Editor’s Note: The content of this article are for informational sharing purposes only. No endorsement implied.
By Holly DeCarlo-White
USAG Stuttgart Public Affairs Office
Wifi and/or computers are available for community use at the following locations:
- Commissaries (all installations)
- USO (Building 2915)
- Army Community Service (computer work stations only)
- Galaxy Bowling and Entertainment Center and Irish Pub
- Panzer Hotel
- Starbucks (inside the Main Exchange)
- Fitness Center
- Java Café
- Patch Community Club
- Fitness Center
- Broadway Café (inside Kelley Theater)
- Kelley Hotel
- Fitness Center
- Library/RB Zentrum (Building 168)
Free WiFi in downtown Stuttgart
Free WiFi connection in downtown Stuttgart is available at Marktplatz, Schlossplatz and Schillerplatz squares, as well as at the i-Punkt Tourist Information (Königstrasse 1a).
Select the “Unitymedia Wifi” network and request your login credentials via text message to start “surfing.”
The “Walled Garden” is an information portal of the Stuttgart-Markting office providing users with information on Stuttgart’s history, landmarks, tourist attractions, restaurants, public transportation, opening hours and much more. The Walled Garden is available at the user page when applying for WLAN. Accessing the information portal doesn’t require WLAN registration.
Mobile Phones in Europe
Calls, data and texts to a cell phone or landline can be extremely expensive from Europe. Especially if you or your dependents like to call and text frequently, you may be better off with a pre-paid cell phone balance that can be topped up at the Exchange and on-post phone stores and gas stations. Just be sure to bring your passport with you when you go to purchase a pre-paid sim card at any stores like Vodaphone in Stuttgart. Passport registration is a requirement with purchase of disposable sim cards in the European Union.
If you do choose to have a contract, read the fine print carefully to make sure that the fees are what you consider reasonable. Army Community Service and the Stuttgart Law Center can also help to review the contract for you before you sign to be sure you know what you are signing up for.
Popular apps for calling the U.S.
On WiFi, there are countless popular apps for free calling and texts to back to the U.S. with video chat options such as Viber, Skype, WhatsApp, Kik, Google chat, Facebook chat etc.
Having your family and friends communicate through the same app of your choice is the best way to go for free app-to-app contact. However, for those with family members who only have land lines in the U.S., look at the app’s “call out” options and rates. Many allow you to dial land lines from your German cell phone back to the U.S. for less than two cents per minute equating to about 1 dollar for every hour which is really inexpensive compared to calling internationally where depending on you plan of service, the charge could be five-times that rate.
If your computer is dual voltage, you can plug it into both 220v and 110v; the latter requires a plug adapter for 220v sockets. You will likely have to flip a switch (from 110v to 220v) on your computer before you turn it on. Do NOT forget to check this before powering up; otherwise, you can instantly fry your computer.
You can usually plug monitors directly into 220v outlets with only a plug adapter, but again, check for a switch first. Printers and speakers normally require a transformer. Check the output volts on your setup before buying a transformer, to make sure the one you choose can handle the amount of voltage you need.
Travel Apps and Websites
In addition to using the on-post SATO travel office or local travel agency services to book leisure travel in Europe, as well as the extensive German rail system (see page 29 for information on German Transit) there are several websites and apps to help you find great deals to travel. Popular sites include Skyscanner, Kayak, Travelocity and TripAdvisor just to name a few. Going directly to the airline’s website is another option for finding great deals on direct travel from Stuttgart Airport. Some of the airlines that fly direct from Stuttgart to neighboring countries at affordable prices include Eurowings, which has a blind-bookings option to pick your destination for you on your selected dates at a set price, Air Berlin, TUI, Vueling, EasyJet, Swiss Air and more. Checking your options at nearby airports is another tip too. Low cost airline Ryan Air operates out of Baden-Baden, Munich and Frankfurt airports are about two hours by train with additional connection options.
Family and MWR’s Outdoor Recreation and other organizations such as the USO arrange travel excursions monthly. Visit stuttgart.armymwr.com for details to get off-post and see Europe.