CELL PHONES IN EUROPE. Cell phones are an increasingly popular option for travelers calling within Europe. In addition to greater convenience and safety, mobile phones often provide an economical alternative to expen sive landline calls. Unlike North America, virtually ail areas of Europe receive excellent coverage, and the widespread use of the Global System for Mobiles (GSM) allows one phone to function in multiple countries. A small chip called a Subscriber Identity Module Card (SIM or smart card) can be purchased from carriers in any European country to provide a local number for any GSM phone. However, some companies lock their phones to prevent switches to competitor carriers, so inquire about using the phone in other countries before buying. Phones in Europe cost around US$100, and instead of requiring a service contract, they often run on prepaid minutes that are eas ily purchased in many locations. Frequently, incoming calls are free. For more info about GSM phones, try these sites: www.vodafone.com,www.orange.co.uk, www.roadpost.com,www.celluiarabroad.com,www.t-mobiie.com, and www.planetomni.com.
BY EMAIL AND INTERNET
Email is popular and easily accessible in Western Europe. Take advantage of web- based email accounts. If you don’t already have one, free services (e.g. www.hot- mail.com and www.yahoo.com) are a convenient option, although they can be susceptible to spam. While it’s sometimes possible to forge a remote link with your home server, in most cases this is a much slower and more expensive option. Travelers with laptops can call an Internet service provider via a modem, and long-distance phone cards specifically intended for such calls can defray nor mally high phone charges; check with your long-distance provider to see about this option. A handful of large European cities (e.g. Paris) are in the process of making wireless Internet available in a variety of public places. Internet cafes and the occasional free Internet terminal at a public library or university are listed in the Practical Information sections of major cities. For lists of additional cybercafes in Europe, check www.cybercaptive.com or www.netcafeguide.com.
SPECIFIC CONCERNS WOMEN TRAVELERS
Women traveling on their own inevitably face some additional safety concerns, but it’s still possible to be adventurous without taking undue risks. If you are concerned, consider staying in hostels with single rooms that lock from the inside or in religious organizations with rooms for women only. Communal showers in some hostels are safer than others; check them before settling in. Stick to centrally located accommodations and avoid solitary late-night treks or public transportation rides. Always carry extra money for a phone call, bus, or taxi. Hitchhiking is never safe for women, or even for two women traveling together. Choose train compartments occupied by women or couples; ask the conductor to put together a women-only compartment if he or she doesn’t offer to do so first. Look as if you know where you’re going and approach older women or couples for directions if you’re lost or uncomfortable.
This figure, however, pales in comparison to the just Belgium Map over $2 billion spent on imports. The country imports various manufactured goods, including machinery and Belgium Map transportation equipment. It also must import nearly all its fuel and other raw materials. This imbalance between imports and exports gives the country a whopping trade deficit, one of the world’s highest. The only way Haiti has been able to keep from going totally bankrupt is that the World Bank and other agencies have written off huge debts. In 2009, for example, $525 million of debt was forgiven.