Wifi and internet when travelling: how to stay connected?

Having access to the internet has undoubtedly become indispensable for a traveller, and the option is not often obvious when travelling. As free wifi points are limited and restricted in some places, a permanent internet connection can potentially ruin a traveller’s wallet. Staying connected during a trip without charging exorbitant fees requires the application of special solutions that guarantee a secure connection that can be shared with several users.

Pocket Wi-Fi: the elegant solution

Pocket wifi is an essential accessory if internet access is a must for working or sharing content during a trip abroad. Renting this small router from different operators includes a connection to unlimited 3G or 4 G signals delivering a high-speed connection, and offers the possibility to connect up to 5 devices simultaneously. The box can be easily transported and is more cost-effective than buying a SIM card. Deliveries are flexible with an option for home or hotel delivery abroad.

The battery lasts for an average of 24 hours with the router running, but it is recommended to recharge the device every night. Rental is still expensive for long trips, however, and a subscription to a local operator may be the best solution to stay connected to the Internet while travelling.

Taking advantage of roaming functionality

Roaming or international roaming allows you to use an operator’s SIM card with a local network at no extra charge. Roaming is ideal if the traveller has a large amount of data on his mobile package. Consumers will be able to make calls, send messages and access the internet when travelling abroad and will also be able to operate in areas with little coverage. Roaming charges will disappear completely in 2017 within the EU as long as the user does not exceed his or her package.

However, the conditions for using this feature will need to be checked with the operator before travelling. The service remains free of charge for a period of 3 months in the absence of abusive use and to connect one’s computer through roaming, all one needs to do is activate the “connection sharing” feature on the phone to turn it into a real internet access point.

Opportunistic solutions

Travellers who feel able to do without the internet temporarily can still take advantage of the free wifi points. Cities contain a significant number of free access points through various services such as libraries, caf├ęs, shopping centres or fast-food restaurants. The hotel where the traveller is likely to stay during his/her stay will also provide an internet connection, but free points are highly limited and deliver significantly lower performance than a private connection.

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