The Perfect Luggage for Clothing

Mountainsmith Travel DuffelAfter looking over the many Delta luggage restrictions, I ordered some great bags to use for the move from eBags.

While I already have some standard rolling suitcases, I’m going to need those to move my PC and LCD and miscellaneous household things I want to bring and that need some protection. I needed to find some light bags to stuff with up to 50 pounds of clothing, and the Mountainsmith Travel Duffel fit the description perfectly. The XL size is 61 linear inches, which is just under Delta’s 62″ increased size charge of $150. These bags were on sale for $48 each and if you buy them through Microsoft’s Live Search cashback program, you receive an additional 11% rebate. I bought three bags and saved some money thanks to Microsoft trying to catch up to Google in the search engine race.

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Voltage Craziness

I spent today researcing plug adapters, voltage converters and transformers that I would need for my move to BsAs (yes, this seems to be the common abbreviation for Buenos Aires). The International Electrical Supplies (IES) web site has a lot of useful information including a basic electricity introduction, a guide to choosing the right product, and, of course, a store to buy them all.

To quickly sum it up, since US electronics run at 110v and 60hz, there are three possibilities needed to use them in Buenos Aires where the voltage is 220v and 50hz:

Argentina Plug AdaptersPlug Adapter
Plug adapters simply convert the standard US electrical plug to fit the plugs used in Argentina. They do not convert the voltage! These will only work for electronics that are multi-voltage. This is important to remember as plugging in something that is not multi-voltage will short it out. Most laptops, digital cameras, computers, etc. are multi-voltage. To check if your device is multi-voltage, look at the power adapter and see what it lists as the input. For example, my Dell laptop is listed as: INPUT: 100-240V / 50-60Hz, so all that needs is an adapter to work. My Dell desktop PC has a red switch on the back of the power supply that converts it work at 220v, so all I need to do is add the adapter and flip the switch before I plug it in.  The same applies to my Sony digital camera charger, Blackberry charger, and wireless router. My computer speakers, DVD player and Nintendo Wii only operate at 110v / 60Hz so those will need a converter or transformer.

Voltage ConverterVoltage Converter
A voltage converter steps down the higher 220v to the US standard of 110v. These converters are lightweight and cheap, unfortunately, they are for non-electronic and ungrounded appliances only. In addition, they are not designed for continuous use and should be used at most 45 minutes to an hour at a time and unplugged when not in use. I haven’t found one thing that I am bringing that I can use this for, so I’ll need to bring a voltage transformer as well.

Voltage TransformerVoltage Transformer
Unlike converters, transformers can be used with grounded or ungrounded plugs as well as electronic or non-electronic devices. The transformer we’re interested in is the one that steps down the voltage from 220v to 110/120v. Transformers can also run full time unlike simpler converters. In order to determine what transformer you need, you first need to figure out what the wattage of the equipment you need to power is. Wattage is a simple calculation: Volt x Amp = Watt. If this is not given for a device, you can calculate it by multiplying those numbers off of the power supply on the device. You should also consider whether evertyhing needs to be connected simultaneously and whether you need multiple transformers for different areas. IES has a good guide to choosing a transformer. You’ll also need to buy adapters for these if you plan to use them in BsAs.

So, looks like I’ll be picking up a bunch of adapters and a 100 watt and 1000 watt transformer for my needs.

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Anxious Argentines tighten their purse strings

It seems that a lot of the news these days is focused on the ongoing farmer’s strike in Buenos Aires and it’s effect on consumer confidence. Guardian.co.uk is reporting on Argentines putting the brakes on spending due to rising inflation, the continued dispute with farmers and lack of confidence in the president. Many sources dispute the government’s numbers on inflation and suspect the real numbers to be much higher. Argentines also seem to be wary of the possibility of another financial crisis with many of them reported to be putting their money into US dollars.

There is no doubt that the 3-to-1 peso to dollar ratio was a strong consideration in my decision to move to Buenos Aires. Coming from NYC, the cost of living is considerably lower and my savings alone should be enough to support me for at least a year. While things may not be as cheap as they were immediately following the 2001 crash, for a New Yorker, things are still very cheap.  While I do not fully understand what effect these latest crises may have on the local economy, I’ll do my best to keep on top of the news and detail my experiences once I get there.

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Google News Alerts

I’m a firm believer that one should know as much as possible about their new country before they move there. A great way to keep on top of local news and stories is to subscribe to Google News Alerts for Buenos Aires. Google News Alerts deliver all the top stories related to your search term directly to your email and you can select immediate, daily or weekly updates.

I’ve been subscribed for the past couple of months, and every day I get an update on what is being reported about Buenos Aires. I’ve been able to stay on top of travel articles, the economy, news, etc. It’s been a great resource and one that I’d recommend for anyone planning a move.

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