In this post, I’ll be discussing the best ways to find reliable internet for travel, and how to get data abroad so that you can easily stay connected. Whether you’re a digital nomad, a backpacker, or simply on vacation, staying connected while abroad has never been more important. As a remote worker myself, there are … Read more The post 7 Easy Ways to Get Internet For Travel (Stay Connected Abroad) appeared first on Goats On The Road. In this post, I’ll be discussing the best ways to find reliable internet for travel, and how to get data abroad so that you can easily stay connected. Whether you’re a digital nomad, a backpacker, or simply on vacation, staying connected while abroad has never been more important. As a remote worker myself, there are very few things as frustrating as not being able to get decent internet access while traveling internationally. There are several ways to get internet on the road. From eSIMs (my personal favorite) to portable mobile hotspots and routers, to good old-fashioned free public WiFi networks, each of these methods has its own advantages and disadvantages. I spend most of the year traveling and working remotely and have tried and tested most of the options available. Within this blog, I’ll be sharing with you my thoughts, findings, and personal recommendations in this comprehensive guide on how to get internet away from home. How to Get Internet When Traveling There are various different ways to access the internet while traveling. The right one for you may depend on a few factors, such as the length of your trip, where in the world you will be traveling, and how much data you need. I’ve included details of each method in this guide to finding internet for travelers. 1. Get an eSIM (The Best Way to Get Internet For Travel) My number-one recommendation, and the method that I use most commonly to get internet access when traveling, is to buy an eSIM. I’ve used eSIMs in various countries worldwide and they’re great for all kinds of travel. An eSIM (short for embedded SIM) is a virtual SIM card that allows you to connect to the local mobile data network without needing to buy and insert an old-fashioned physical SIM card. Getting a local SIM card for each country you visit takes time, (a lot of time in some places), can be costly, and also means that you don’t have internet access from the moment that you arrive in the country until you are able to get everything set up. A far more convenient option is to use an eSIM with a company such as Holafly (Goats On The Road readers receive 5% off using this link). Holafly is an international eSIM provider that offers prepaid eSIMs in more than 160 destinations around the world and a variety of unlimited data plans. They also have fantastic reviews on Trustpilot and provide one of the best ways to get internet on the road. Using Holafly is infinitely more convenient than local eSIMs and you can set everything up in advance of traveling; meaning you have internet access from the second you touch down in your destination – no more trying to connect to patchy WiFi in the airport. Goats On The Road Experience with Holafly eSIM in Europe We recently flew from the Caribbean to Bulgaria, with 2 days spent in England to break up the journey. We easily activated our Holafly eSIMs for Europe the morning we flew out of Grenada. When we landed at London Gatwick Airport (while we were still on the runway), we simply switched on our eSIMs and were able to get online. Having data right away meant that we could search for the best transportation to get into the city center from the airport, and check the latest instructions from our Airbnb host. 5G coverage as soon as we landed with our Holafly eSIM in England During our quick stay in London, the eSIMs worked perfectly throughout the city with 4G or 5G coverage depending on where we were. A couple of weeks later, we flew from Bulgaria to Denmark. As with our experience in England, the eSIMs from Holafly activated as soon as we went into “Settings” on our phones and switched on the eSIM. Within a few seconds, we had 5G service, which continued throughout our 4-day stay in Copenhagen. The eSIM for Denmark also included a European phone number, which was great for calling to make restaurant reservations! As soon as we touched down in Copenhagen, we simply pressed “Turn On This Line” and had immediate 5G service Based on our personal experience, we highly recommend Holafly and will be using these eSIMs again for our upcoming trip to Greece. Click here to learn more and automatically receive 5% off your eSIM. How to Get an eSIM It’s quick and easy to get an eSIM from Holafly. First, head to Holafly and choose which country or region you will be traveling to and how long you’ll be there. For example, Holafly offers packages from 5 days to 90 days for traveling in Europe. Regional packages are super convenient if you’ll be visiting multiple countries on your trip (e.g. if you’re traveling around Europe). For some destinations, (including a number of countries in Southeast Asia and Europe), Holafly offers unlimited data plans. For others, you’ll need to choose how much data you require. 