Staying connected can double your traveling costs and may even cost you more than your flight if you stay on roaming. But fortunately, in the modern world, there are other alternatives out there that will reduce your costs and save you from bill-shocks.
You don’t need to pay high-cost data roaming when abroad. So, what to do and how to get connected to the internet when you are traveling. The first thing that comes to your mind is a public Wi-Fi hotspot. But are there worth it?
Use Public Wi-Fi Hotspots but Be Aware
There are a lot of public Wi-Fi hotspots and internet terminals out there. While these are not the best alternative as you may need access to the internet when there is no internet terminal around, they are still a method to go if you don’t want to spend on the internet. You can find Wi-Fi hotspots in bars, restaurants, hotels, public parks and areas. This is an option if you need access to data occasionally. If you think you need more, there are other alternatives out there.
One thing to make clear is that public wi-fi is not a safe alternative. This is the option of the last resort for many travelers. Many people understand that public Wi-Fi can seriously endanger their data due to its open nature of the network. Having a secure connection is rather expensive. So, don’t expect public park you visit to have a secure connection. Your data is basically unprotected and hackers can easily see what sites you are visiting and what you are doing on those sites.
Never login to a public computer when using public Wi-Fi. Do not access your email or online banking as this is extremely dangerous.
International travel SIM Cards: A More Secure Alternative
If you don’t want your traveling experience to be nerve-wracking, consider buying an international SIM card, also called a travel card. These cards have grown to be the world’s biggest alternative service to traditional mobile cards.
Why are they good and who can benefit most?
To say the least, international internet cards are a cheaper alternative to roaming. Roaming will eat away most of your money while you are on a business trip or just traveling. The price of international travel SIM cards and roaming is incomparable. If you are traveling and Wi-Fi hotspots are not a go for you, then consider buying an international card.
There is one but…. International SIM cards are good when you are on a short trip. If you are on a longer trip in the same country, consider buying a local card, if they have affordable rates.
Here is who can benefit from international cards.
Business travelers who stop in and out of the country several times a year should consider buying an international card. They are more convenient than local SIM cards. You don’t need to chase around for a local card to call a taxi when landing or to call Airbnb.
Occasional travelers may also consider buying an international card. Even if you travel once or twice a year, and this card is a sensible option for roaming. It can help you a lot especially in the first hours of your trip when you have to locate your hotel or call a taxi.
If you are skipping through several countries in a hurry, there is no sense to buy a local card every time you land. Having one international travel SIM card will save you a lot of time and money.
Most international travel SIM cards are prepaid SIM cards. Some prepaid cards are expensive, but they give the unlimited plan. You can get unlimited calls, unlimited texts, and unlimited LTE internet. You can even share your phone as a hotspot and share your connection with other devices. This is a good option for those, who need much data.
Other prepaid cards are cheaper but give data for the limited period. You can order some prepaid SIM cards online while others can be purchased only in shops.
Monitor Your Usage
Even when you are on the international card, you still need to monitor your usage if you are not on an unlimited plan or if your card is not prepaid. Be aware of how much data is transferred so that you don’t end up with a large bill. You may have an option to monitor the data on the mobile network account page.
Smartphones and tablets also have built-in data traffic log. In the case of laptops, you can use third party tools to monitor your data usage. Generally, mobile networks won’t accept third-party software.
Updates can take away most of your megabytes
Make sure that your laptop or mobile does not start an update. Hold off downloading until you get home or Wi-Fi. There may be occasions that you will discover that your laptop has downloaded a huge patch in the background and all you know is that you have run out of data.
Look up for deals
A lot of international travel SIM cards offer great deals that you can benefit a lot. You will add a significant saving over your regular price if you find the right deal for you. Some offer unlimited access to a number of destinations. Others offer discounts and bundles that will save a lot of money for you.