Posts Tagged ‘Paperless Mail’

Travel Indispensables: The Five Things I’m Glad I Have Across the World

Monday, July 20th, 2009

Moving to a different country was not easy. We sent our pets for adoption, sold everything we had, and only took what would fit in our suitcases. We had to adapt to a different culture, different language, and different food. There are a few things, however, that made the transition much easier, from a logistic point of view. Here are the top five that I am glad I have

1. Kindle: I have to echo Sean’s raving about the Kindle- I use mine constantly. I can’t download books through the wireless network, but buying a book, downloading it to my computer and moving it onto the Kindle just takes a few minutes. I must have about fifty books on it so far, including some Spanish readers to practice my language skills.

2. Skype: I use Skype not only for phone calls, but for video calls as well. Calling others on Skype is free, but I can call regular phones and cell phones anywhere in the world for very low rates. I am limited to calling from my computer, however.

3. Paperless Mail: I use a service that gives me a P.O. Box in the United States and electronically scans my mail so that I can view it online. There are several services that do this. Some, like offer a street address where you can receive packages for an extra fee.

4. A pocket Spanish-English dictionary (paper version): Electronic dictionaries often don’t have variations between south American Spanish and Spanish in the rest of the world. I use my little pocket dictionary all the time, and it doesn’t need batteries.

5. A Schwab bank account: Schwab has the best customer service of any bank I have used so far. I need to have a U.S. address, and the checking is piggy-backed to an investment account, but they don’t charge any ATM fees or conversion fees. They also refund ATM fees charged by other banks. What’s more, I lost my ATM card and had a new one within a few days.

If you are going to travel anywhere for any period of time, I recommend checking out the above products and services. culture shock is bad enough- you don’t want logistic challenges as well.

Julia Evans wrote this article for where she blogs about her life as an expat.  She also writes a personal blog Evans’ Gate about living as an American expat in Buenos Aires, where she lives with her husband.  Comments on both blogs welcome!

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