3 steps to activate the eSIM with Holafly Simply follow the instructions to purchase and activate the eSIM. You’ll receive a unique activation code that will allow you to activate your eSIM on your device. It’s all pretty straightforward. FYI: Most recent smartphone models are eSIM compatible, but click here for a helpful list of supported phones if you’re unsure. Cost of eSIMs The cost of buying an eSIM with Holafly varies depending on the country/region you’ll be visiting. If you’ll be away for an extended period of time, it’s usually more economical to buy a longer-term package (e.g. one month) rather than multiple shorter ones. For the countries where Holafly doesn’t offer unlimited data, you can sometimes choose to buy more or less data, depending on how much you think you’ll need. As you’d expect, 5 GB of data is usually cheaper than 10 GB, and so forth. For example, Holafly offers unlimited data packages for the UK. If you’ll be traveling there, you can buy a package for 5 days ($19 USD), 7 days, ($27), 15 days ($47), 20 days ($54), 30 days ($64), 60 days ($84), or 90 days ($99). If you’re heading to Australia, you need to buy a 30-day package and can choose between 10 GB of data ($34 USD) or 20 GB ($44). For those traveling around Asia, you can buy a 15-day 6 GB package ($44 USD) or a 30-day 10 GB package ($54), which works in at least 12 different countries in the region. eSIMs allow you to get online at the airport as soon as you arrive at a new destination Pros of Using an eSIM When Traveling Here are the main benefits of using an eSIM while traveling. I’m focusing on Holafly as that’s the one that we here at Goats On The Road use and recommend: It’s quick, simple, and convenient Available for 160 countries around the globe No need to buy, switch (and potentially lose) physical SIM cards Instant activation and easy setup process Unlimited data with Holafly (which is great for downloading, streaming, uploading, etc.) You can purchase the eSIM before arriving at your destination, meaning instant internet access when you land Access to local networks for reliable and fast internet Various flexible options for short-term and long-term travel Depending on the country/package, you’ll receive a local number, meaning you can make and receive local calls Depending on the country/package, you can use the eSIM as a hotspot for tethering your laptop or other devices 24/7 customer support Cons of Using an eSIM When Traveling There are, however, a few disadvantages to using an eSIM while traveling too: It requires a compatible, fairly modern phone with eSIM functionality (although, most phones have this) Limited availability in certain countries/regions Reliance on local network coverage, which can be patchy in some regions (as I discovered recently to my detriment while wild camping in a remote part of Scotland) Although affordable and the ease and convenience are worth the cost, eSIMs might not be the cheapest option for internet abroad Your phone needs to be unlocked for it to work with other networks 2. Roam With Your Mobile Provider Depending on your home mobile network provider, roaming can sometimes be a viable option. Roaming allows you to use your existing SIM card to connect to local networks wherever you are in the world; ensuring you have a continuous international internet connection. For example, if you have an American SIM and travel to France, your phone will no longer be able to connect to your usual home network. Instead, it will “roam”, which essentially means that it will connect to the local French mobile networks. This usually allows you to make calls, texts, and use mobile internet just like you can when you’re at home. However, you need to be careful here. Sometimes roaming is free, but it can also be extremely expensive. For example, I have a UK mobile network provider (SMARTY) that allows me by default to roam and make/receive calls and use mobile data anywhere in the EU for free (since Brexit, not all UK providers do this). It’s super handy when I’m traveling in Europe. However, whenever I travel anywhere else in the world, the fees with my provider are prohibitively high. In this case, I switch my roaming off and opt for one of the other methods described in this post (usually an eSIM – see above). Make sure you check the situation that applies to you (and double-check whether your roaming is on or off) before leaving traveling. Someone I know once received a bill of almost $1,000 because they forgot to turn off roaming when abroad. Please don’t make this mistake yourself! How to Roam With Your Mobile Provider All phones that I’m aware of allow you to switch roaming on or off fairly straightforwardly. On an iPhone, go to Settings > Mobile Data > [your primary SIM, if you have more than one] > Data Roaming, which you can toggle on or off. Most of the time you don’t need to contact your home network provider. But if in doubt, just Google “how to activate international roaming with [your home network]” and follow the steps listed. Cost of Roaming The cost of roaming can vary hugely depending on a number of different factors. These include your home country, your home network provider, the destination(s) you will be traveling to, how long you will be away, how much mobile data you need to use, and whether you need to also be able to make/receive calls and texts as well as use the internet. You’ll need to contact your local provider for specific details on costs. Some charge around $130 per month, while others are more like $100 – it really depends. Pros of Using Your Mobile Provider Here are the main benefits of using your home mobile provider to roam while traveling: It’s extremely easy – you usually don’t need to do anything other than switch roaming on in your phone’s settings No need for additional devices or services You keep your existing phone number Some network providers offer affordable or even free roaming options No need to unlock your phone Cons of Using Your Mobile Provider Here are a few disadvantages to using your home mobile provider to roam while traveling: The cost can be extremely high with certain mobile network providers (never roam without checking how much it will cost first) Depending on your network, roaming may also come