Life on the go is all about staying in the know. Has my flight changed? What’s the address of the hotel? Is the cronut a real thing? These are life’s great travel questions and to demand answers, we need connectivity. Paying out the wazoo for connectivity is a thing of the past, thanks to these innovative options for travelers on the move…
A Few Tips To Use Less Data Abroad…
- Download maps, shows and documents in advance of your travels. Google Maps allows you to download areas offline, so you can search city maps without an internet connection. Netflix and many other streaming services allow you to download content to watch offline as well, which can be great on long flights.
- Disable autoplay of videos in Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This will greatly reduce the amount of data you may not even have intended to use- and may even make your social media browsing more pleasant ; )
- Turn off auto update for apps and services. Many phones automatically update any apps and services (without asking), which means you can get hit for huge data usage without even knowing it.
- Seek Free Wifi because it’s easier than ever. Many cities (and countries) are developing strong wifi signals to blanket entire cities. Those gems aside, you can often find great wifi in local cafes, Starbucks, hotel lobbies and restaurants. Try to maximize your browsing in these places.
The Best Mobile Plans For U.S. Based Travelers…
Google Project Fi- Project Fi is Google’s revolutionary cell phone service. You can use your data and texts as if you are at home in 135+ countries. A single line is $35 per month for unlimited talk and text plus $10 per gigabyte of data. The data is the same wherever you are- so long as you’re in one of the 135 countries. We switched to this plan and have not looked back. Plus- if you get the Google Pixel, all your photos are backed up to the cloud for free, with unlimited use.
T-Mobile One- T-Mobile’s “One” plan offers virtually the same usage benefits for travelers as Google Project Fi. The plan generally runs $70 per month and includes unlimited talk, text and data. Like Project Fi, the data can be used in 140 countries worldwide, though generally at 2G and 3G speeds, making this an excellent choice for those who wish to use their phone abroad without worry.
Verdict: If you use more than 5GB of data, T-Mobile One works out slightly cheaper. If however you often use less data, you may be able to save with Google Project Fi, while avoiding a contract (there is none) and paying as you go. As far as coverage abroad, they’re both fantastic.
The Best Mobile Plans For Travelers Elsewhere…
Three “Feel At Home” (UK)– Three offers an awesome “Feel At Home” plan, which allows users to use their data as if they’re at home in 60 destinations around the world including the United States, Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong, Brazil and many more. Any calls and texts to and from UK numbers will also be included, though texts and calls to non UK numbers will be billed- at very reasonable rates.
The options below are best if your mobile phone provider does not offer good data options abroad, unlike TMobile One, Google Project Fi or Three Wireless.
Know Roaming (Worldwide)- KnowRoaming has very handy options to use your data in 200 countries, using either a SIM card or SIM sticker. The company offers packages of $7.99 per day, which covers unlimited data in countless countries- as well as free Whatsapp data use. It’s a great option- since you have 15 months to use the credit you purchase and you’re only charged for days you use.
BMobile (Use in Japan)– BMobile offer an awesome prepaid SIM plan which gets visitors 5GB of lightning fast data for roughly $31USD. The SIM card lasts 21 days and additional top ups and or re ups can be purchased. The company is regarded as having the best coverage in Japan and visitors can pick up their SIM cards at the airport when landing in Tokyo and elsewhere.
Prepaid Sim Wikipedia- Our favorite rockstar Antonio Lulic let us in on his favorite resource for choosing SIM cards for data in different countries. There’s a handy wiki resource, which highlights the best rates and options for each destination. If you don’t have a great plan from your cellphone provider, and rely on prepaid SIM cards- this is the go to place.
The Best Wifi Hotspot + Airplane In-Flight Wifi Plans…
US Mobile- (available worldwide) offers unlimited airplane wifi on 23 airlines plus mobile hotspot use at countless locations around the world- for $10 per month. We’ve had fantastic success using the unlimited in flight wifi to our advantage on domestic and international flights. It’s also been excellent accessing countless wifi locations on the ground, in cities around the world. You can cancel at any time. Check it out here.
Boingo- Boingo offers a mobile hotspot plan, which allows up to three phones or tablets to connect to over 1,000,000 hotspots around the world for $9.99 per month. The service does not cover any on board, in-flight wifi, but has one of the largest airport and ground wifi networks on earth. The app has a tool to check wifi access in any city, making it easy to assess whether or not the plan is right for you.
Actually, Google Fi is even less expensive than noted: it’s $20 for unlimited talk and text on the first line, and $15 for additional lines, plus $10/GB data. https://fi.google.com/about/plan/
Why not rent a wifi dongle like tepwireless? International data roaming sounds nice, but you rely on local network provider which not always the best provider around…..
I live in Brazil and often visit the US. I got myself a FreedomPop SIM card. It uses the AT&T network and works just fine.
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