How to stay connected while travelling without breaking your bank account?

Staying connected to the World Wide Web while travelling is an essential element for me. It allows me to manage my trip efficiently, spending less time and money on it. Whether it is to communicate with my relatives on WhatsApp or with you on Instagram, to book hotels on Booking, to navigate on Maps, to follow my expenses or to work on the blog, it is out of the question for me to rely exclusively on the Wi-Fi of hotels or cafes (with the often random quality of connections) to access the internet.

Connecting to mobile data and Wi-Fi

Concretely, permanently, I have an unlimited subscription to Free Mobile for less than 20€/month. For the adventurer that I am, this is the basis; there is no need to procrastinate. When I look at the price, the volume of data, the number of countries included in the package, I see nothing comparable with the competition. I’m speaking for my use: I spend more time abroad than in mu country of origin, and I rarely use traditional calls and SMS (since I use WhatsApp).

Then, there are two scenarios:

  • The country of destination is included in the Free Mobile package: no worries, I continue to use my smartphone like at home with 25GB of data in 3G. To date, the plan includes Europe, French Overseas Departments, the United States, Canada, Australia and Israel. Some countries* such as Turkey and recently Thailand are included but only on the data part! (Not calls or SMS). I’ll let you go and check the official and up to date free news.
  • The country is not included in the package: once there, I take a local prepaid SIM card with gigas on it! Usually, I do a little research to find the operator with the best network coverage (often the country’s incumbent operator) and have an idea of the prices. Check https://www.simoptions.com for more about prepaid SIM cards.

Here is a list of the operators I used in 2017 in countries not included in the free plan. Each time, I bought the SIM cards at the airport in the official shops of the operators (or what looks like it…we don’t always know, hence the importance of asking about prices beforehand) with data quantities between 5 and 30 GB:

  • Thailand: Truemove by spending 11€ for 1 month (from now on, the data part is included in the Free package)
  • Vietnam: Viettel (no English version of the site but I’ll put it to you anyway) spending 21€ for 2 months.
  • Malaysia: Hotlink spending 17€ for 1 month.
  • Indonesia: Telkomsel by spending 13€ for 1 month.
  • Cambodia: Metphone by spending 20€ for 1 month.

Tips about mobile data

If you don’t know how much gigabyte you need, go to the “settings/data consumption” section on Android or “settings/cellular data” on Iphone, to get an idea of what you are consuming in data.

Another tip on mobile data: before leaving a country, for example when boarding a plane, deactivate roaming (data roaming) and only reactivate it when you’ve arrived at your destination and the country is included in your subscription. This will prevent you from going off-rate on data by mistake. More info: Android and IOS

A useful app: I regularly use Wifi Map (Available on Android and IOS). This app allows you to find free hotspots around the world.