with limits on data usage and speed throttling 3. Connect to Public WiFi Networks Connecting to public WiFi networks is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to access the internet while traveling. Today, you’ll find public WiFi networks in built-up areas in virtually every corner of the world; from trendy cafes in Melbourne to train stations in India. I’ve used public WiFi networks all over the world: sometimes it’s great, other times it’s shockingly unreliable – it all depends on the network in question. Most cafes and hotels offer free WiFi access for their customers. Most airports have free WiFi (handy for when you land in a new place), and an increasing number of cities have started providing free WiFi in public parks, squares, and other popular areas. In some places, you can also access additional public WiFi by being a paying customer of another service. For example, in the UK, if you are a BT Broadband or BT Mobile customer, you’re entitled to free access to the large number of BT WiFi hotspots located all across the country. How to Connect to Local WiFi on the Road Connecting to public WiFi networks is (or at least should be) very straightforward. Just switch on your device’s WiFi setting and search for available networks within your range. Some networks require you to enter a password, or register before you can use it. If you’re in a cafe or a hotel, ask a member of staff if you need to enter a password. Other networks offer easy open access and all you need to do is select the network and you’re all set. One thing that you should definitely do whenever connecting to public WiFi is to use a VPN. Public WiFi networks tend to be less secure than private ones (e.g. your home internet), but using a VPN encrypts your connection and hides any sensitive data to keep you safe while online. It’s especially crucial if you’re doing things like online banking using public WiFi. But, to be honest, these days I rarely ever connect to any shared WiFi network without using my VPN. I use NordVPN and highly recommend it whenever you’re using WiFi while traveling; internationally or at home. Cost of Connecting to WiFi Abroad Sometimes, you need to pay to access public WiFi (e.g. on flights), but free public WiFi is becoming increasingly common in most places. Of course, if you want to use a cafe’s WiFi, you’ll need to buy something from the cafe first (and try not to be one of those people who buys one small tea and then sits and rinses the cafe’s WiFi for hours without purchasing anything else). But even so, connecting to public WiFi networks is one of the cheapest ways to stay connected when traveling abroad. Pros of Connecting to WiFi When Traveling Here are the main benefits of connecting to public WiFi for international travel: It’s widely available in hotels, cafes, airports, and public spaces It’s often free Usually very easy to connect and get online You don’t need any additional software, hardware, or subscriptions Can help reduce the amount of mobile data you need to use (helpful if you don’t have an unlimited data roaming package) No need to unlock your phone Cons of Connecting to WiFi When Traveling There are a few disadvantages to connecting to public WiFi networks while traveling: Public WiFi networks can often be quite slow They can be a bit patchy and unreliable (some places are worse than others for this) They’re not available everywhere so you lose connectivity when you go out of range of the router Especially hard to find in more rural/remote areas Sometimes there are restrictions on the amount of data you can use, or on the length of time you can use it for Public networks tend to be less secure, increasing the risks of cybercrime (use a VPN to minimize these risks) Occasionally you need to enter your email address, leading to unwanted email subscriptions 4. Buy a Local SIM Card Buying a local SIM card is another great way to get online when traveling. This can be a particularly good option for people who have older phones that aren’t compatible with an eSIM. If you’re planning to stay in a particular country for an extended period, purchasing a local SIM card can be a practical solution. This option allows you to enjoy local rates and the convenience of a local phone number. It’s generally fairly straightforward, although can be time-consuming to deal with. How to Get a Local SIM Before getting a local SIM, you need to ensure that your phone is not “locked” to a certain network carrier. If you bought your phone through your network provider (e.g. on a 24-month pay-monthly contract), they may have locked it so that it only works on their network. In this case, you’d need to reach out to them and ask them to unlock the phone for you. The unlocking process varies from carrier to carrier, but a little Googling should give you all of the information you need to know. When you reach your destination, simply head to a local phone shop or mobile outlet and ask to buy a SIM card. Some airports I’ve been to have kiosks where you can buy prepaid local SIM cards, so it’s possible to get connected as soon as you arrive. The way to activate your new local SIM can vary according to the network. If you’re not sure how to do it, just ask the person you bought it from to show you. Cost of Local SIM Cards The cost of local SIMs varies around the world, but in general, they’re usually fairly cheap. For example, when I was living in Sri Lanka, I bought several 30-day, 50 GB data-only packages from Dialog (one of the country’s major network providers) for less than $10 USD. $10 per month for more internet than I could reasonably use is seriously cheap. The UK is another

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