How to Get Online Abroad Without Breaking the Bank

How to Get Online Abroad Without Breaking the Bank

The last thing you want to do when holidaying away in some exotic location is worry about money. After all, the hard-earned cash that you make during your working hours is made for spending on the finer things in life. Having said that, we believe that this should involve splashing out on exquisite cuisine, unforgettable trips and delightful keepsakes. It should not be frittered away on internet connection fees and extortionate phone call charges.

However, that’s exactly what happens to many unsuspecting vacationers, who take the easy option of enabling their phone’s data roaming capabilities while abroad. This might be convenient – but it should be avoided by anyone who wants to spend their money on the things that really matter. Fortunately, there are a variety of alternatives available, regardless of your destination. From Wi-Fi networks in the Caribbean to Pocket Wi-Fi in the Middle East to buying a local SIM in the Seychelles to acquiring an eSIM for the United States, there’s bound to be an option that suits you.

In this article, we’ll explain why data roaming is inadvisable when travelling abroad, as well as delve into the various other options which can help you stay connected during your luxury break – without breaking the bank by doing so.

Roaming regrets

Chances are that the first thing you’ll notice when you touch down in your destination of choice is a message on your cell phone from your network, welcoming you to the country and informing you of the ease with which you can still access the internet. While that convenience is certainly appealing, you should remember that you’ll be logging on to the web on their terms – which are invariably expensive in the extreme.

That’s because data roaming functions via an agreement between the network you use in your home country and the one with which you wish to connect in your destination country. There are various overheads and processing fees involved in making this accord function properly, while both networks will undoubtedly impose their own markup on the final price, too. As a result, data roaming can end up costing you several times your normal bill.

An array of alternatives

Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be like this. Data roaming might be the most immediately obvious way of staying connected abroad, but it’s certainly not the only way to skin this particular cat. In essence, there are four main alternatives available to you: connecting to free public Wi-Fi networks; carrying around a Pocket Wi-Fi device to generate your own; buying a local SIM card or taking advantage of the latest development in the industry, the ingenious eSIM. Below, we’ll cover each one in more detail.

  • Public Wi-Fi. This is definitely the cheapest option, though not the most convenient or secure. Public Wi-Fi networks are widespread these days, especially in luxury resort settings. Hotels, restaurants, museums and galleries are all seldom without them, while even city centers and parks often offer them gratis on occasion. However, they’re not ubiquitous, are prone to dropping away unexpectedly and can be easily infiltrated, manipulated and imitated by cyber criminals.
  • Pocket Wi-Fi. One way to circumnavigate the intermittency and insecurity of public Wi-Fi is to substitute it for private Wi-Fi. A Pocket Wi-Fi device is a small, lightweight contraption that can be easily carried around and activated at will to transmit a signal to all internet-enabled devices in the vicinity. Multiple connections can be made at once and it doesn’t require connection to mains electricity, though the battery life can be limited, the networks are similarly vulnerable to failure and the price per data consumed can be high.
  • Local SIM. Upon arrival in most airports worldwide, there are stalls or shops selling local SIM cards that can be placed in your device and activated to connect you to the regional network. Failing that, stores selling the same are easily found in cities and towns almost everywhere. The upside of this option is connection a local network, but the downside is the fiddly nature of installation, the difficulties of activation, the chance of losing your original SIM and the hassle that the entire process entails.
  • Prepaid eSIM. The most advanced option on this list, eSIM cards are ideal for international getaways. Already integrated into the latest releases of an array of cell phones, smartwatches and other devices, an eSIM card can handle up to 10 different profiles (i.e., cell numbers) and be remotely activated simply by scanning a QR code. And when using a reputable service provider such as Holafly, there are a variety of prepaid data plans spanning a range of time periods to choose from, with partner networks in over 160 destinations. Affordable, reliable and accessible.

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, there are a plethora of options available to you when logging on to the internet away from home. Which one you choose will depend on your plans and your preferences, but the game-changing arrival of the eSIM is an attractive alternative to roaming for most people.