We don’t have easy lives. If you, like me, were raised with the internet and have the habit of checking your emails every 30 minutes, instagraming your food, glance over Twitter and Facebook constantly and check in with FourSquare every new place you visit, you’ve probably found yourself wondering how the hell you are going to stay connected once you start traveling.
The good news is, it is possible to stay connected all the time abroad. The better news is, it is not as expensive as you are expecting. The bad news is, that is recommend you to not stay connected the whole time and look up from your screen when traveling because the world is much more beautiful through your own eyes than through your iPhone’s screen!
These Are 6,5 Ways How To Stay Connected While Traveling Abroad:
1. Going Local
Going local is (probably) always going to be the cheapest option of all. Depending on the country and the provider the set up fee for a new local sim card varies between 0 and 10 €. Most of the time, the set up fee comes with a start balance. If you only stay for a few days, sometimes the hassle of going to a store and getting a new sim card isn’t worth it. One of the other options in this article will be a better option.
When you buy a local sim card always make sure to check what kind of plan you bough. Carriers often have several pre paid plans, just voice, just text or just data. Then they also offer plans where all three are included at a higher price. If you only want to go online, upload pictures to Facebook and Instagram and chat with your friends through WhatsApp then a data plan with a few GB is fine. If you need to make phone calls locally and internationally, I’d suggest to at least get prepaid plan with voice and data.
Attention: When you travel abroad and want to buy a local sim card, make sure that your smartphone is simlock free and it runs with other sim cards other than the ones from your network operator.
If you are only staying for a few days roaming might be an option. Especially if you are from a EU country the European Parliament just lowered roaming fees and wants to remove them completely by 2015. 50 MB of roaming cost on average around 2,50 € for any european network carrier.
3. Paid Wifi Networks
The more you travel the more similar paid wifi networks you will see around the world. There are a few big players with some really affordable wifi plans. Boingo offers worldwide mobile wifi plans from just $ 7.95/month (Global Plan: $59/month for all devices including laptop), iPassConnect is also a big one and the last one is Fon which is working with many individual phone operators like T-Mobile, KPRN, Telstra, Oi etc…
4. Free Wifi Networks
Wherever you go you will somehow find a free wifi network. Starbucks offers free wifi almost everywhere and most cafes have wifi, simply order a drink and ask nicely for the password. Many cities are starting to install wifi points all over the city and making it easier for you to connect. I’ve already connected for freest the beach in Barcelona, on a bench in front of the Nobel Museum in Stockholm and many more places around the world…
Mifis are a great way to stay connected constantly and with all your devices. Mifis are mobile wifis devices that use a sim card to provide internet wherever you go. Since 4 months I’m using ComfortWay, they offer affordable (0,07€/MB) and fast (3 & 4G) internet all over Europe and 0,39€/MB outside of Europe.
You can prepay the internet and pay as you go. The only little investment you have to do is to buy the extra Mifi for 59 € or 99 €.
Alternative: A great alternative to ComfortWay are the Mifis from Huawei. They come without sim card but you can simply purchase an extra sim card
6. Mifi + Local Sim card
Should you travel for an extended period of time you should consider buying a Mifi from Huawei and buy local sim cards in the countries you are visiting. With these Mifis you will be able to connect ALL your devices and simply have to exchange the sim card if you are traveling to a new country. It’s also a great way to split costs among friends for the sim card and the internet plan from a carrier.
6,5. Wifi Dogs
Once dogs can really do this, I will be the first one to get one and take him on all my travels. 🙂 I will call him good nose!