Staying connected while traveling has never been easier because of widespread mobile network access and therefore the abundance of Wi-Fi hotspots and internet cafes. But if you’re planning on relying upon internet connectivity as you roam the planet, it pays to try to do some research into the prices and options for getting online abroad.
Mobile roaming costs
Using a smartphone or mobile broadband device in another country is a simple thanks to staying connected without purchasing new hardware or a specialist service. However, it’s crucial to see the value of roaming on international networks beforehand.
Inside the EU internet access is currently capped at your home price plus a maximum of €0.05, with roaming charges scheduled to be eliminated entirely in 2017. Mobile providers must also cap spending at €50 (though this will be raised if requested) to avoid the danger of returning home to an enormous unexpected bill.
This makes using the web in many popular destinations relatively inexpensive, though there’s a possible spanner within the works. It’s currently unknown what impact Brexit goes to possess on roaming fees in Europe. Keen travelers will get to keep an in-depth eye on things because it unfolds over subsequent few years.
Outside the EU it’s a touch more complicated. apart from the special deals offered by some networks in specific countries (see below), there’s no universal pricing standard for the remainder of the planet. Unfortunately, this suggests it varies wildly and may be very costly – sometimes the maximum amount as several pounds per MB. this is often why you ought to always check the value of roaming before setting off.
Alternatives to mobile roaming
While it is often convenient to use your own device and SIM for accessing the web abroad, it’s not always the simplest solution. It might be very expensive, the local network (or your own provider/package) might not support roaming, and there might not be any signal in the least.
Wi-Fi hotspots or public internet terminals are found everywhere on the planet in hotels, bars, restaurants, and lots of other locations, and they’re often free. this will save tons of cash, and public internet points are common enough that it shouldn’t be inconvenient unless you actually need access in the least times. However, don’t neglect your security. Never use public computers to access private services like email and online banking, and always use a VPN when connected to public Wi-Fi hotspots.
If an area mobile network is out there but roaming isn’t an option, consider learning a SIM from an area provider to require advantage of their pricing. this is often ideal for frequent travel or future visits, also like anyone who might get to use tons of knowledge on more demanding tasks like large file transfers. an alternative choice for heavy users is the specialist roaming providers like WorldSIM and Tep Wireless which give international access at a reduced cost.
5 tips for saving money on internet access abroad
However you select to access the web when traveling, here are some tips which will help economize and make the foremost of a limited data bundle.
1. Monitor your usage
Keep an in-depth eye on the quantity of knowledge being transferred so you don’t inadvertently rack up an outsized bill or burn through your data allowance on a primary day. Ideally, you’ll be ready to view data stats on the mobile network account page. this is often the foremost accurate record and therefore the one that a provider will pass when billing you.
Alternatively, smartphones and tablets usually have an inbuilt data traffic log, while for laptops you’ll download numerous third-party tools to watch usage. But mobile networks will generally not accept third-party software as proof if you employ more data than expected, so treat this as a rough guide only.
2. Look out for roaming deals
Many mobile networks have deals for roaming which may add up to a big saving over the regular price. this might be a bundle of knowledge for international use or a network feature like Three Mobile’s “Feel at Home” which applies domestic pricing in selected destinations. Frequent travelers should pay special attention to extras like this when buying a replacement mobile deal.
3. Put a cap on it
Capping mobile charges before traveling can prevent bill shock afterward. Within the EU mobile bills are capped at €50 by default, but the network also will be ready to apply the cap to other regions and adjust the limit for the asking.
4. Disable data roaming
Check that mobile device are set to disable data access when abroad to avoid accidentally connecting once you don’t need internet.
5. Cancel updates
Software updates are important, but hold off downloading those big patches until you get home (or are connected to the free hotel Wi-Fi…). Be especially careful if you’re employing a laptop, as you’ll not discover that an enormous download started within the background until you’ve run out of knowledge.
How much data do popular apps consume?
With all this talk about minimizing how much data an app uses, it might be useful to know just how data-hungry different apps are. Here is some estimated data use for our favorite apps.
Web browsing – 50-70MB per hour.
YouTube – Between 300MB (SD) to 750MB (HD) per hour
Facetime – around 195MB per hour for a video call.
Facebook – 80MB per hour for general use or up to 200MB for video.
Snapchat – Up to 175MB per hour.
Instagram – Up to 750MB per hour.
Netflix – Between 250MB (SD) to 3GB (HD) per hour.
Spotify – Around 150MB per hour, 2MB per track on Normal, 3.5MB per track High.
Google Maps – Around 2.2MB per hour.
The general rule of thumb here is if you’re traveling within the EU, data roaming should be included within your normal allowance. If you’re traveling outside the EU, check with your provider. Finally, make sure your phone is set to roam before you leave by checking with your provider!