Many of us have a hard time even thinking about “switching-off” while abroad, being forever connected to our Smartphones where we can easily check out email every half hour, update Twitter accounts and tell the world where we are on Foursquare. The internet is just natural, right? Not necessarily. Here’s your How-to guide to staying connected while travelling.
Although the EU cracked down on mobile service providers recently making them cap their mobile fees for travellers in the EU, it can get pretty costly as soon as you leave that buffer zone. The internet may seem undeniably natural to have as the tips of your fingers to access your flight information, get the number of your hotel or search for a nearby restaurant or shop, it’s not always easy (or cheap!) to find a signal.
Call-rates are anything but attractive to make and receive calls from the UK while abroad. Many mobile phone providers offer global packages, designed specifically for those travelling abroad and who plan to use their mobile while on holidays. Call in advance and see what yours offers. Some plans can save you up to 80% on calls.
A savvy traveller will vouch for an alternative, Skype. If you receive a call on your mobile, keep it short, tell the person on other end of the line that you can call them back. Find a Wi-Fi hotspot and log into Skype. You can dial out from there.
The app is available for Android, iPhone OS, Blackberry OS and Windows Mobile. Calls will cost 1.2p/min to reach landlines or another mobile. Super cheap right? Buy £10 credit before you leave and keep your eye open for Wi-Fi while on the go.
Another option is to rent or buy a cheap mobile phone once landing. Get a local SIM card and just pay for what you need, no extras. You can even do this from the airport, since many have mobile and electronic shops right there.
When looking for accommodations, search for hotels that offer free wireless internet connections to guests so that you can easily connect to Skype without racking up roaming charges. It may seem old-fashioned now, but international calling cards aren’t such a bad way to reach home cheaply. Ask you hotel in advance before using their phone, they may charge you for dialling a toll-free number!
Don’t forget an international power adapter for your charger and a clean memory card for taking quick photos and videos.
How do you stay connected?
Img: carbonnyc / flickr cc