Nowadays, it is more and more common to use smartphones, tablets and computers when you travel abroad.
However, our calling plans are not suitable for it. Thus, material expenses can be added to our monthly bills if we want to call or use data from abroad.
Before going on a trip to Europe, you should definitely explore all the different solutions you have to stay connected during your stay, according to your needs and budget.
Keep your home data plan
You can stay connected in Europe by using your home data plan, however, additional costs will be added to your monthly subscription (called roaming fees).
Abroad, data rates for a standard package are on average 200 times higher than the usual connection charges. If you plan to consume a lot of data, it would be more appropriate to anticipate a different solution.
Basic rates of roaming charges for US and Canadian network operators.
|Operator||Prices for 1GO||More informations here|
|AT&T (USA)||2050 $US||http://soc.att.com/1DWY1kB|
|print (USA)||100 $US||http://sprint.co/29THVC1|
|T mobile (USA)||15360 $US||http://t-mo.co/29uFGks|
|Verizon (USA)||2050 $US||http://vz.to/1KXECV1|
|Telus (Canada)||5120 $CA||http://bit.ly/29THDLi|
|Bell (Canada)||8192 $CA||http://bit.ly/1yKScqO|
|Rogers (Canada)||512 $CA||http://roge.rs/1TVpVSm|
Buy a Sim card
If you are planning a long trip and have important phone needs in addition of Internet needs, it can be interesting to buy a SIM card from a local operator.
For this, you first have to check that you will be able to use your phone in Europe. Two problems can happen: 4G/3G European frequencies are not compatible with your phone and your phone is not locked by your operator. You will need to contact your operator and ask them to unlock your phone, or you can go to a computer/phone store and request some help.
To purchase a Sim card, the only thing you have to do is to find a phone store when you reach your destination. Price is usually reasonable, around 15 to 40 Euros for a week. However, be sure to select a SIM card with a data plan if you want to use internet access.
Moreover, some recent smartphones have micro or nano Sim card size, so you need to make sure to buy a card with the right size.
With this new Sim card, you will get a new phone number, this means that you will be able to make internals phone calls, sending text messages and connect to Internet. Be sure to save all your data on you phone and nothing on the Simcard (especially pictures and phone numbers).
Last point: you have to check if your mobile phone is compatible with 4G/3G European frequencies, otherwise you will not be able to use Internet on your Smartphone. Standard frequencies in Europe are 800MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz, 2600MHz.
Advantage: Advantage: This solution is relevant if you plan to stand for long period at your place of destination, and that you need a phone number. This is a low-priced solution which will avoiding you to pay roaming fees.
Disadvantages: The Sim card plans will don’t have a huge amount of GB for internet access, and it is necessary to change Sim card in every country you will visit.
Enjoy Free Wi-fi
If you are traveling for a short time but still want to use your smartphone, you can find some Free wifi hotspots around you.
Overall, your accommodation will probably have a wifi access (more or less effective). Outside, you should consult in advance the list of public wifi hotspots in the city you will visit. You can also benefit of café and restaurants to connect, however be careful, wifi are often slow and can sometimes be limited in time.
Advantages: This solution is free and therefore very useful for small budgets.
Disadvantages: : Free wifi has usually a low speed, so you will need to be patient when you will try to load a page. And as it’s free, it’s hard to complaint about it!
Rent a Pocket wifi
If you can’t leave without wifi during your travel, you can definitely think about pocket WiFi rental. These tiny mobile hotspots provide a wifi network at 10 meters around them and you can connect up to 10 devices at the same time. Perfect for group travels!
Just put it in your pocket or in your bag and you will stay connected everywhere.
You can rent a pocket wifi online and pick it up directly at your accommodation place (apartment, hotel, hostel…), at the airport or at a pick up store. It’s also possible to receive it at home before your departure.
Thus, for just few euros per day, you will have a safe, unlimited and high-speed connection.
phone number with this option, so you will have to do everything online. However now, more and more calls services and instant messaging apps exist online, such as Whatsapp, Viber, Skype, Snapchat, allowing you to communicate when you want from anywhere in the world.
Advantages : This solution is relevant if you travel with someone else, or if you need to be connected during the whole trip. The speed connection is perfect to download files or watching videos.
Disadvantages : The cost of the rental (which can be split if you travel in group)
Therefore, more and more possibilities come to you to stay connected during your trip in Europe, and no need to pay astronomical amounts anymore for it! These solutions are affordable and make your travel easier, allowing you also to stay in touch with all your loved ones and keep them informed of your trip.