Need a gad­get for your trav­els?

Van­cou­ver store is one- stop shop for elec­tron­ics if you’re trav­el­ling or re­lo­cat­ing to an­other coun­try

Vancouver Sun - - Travel - BY GIL­LIAN SHAW VAN­COU­VER SUN

I searched around the world on the In­ter­net, but ended up in a small place on West Broad­way in Van­cou­ver where I found a travel elec­tron­ics ex­pert whose shop is a largely undis­cov­ered gem for trav­ellers.

Cus­tomers in­clude Canucks and for­mer Canucks play­ers who di­vide their time be­tween Van­cou­ver and homes in Europe. Re­cently the shop de­liv­ered a multi- re­gion DVD player to Swedish hockey player and for­mer Canuck cap­tain Mar­cus Naslund who wanted his fam­ily to be able to watch DVDs from home.

“ We’re try­ing to be a one- stop shop to set up all your elec­tron­ics when you’re trav­el­ling or re­lo­cat­ing to an­other part of the world,” said Gur­jeet Jaswal, who runs For­eign Elec­tron­ics with his fa­ther Piare Jaswal. “ Whether you need to get a power adapter, you need to buy an un­locked phone, get your phone un­locked or you need to know about dif­fer­ent video for­mats, we fo­cus on all of this.”

The shop caters to savvy trav­ellers and peo­ple who move to Van­cou­ver from other coun­tries, all of them try­ing to cope with for­mats, phones and volt­ages for their elec­tron­ics and dig­i­tal equip­ment that can vary widely from one coun­try to the next.

“ Most of our busi­ness comes from word of mouth,” said Jaswal, whose store is on­line at www. multi- sys­tem. com.

“ Con­sulate peo­ple come to Van­cou­ver and they’re only go­ing to be here for a cou­ple of years so they don’t want to buy a DVD player or an LCD TV they can’t use when they go home,” he said.

“ So they come here and buy one that will work here and also when they move back home.”

Much of to­day’s elec­tron­ics is made to op­er­ate on more than one volt­age and Jaswal’s trav­el­ling elec­tron­ics mini- course that he de­liv­ers at the counter of his shop starts with a demon­stra­tion on how to find out if your de­vices will do that.

If your de­vice cov­ers a range of volt­ages you’ll only need to buy a plug that will con­vert the prongs to fit in the elec­tri­cal re­cep­ta­cles where you are trav­el­ling. If the power cord only lists one volt­age, don’t try­ing plug­ging it into a for­eign elec­tri­cal sys­tem even if you’ve got the plug to make it fit.

“ If you take some­thing that is sup­posed to run on North Amer­i­can power and you plug it into Euro­pean power you risk fry­ing it,” said Jaswal.

“ There are three main is­sues for peo­ple who travel or who re­lo­cate to dif­fer­ent coun­tries and they are volt­age, video and mo­bile phones,” said Jaswal. “ For reg­u­lar trav­ellers the is­sues are usu­ally only volt­age and mo­bile phones but for peo­ple who re­lo­cate there is the is­sue of dif­fer­ing video for­mats as well.”

My bud­get mo­bile phone so­lu­tion for over­seas? I bought a quad band phone that can take SIM cards from any GSM car­ri­ers around the world.

To­tal cost: $ 100 Cdn plus 10 eu­ros for a SIM card from an Ital­ian wireless car­rier that in­cluded five eu­ros talk time, which, with un­lim­ited in­com­ing wireless calls in that coun­try, was all I needed. The op­tions in­cluded:

Tak­ing a Rogers iPhone and buy­ing a bucket of time and data which sounded okay un­til I called Rogers cus­tomer ser­vice line and found 100 min­utes of talk time and two megabytes of data would add more than $ 250 to my cell­phone bill.

Rent­ing a phone in the coun­try you are in. There are also North Amer­i­can ser­vices like www. Cel­lu­larAbroad. com that will sell or rent you a phone and ship it be­fore you leave.

An­other op­tion is to buy a pay- as- you- go phone in the coun­try you are vis­it­ing. Prob­lem is it won’t work in other coun­tries or with other car­ri­ers.

I f you buy a n u n l o c ke d phone make sure it will run on the net­work of the coun­try you are vis­it­ing — the quad- band GSM ones will work around the world while dual band will work only in roughly half the world.


Gur­jeet Jaswal of For­eign Elec­tron­ics can sup­ply phones for any­where in the world as well as power adapters and dual volt­age elec­tron­ics.

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