Do you dream of traveling to far off places and experiencing new cultures? You’re definitely not alone! No matter where your dreams take you—the vineyards of France or the pristine beaches of Tahiti—there are what feels like a million and two details to sort out before you can get to the enjoyment and adventure. Even if you’re traveling for business and have someone else handling many of the travel arrangements, there is still a lot to do outside of the travel and sleep accommodations. Whether you’re going for work or for fun, our deeply connected society means that internet connectivity and cell phone usage are a couple of the biggest concerns for anyone going out of the country. Here’s what you should keep in mind about staying connected while on your trip abroad.
When you’re traveling abroad, especially those trips that are for fun, it might feel like an internet connection and cell service aren’t actually necessary. After all, you want to go and really immerse yourself in the experience, and what better way to do that than put down the phone and actually participate in your trip? We’re certainly not denying that putting your phone away and actually experiencing your trip will make for a richer and more enjoyable experience. But stop and think for a moment about what your go-to response is to getting lost? And how do you typically keep track of all the contact information and travel arrangements you’ve made? If you are like so many of us, a smartphone is more than a phone, it’s a phone book, map, day planner, encyclopedia, and so much more—sized neatly to fit in a pocket or purse. If your go-to answer for finding your way or keeping track of everything is to pull out your phone, well, traveling abroad might be a bit of a rude awakening. It’s easy to ignore just how often we whip out our phones to look up information until it’s too costly to do so.
Plan Ahead to Stay Connected
If you rely on your smartphone to keep track of anything and everything, you don’t need to go without while you travel. There are, of course, a few considerations to take into account if you want to keep access to the internet and while trying to keep to a budget. All of the major cell phone service providers offer an international calling and data plan; the question is, do you want to pay what they’re asking? Probably not, but that is one option.
A New SIM
A pretty low effort choice is to purchase a SIM card when you arrive at your destination. This can be a great option, as long as you check your phone’s compatibility with overseas requirements before you go. Then, stop off at a local cell phone provider and buy the SIM card. A pay-as-you-go plan makes this a decently low-cost option for making calls in country. However, do be aware that you will pay for the data you use each time you go online. In addition, any calls you make to another country will still qualify for international or roaming rates, so this isn’t the best option if you know you’ll be calling home frequently or getting online a lot.
A Second Phone
If your phone doesn’t allow you to swap out SIM cards, or your phone isn’t supported wherever you’re going, many cell phone stores in the bigger tourist destinations will carry inexpensive pay-as-you-go phone options. The downfall to this option is much the same as getting a new SIM card—paying based on the data you use and facing extra charges for overseas calls.
Internet Cafes, Etc.
If you think you aren’t going to need access to the internet that frequently, you can always stick to the standby option and visit a local internet cafe or, if you’re very lucky, scrounge up a local mobile hotspot to do the quick email check or whatever it is you need. While this is likely to be the least costly option, it’s also the least reliable. That stereotype of internet cafe computers being slower than molasses in the winter is, sadly, a pretty accurate one.
Make Your Own Hotspot
What none of the above options offer is a quality internet source. Sure, you can do a pay-as-you-go plan and access the internet as often as you need, but you will likely find that those internet minutes eat away at what you’ve purchased pretty quickly—and you still don’t get the benefit of less-expensive international calling rates. Instead of focusing on finding a better phone solution, focus on the internet. With a better internet option, you can turn your phone on airplane mode and rely on your wireless connection for calls and texting as well as everything you need to get online to do.
At Sapphire Mobile Hotspot, we’ve done just that. Our Sapphire overseas WiFi router is the size of a portable battery charger and allows you to create a mobile hotspot anywhere you need. We created this portable internet device with our country’s military in mind, so they can access the internet and stay in touch with their loved ones while deployed. Now, anyone can enjoy this technology wherever your travels take you. Our virtual SIM card technology allows you to access the internet at local rates, so you don’t have to worry about roaming costs or an international data plan. Simply turn on your travel WiFi hotspot device, connect your phone or tablet, and select the best plan based on the area you’re visiting and enjoy internet anywhere. Shop Sapphire Mobile Hotspot online and grab your Sapphire overseas WiFi router today to make your travels easier, no matter where you end up!