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2011, 10:42 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
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Hi every body, i do not understand the purpose of this site but i want someone to connect me on my skype< syed.fahad933 >
Murtaza_Syed is offline  

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