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Internet Cafes  can be an economical way of using email abroad and are a good alternative to lugging a laptop around while you travel.  Read our expose to be prepared to use Internet Cafes  to your advantage.

 

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Travel Advice/Travel Tips -  Internet Cafe  - Ins and Outs

Love to travel but hate to lug a laptop along for the ride?  Considering the weight, the support equipment and the usual problems getting online when using "foreign" telephone systems and networks, maybe Internet Cafes are an alternative?

Numerous travelers use their laptop for note taking but mostly to stay in touch with various email accounts that seem to have displaced the post office in importance.  Staying in touch would be easy - I would use the ubiquitous Internet Cafe as my portal to the folks back home and any business correspondence that might come my way.

 

Well, in theory, it sounded good and, for the most part, it was successful. On the other hand, using Internet Cafes to connect with email was easy, but never dull.

Most Internet Cafes charged a Euro for 15 minutes connect time with some discount for longer usage. Hotels, not about to miss the Internet Cafe boom, often have kiosks where you can jump online in your hotel lobby. Don't do it! The cost is exorbitant! At one hotel, it was five Euros for fifteen minutes and ten Euros for forty-five minutes (the only time plans available).

Service levels were uneven in the Internet Cafes I used. Most speeds were faster than telephone modems but slower than Cable modems. I suspect they were splitting a single DSL line among all their stations, but do not know for sure.

At one cafe, the network went down and no one working there knew how to fix it, but our money was returned and we were provided directions to another Internet Cafe down the street. At another establishment, the PC was unreliable and I had to switch units. In reality, the inconveniences were minor.

The most unusual issue was  related to keyboards: their layout changed in every country. On many of the keyboards,  the"@" sign is  not accessed through an upper case "2" and the "/” can appear almost anywhere on the keyboard.  Many European keyboards have a very small shift key to the left of the other keys and place the "/ "symbol next to it. Most of the time when I meant to shift, I typed "/" which did not help my typing speed. On the other hand, I did not have to use the insert symbol procedure to type "€", but where was that "$" symbol?

 

Using Internet Cafes is a viable alternative to lugging a laptop; however, there is a major issue to consider.  Security at Internet Cafes is  non-existent. You should change your passwords for any account you access in an Internet Cafe  as soon as practical, in order to limit any potential exposure.  Next, never use a credit card or provide personal information on accounts when using an Internet Cafe.   Using an Internet Cafe is similar to using a  telephone line with an unlimited number of extensions listening in.

If you normally use Outlook or some other email client, you will need to know how to access all of your email accounts using web mail - that means that you will need to know all of your sign-in names and passwords, as well as the account's URL.

See our article on Internet Cafe Use

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