Travelling doesn’t mean you need to shut yourself off from the world. You may even find that you cannot disconnect while traveling — business calls, your dog-sitter may have an emergency, or you simply want to keep in touch with family and friends while away. Additionally, being connected while traveling can enhance your trip by providing a sense of safety and security. Without any connection, you may not be able to reach help when you need it the most!
The following tips will help you stay connected to home and the outside world when you are traveling.
1. Find a reliable internet connection
For the most part, the modern world is wired for internet connectivity and you’ll be able to find internet connections in your hotel or at least a nearby café. Some countries offer free or paid public WiFi which can mimic having your phone’s regular data network even when you’re in airplane mode. Do your research on your destination’s WiFi options to ensure you’ll have proper access.
2. Get an International calling plan or calling card
Avoid that unexpected bill you receive for turning on your roaming in another country. International roaming fees can be steep so know the calling and data options that are available before using roaming next time you travel.
Most networks offer international data and calling plans with their cellular plans. These can be a great addition to your domestic plan if they cover the countries you travel to and fit your budget.
However, sometimes these plans can be pricy, especially if you only travel a few times a year. If this is the case, then an international calling card may be a better option. Travel cards are prepaid SIM cards with set minute rates. However, make sure your phone is able to accept a SIM that’s not on your main network before choosing this option.
3. Use calling and messaging apps (like Skype or WhatsApp)
If you choose not to use an international data plan or calling card, you may lose functionality of calling or messaging on your phone. You’ll probably still want to be able to communicate and there are apps that allow you to do this without a phone at all. All you need to use these apps is a WiFi-enabled device. Some internationally popular and widely-used apps are Skype and WhatsApp. Skype has messaging, voice calling, and video calling features, and WhatsApp is a popular messaging app with users all over the world.
Other social networking services such as Facebook are improving their messaging capabilities, adding voice and video calling. This innovation the need for you to download travel-specific apps to keep in touch (and require your friends and family to download the same apps just to chat with you).
4. Send a post-card
If all of these connectivity solutions are not possible, or if you simply want to do a digital detox but still want to send your mom something to let her know you’re thinking of her, postcards are the tried and true way to go!
It’s normal to have a spotty or bad connection while traveling but if you are experiencing weak signal at home you have a serious problem on your hands. You are already paying your internet provider a lot of every month for service and having dead zones & buffering is unacceptable.