It’s the number one question we have during our travels. How do you stay connected to the Internet when you travel the world?
It used to be difficult to keep up to date with our social media and blog posts, but in today’s world, it’s a snap.
Internet when traveling
Use Local SIM Cards to Stay Connected
The first thing we do is buy a local SIM Card when we land at the airport of the country we are visiting. We both use iPhone 5’s and bought them outright at the Apple Store so that they are already unlocked. If you have a phone that is stuck to a plan, you will have to have it unlocked. As soon as we land at the airport, we hit the ATM for some local currency and then find a mobile phone store to buy a pre paid SIM card.
Most recently in Ireland we bought a SIM card for €25 for a month of unlimited data, free local and international calls and unlimited text messages. It allowed us to be able to talk to newspapers and radio shows on our mobile phones about our time in the country and we were able to send out tweets and Instagram updates any time we wanted.
We've bought local sims on 6 continents and they always work great. Asia and Africa especially are light years ahead of North America, our sim card worked to send tweets from the Masai Mara in Kenya! For times when we need more data and want to work on our computers, we use a personal mobile hotspot.
Portable Hotspot Device
A portable hot spot that lets you take the Internet with you wherever you go. You can use up to five devices at once and it fits in your pocket so you can take it anywhere. If you do have a locked phone, this is a great solution. You can use a mobile hot spot with locked phones. It works just as any wifi device works. You sign into the network with a password and you are good to go.
We also always carry a portable USB charger to keep our electronics topped up throughout the day. Our iPhones and portable wifi devices suck up battery life. Our RavPower external battery works great to give four charges.
Mobile wifi hotspots are actually our favourite way to stay connected as we can hook up our computers and cell phones with the network. Once we put in the password, we never have to do it again. We're online all the time. We can work on our laptops and not have to worry about changing sim cards or having to sign back in every time we close our computer. It’s like carrying around your own personal wifi in your pocket. We find the speed to be fast and reliable.
If you travel a lot, you can buy a global hotspot and SIM for life for £98 from Vivente Connect. If you want to rent a device for a trip abroad, you can rent it for £42 for a month for 1GB of data. We have found that 1GB is fine for us for a month of travel when using it for our cell phones to check emails and do social media. If you want to do more work on your laptops, you will want to buy at least 3 GB of data.
Make sure to check the coverage map of the country you are going to. It can vary from country to country. Even regions can have less wifi than others. Several places in Ireland only had 2G coverage and 3G was only in urban centres.
The rest of the time we use wifi at our hotel or sign in in coffee shops and places like McDonalds. McDonalds is great for free wifi, air conditioning and good coffee. We try to spread out our internet usage. If we can go on free wifi at a restaurant or hotel we will use it. We then use our portable wifi device to fill in the blanks. And our social media is usually done through our local sim card.
We’ve heard horror stories of people spending thousands of dollars on phone bills while traveling abroad and it’s criminal what phone companies: especially from the US and Canada charge customers in roaming fees when traveling.
We have found that using personal wifi hotspots has been the best way for us to stay connected at affordable prices. With personal hotspots you can see how much data you are using on the screen and not have to worry about outrageous fees
When we mix that with a SIM card for our iPhones and hotel wifi or coffee shop data, we spend around $150 per month when traveling.
This post was written in partnership with Vivente Connect who gave us a personal wifi device to use during our travels through Ireland and Greece. However we have used and rented our own wifi devices in the past and would never recommend using them if we did not think they were useful and affordable for travelers. Vivente Connect covered all our needs. We love the Mifi for life idea and will probably buy one of our own.
To check out their price plans and how to rent your own personal wifi device on your travels, visit their website.