How to Keep Wifi/Cell Service When Traveling Abroad
Finalizing Your Travel Preparations
You have the airline tickets, the hotel reservations, and your perfectly packed suitcases – how exciting it is to head out on an international adventure! It seems like you’ve thought of everything down to the last detail, all except for one final thing. How are you going to stay connected while traveling abroad? Luckily, these days it has never been easier to have wifi and cell technology at your fingertips even when you are in an entirely different country or time zone. Read on to learn some of the best ways to stay online while on vacation!
1. Determine Your Current Coverage
To begin, try dialing up your current cellular or wifi provider and speaking directly to a customer service representative. You could try to look online, but when it comes to detailed coverage questions, it’s a good practice to get a person on the phone to clarify all your plan details. Ask them what type of international coverage you currently have and if there are any types of temporary supplementary plans you could use during your travels. Often times they have great suggestions and tips for using your current device and plan while you’re on the road, and it can be a great place to start.
2. Get Yourself a Hotspot
One of the easiest ways to connect to wifi while you are traveling is by picking up a portable wifi hotspot before you leave. This can be a small portable device you buy designed especially for transferring wifi to your other devices, or in some cases, your existing phone, tablet, or computer can act as a hotspot. Simply connect your hotspot to the available wifi – in your hotel, at the cafe, or wherever you are that has a connection – and then you can use that to make wifi calls on your telephone, check emails on your tablet, or even stream something fun on your laptop. Hotspots are slick, affordable, and easy-to-use devices that help you stay connected abroad.
3. Download an International App
Another great method to stay connected while you’re on the go abroad is to download a couple of apps that make keeping in touch incredibly effortless. Some app ideas are:
- Whatsapp – This is one of the most popular apps on the planet because you can chat, call and video with anyone on the globe as long as you have wifi. You can take and send photos, videos, and voice clips as well – it really is a one-stop-shop for staying connected.
- A Voice Clip App – There are many of these available at your favorite app store, and it’s just a nice way to quickly record and send voice notes to your circle in case you don’t have the ability to make phone calls via your cellular network.
- Social Network Sites – Keep everyone updated with one social blast here and there while you’re traveling. Once you’re connected it should be easy to keep posting your story!
4. Buy a “Burner” Phone and/or a Local SIM Card
One last idea to stay connected is to go totally “throwaway” and do as the locals do. Upon arrival, direct yourself to the nearest mobile phone shop – there will likely be options right in the airport. Depending on your budget, buy yourself a new or repurposed cell phone that is already ready to roll in that particular country. This way you will be able to easily make local calls as well as connect via the phone’s wifi to the internet. Simple, right? If you want to use your current mobile device, try buying a local SIM card and subbing it out for yours during your stay. This way, you won’t incur crazy roaming charges and return home to a surprise bill!
5. Take Advantage of Free Wifi
Just like in the United States, public spaces like cafes and restaurants in other countries tend to offer free wifi as a perk to their patrons. Use this time to upload all the great images you have taken and make plans for your day’s activities. Unlike most hotels in the United States, many hotels in Europe will offer free wifi so make sure to research wherever you are staying before you leave to see if they offer free internet access.
One More Travel Tip…
The best kind of travel is with a carefree happy heart — so it’s important to take care of these types of technological details before you depart on your vacay, rather than worry about it when you’re stranded in a foreign country without a signal. Find an option or two from our list that will work for your budget and itinerary, and then set off on your adventure knowing you’ll be connected. A final reminder before you hit the road or the airport: Don’t forget to have lots of fun!