Foreign travel takes a lot of planning–at least for those of us that like to be prepared for any situation.  On a recent trip to Italy, we took my iPhone 5, my iPad Mini, a Nikon GPS-enabled camera (2 SD cards), and a cheap little netbook.  I took pictures everywhere we stopped so I could have GPS coordinates of all the places we visited and the route. I didn’t invest in a Morphie case for an extra charge for my iPhone–instead I brought a small portable charger (Snow Lizard) and kept that with me in case any of my devices lost power (camera, iPhone, iPad). 

We took a guided tour with Cosmos and had the best Tour Director, Savio Uccello & driver Silvio.  We were lucky to be with a varied group of people: different age groups, from a few different countries, and all very personable. We didn’t have anyone that whined or complained (ok, maybe my husband a few times!)

I had international service activated on my phone, but I kept it in airplane mode unless I wanted to checkin at a location.  I would toggle airplane mode off/on as needed. When I would get to an area with free wifi, I would check email & iMessage.   I used Swarm (the other part of FourSquare) to check into most restaurants and museums so I would have the exact names & addresses.  I used the journaling app Day One on my iPhone/iPad to log funny events, commentary, or things I want to remember later.  Day One will capture the location where you made the entry, timestamp it, and also log the weather.  

Once on wifi, I would post an entry on Instagram, including location data, and then push that update to Facebook & Twitter.  Most of my family has iPhones, so it was easiest to use these methods due to time zone differences. After we returned home, I collected all of these different points of data, and wove a complete picture of the trip.  See above. The second picture below is a more detailed map of the sites we visited in Rome.  My Nikon with GPS can connect to my iPhone or iPad and copy pictures over from the SD card.  I did this every night, and then I would open Dropbox on my device so that it would backup the pictures to the cloud when on wifi.  If the SD card got corrupted, I would still have a copy of the pictures.  My cell phone bill is normally $88/month.  For the time period that included the trip to Italy, it was around $150.  The global plan alone added another $25. With a few of the Swarm checkins, I included pictures, and that used more cellular data than I intended.