A reliable internet connection is critical for remote based professionals working on the go, especially digital nomads who work while traveling overseas.
Roaming data plans on your phone can be expensive, and you probably don’t want to keep hitting up the Starbucks or the McDonalds to get online. You do have other options when it comes to your internet connection.
1. International Mobile Hotspots
International mobile hotspot companies have formed deals with 4G wireless carriers all over the world. This allows you to move between networks without having to switch your SIM cards or get a new local mobile phone plan all the time.
For some services, you only pay a flat fee for your wireless access in every area they have service. Other companies have individual rates for every country. Because of this, you may sometimes be paying more for this than you would have for a local SIM card. Still, the advantage of choosing international mobile hotspots is that you don’t have to go through the inconvenience of finding somewhere to buy a local SIM card. With this method, you can easily transition from one carrier to another and have internet access the moment your plane lands.
Another option is to carry a hotspot during your travels and only activate it for short periods of time when you need it. After having settled in your new country, you can then switch to a local plan that is cheaper.
Skyroam offers unlimited wifi anywhere in the world. Up to five gadgets can be connected at once, and it all costs as little as $9 per day. Take a look at other top mobile hotspots to keep connected while traveling abroad.
2. International Mobile Phone Plan
You can find international SIM cards intended for global travel. While these are not as cheap as local SIM cards, if you travel to different areas often it may be a better choice because you get to keep the same phone number no matter where you are.
If you have a Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel, Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Android One Moto X4, Moto G6, LG G7 ThinQ, or LG G35 ThinQ, you can use Google Fi, the international mobile phone plan created by Google.
Transitioning between coverage networks is easy and Google Fi has over four million hotspots around the world. You don’t even need to worry about changing your number, as you can port your number to Google Fi if you want to. You only pay for the data you use up to 6GB, so when you are connected to wifi you aren’t paying for it.
This option lets you tether your phone to your other devices and share your internet connection. To turn your phone into a personal hotspot, open your Settings, select Personal Hotspot, and turn it on. Your other devices can connect to your broadcasted hotspot via wifi or bluetooth.
3. Pre-Paid Local SIM Cards with Data
If your phone is unlocked, you can visit a local provider and pick up a new SIM card for your phone. If you plan on staying in one location for a long time, this is a great option because you will have access to the local network and data.
There will be no long-distance or roaming charges because you are on a local network. You also get much better coverage for service and data when you use a local plan. Because of this, it’s easier for you to use your mobile phone for tethering. Many local plans are much more affordable than relying on your roaming data.
Using a local SIM card will change your phone number, so if you give out your number but travel often this may not be a wise choice.
4. Find local Wifi by using apps
Whenever possible, you want to connect to local wifi so that you aren’t using your data. Some locations have free wifi in a few coffee shops, while others will allow you to connect to their public wifi as you stroll the streets. To find local connections there are a few different apps you can use. WiFiMap, WifiMapper, and Instabridge are popular apps that can show you all of the local wifi connections near you.
While some of the connections are free, some may require a password. Many of these apps are community-based, where other users will have shared passwords so that you can connect to the more secure networks. Though these apps may not be available in every area, they can help you to cut down on data usage during your travels.
5. Stay at accommodation with reliable wifi connection
The easiest way to maintain a reliable internet connection is to find a hotel, coliving, or apartment that has a good wifi connection. This gives you an internet connection any time you are at “home” so you won’t need to worry about searching for wifi or paying for a large amount of data from tethering. Most booking sites will allow you to filter your search to include places that offer wifi. Before confirming your booking, search for reviews of the hotel you’ve chosen to make sure the wifi connection will actually be strong and reliable.
Not everywhere you stay will have a strong and steady wifi connection, and you will likely need to also use at least one of the other internet connection options mentioned. Still, filtering your searches to include wifi can help make working from your new location a little easier.
Stay connected by researching ahead and having a backup option
Being aware of where you can find wifi can help you immensely while travelling, and selecting accommodation that has wifi will get you started in your new destination. For areas where the wifi is weak, you could purchase a local or international data plan, or connect via hotspot. It’s important to do your research into which option is the most affordable in your current location, as prices on local plans will vary greatly.
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