Travelers, backpackers, tourists, researchers, and many others require access to the internet practically all the time. It helps us contact our loves ones and tell them that we’re fine. It also gives us a chance to check out what’s happening in the world and have fun browsing YouTube videos and playing online games. On the road, having internet access is not always possible. Sure you can use the Wi-Fi belonging to hotels and restaurants, but what do you do between the cities?
Mobile Hotspot Data
Check with your provider what the deals are regarding hotspots. Will they be able to set aside several GB of data for an affordable price? If so, what are the roaming charges like? Alternatively, you could try a different carrier just for your trip – there are a few of them that offer prepaid options and require no contract. This option can be somewhat pricey, but it does offer internet anywhere your provider has coverage. On the other hand, this turns your device into a receiver that other people can use as well, which means that you and your family can all have internet access.
Many RV enthusiasts opt for satellite internet. This is because it is more reliable that hotspot data, as it has bigger coverage. On the other hand, the price is way more than an average tourist or traveler can afford, so be careful. Is your work so important that you are willing to pay three digits a month just to stay online, provided everything goes well?
Hotels, restaurants, cafes, and many other places offer free Wi-Fi. There is a trick, though. You should not check any sensitive information for your own safety. So, don’t review your bank statements, purchase anything, log in on websites, and so on. The reason for this is that it is important to protect your data from those that might profit from it. Other than that, this option is perfect for the people that want to browse the internet for fun or check in with friends and family. It’s not optimal, but can be sufficient for those that use the internet for work.
Another downside is that you are locked in place while using it, meaning that you have to wait until you reach the next city or hotel before you can check-in. For the people that need to do their work literally on the road, this could be very frustrating.
If you are worried about the roaming charges and are looking for an affordable option, your best bet would be to use a local SIM card. Depending on how much time you plan to spend in a country, this could prove to be the best option, provided you go prepaid. Postpaid accounts usually require contracts, and there is no reason to buy a local SIM card at all if you are just passing through. However, if you plan on spending a few weeks or months, a SIM card with enough mobile data is more than enough for work and entertainments, and especially in an emergency.
Which Should I Get?
There is no one right answer to this. If you are spending more than a few weeks in a country, try the local SIM. If you are going to travel from one country to the next, especially with several people, buying a mobile hotspot might be the best option. Free Wi-Fi spots are good for spending less of your data, but the security on the network usually makes you extra careful with what you do online.