5 Things To Know When Shopping For Internet Options Before Traveling

BY TEAM JST

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Let’s be honest, relying on hotel Wi-Fi simply isn’t enough. For any modern traveler, looking for the best Internet and mobile connection is essential to life on the road. For posting on social media to checking emails, quick and easy broadband connection is crucial to keeping in touch with family and friends. But how does one settle on a good and affordable broadband deal?

Before you head out on your trip, here are five tips you need to know to choose the right Internet plan just for you!

1. Look For Portability

For many people, even navigating through various acronyms including: 3G, 4G or LTE, can be confusing. “Mobile broadband” essentially means wireless high-speed Internet that allows you to access tower signal networks through tech devices, such as on your smartphone, tablet, or portable modem. Since it’s different from the Wi-Fi provided by your Internet service provider, any traveler would prefer a broadband that is quick and portable.

You want Internet connection that isn’t limited to working in one place, unless you’re staying in an accommodation for a few months. Since mobile broadband works through mobile phone towers and broadcasting a signal back and forth, Internet service can be slow and unstable in rural areas. If you’re traveling to a metropolitan region, however, this problem will be less likely to occur.

2. It’s Simple!

Most carriers offer a prepaid plan that doesn’t require a contract and provides you with a specific amount of data rate paid before your trip begins. Often when you sign up for a mobile broadband plan, setup fees are relatively low or nothing at all. You don’t need to wait a long time for connection either, especially if you pick one up at the store, purchase online or order over the phone.

The benefit of using a mobile broadband is that you can access the Internet anywhere, anytime as long as there’s 3G or 4G coverage in the region. If you’re going to a remote destination, it’s best to consult with your carrier to ensure you can use your mobile broadband plan in your travel destination.

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3. Know How Much Data You’ll Need

Like everyone else, you’re probably frequently using the Internet while on the go even in your own country. From streaming podcasts on your way to work, to sharing your favorite videos. Signing up for a broadband service is a good time to figure out how heavy of an Internet user you are, so you’re not paying a ridiculous amount of bandwidth that ends up going to waste.

Before you leave for a trip, try to get a good sense of your daily mobile activities. If you’re limited to checking emails, Googling restaurant and hotel recommendations and posting on social media, then you won’t need more than 1-2 GB/month. However, if you’re a YouTube fanatic, or need Skype calls for work and you love to upload photos, you’ll probably need about 6-12 GB/month.

4. Know How Long You’ll Need The Plan For  

If you won’t be using your mobile broadband every single month, then a 30-day contract may be a better fit so you can change your plan from month to month. Since mobile broadband allowances can range from 500MB/month up to 200GB, going for a 30-day plan to begin with is a great option if you’re not sure how much you’ll be using mobile broadband.

Knowing how long you’ll need the plan for also depends on how long your trip is. Some companies will provide free equipment or more data for longer plans. Here are different options you can sift through. You can always start with a 30-day plan then sign up for a longer contract and a cheaper plan with enough allowance. 

5. Do You Need Extra Equipment?

Of course, none of these are deal breakers but personal preferences. Since equipment can also add up to be a chunk of change, it’s important to see if there is new equipment you want to buy. Some travelers will opt for a USB modem, or a laptop stick, which can be plugged into your computer to your mobile data service. This is great for travelers planning on using their mobile broadband service mostly as supplemental Wi-Fi.

Another popular product to buy is a “hotspot,” which allows you to connect multiple devices to the same mobile data service. This is a great option for family travelers since hotspots are easily portable and can connect different devices. Remember, the more users, the more data-heavy activities you’ll need. Also, if you want data only for your hotspot, then there are many carriers that provide data-only plans that is separate from smartphone mobile data plans.

With some proper research, you’ll be able to find the best broadband option for yourself! Have fun staying connected and happy travels!

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