As someone who wants to stay online while traveling abroad, be connected to my family and friends and get updated with the current on-dits as I explore the world, it is almost a requirement that I get fast and seamless Internet connection whenever and wherever I travel.
But first things first. Why do I want to stay wirelessly connected whenever I leave the country? Isn’t one of the reasons why people fly out is to escape and relax?
Reasons to stay online while traveling abroad:
- Research while on the road. Because I am a very spontaneous person who doesn’t have an itinerary when I travel, I just wake up every morning and plan each day as it comes. Therefore, an Internet connection is needed.
- Online maps and routes for a directionally challenged me.
- Hostel reservations and ticket bookings.
- Communication with family and friends
- Photo uploads on social media sites and online messengers
- Blog updates
So with all these reasons why I want to stay online while traveling abroad, you may now wonder how I managed to be present online as I explored my 12 new countries last 2016. Well, let me share you my strategies.
HOW I STAY ONLINE WHEN TRAVELING ABROAD
This tops my list of how I stay online while traveling abroad. May it be in my hotel, hostel, Couchsurfing host’s homes, restaurants, cafés, or museums, I simply ask for the WiFi password and get wirelessly connected for free. However, aside from varying connection speed and the complex way to register in non-English speaking countries, accessing free WiFi is not available everywhere for everyone. When I was having a tuktuk ride in Siem Reap, Cambodia to explore the Angkor Wat complex, just where can I access free WiFi?
Sometimes, seeking and accessing free Wi-Fi network can be such a pain especially when I was on the road. Therefore there were moments when I needed to rely on my roaming plan.
I used this twice or thrice in my entire lifetime and I will try to avoid it as much as possible. Let’s admit it – roaming fees are exorbitantly expensive, so I only use my mobile data when roaming where I cannot have any other option of getting online and I have a very urgent matter to attend to. I don’t want to spend a mini fortune, but sometimes roaming can only be the possible option.
For Filipinos, a one-day roaming fee costs around PHP 550 pesos or around USD 11. Not only it is expensive, but using my mobile data while traveling eats a lot of battery, so I have to charge my Samsung Galaxy S6 at least twice a day when I go roaming.
LOCAL SIM CARDS
So if I want to stay online while traveling abroad even when I step out of establishments offering free WiFi, my next plan is to purchase local sim cards. This strategy is actually perfect if you frequent the place or if you will be staying there for a relatively longer period of time. For example, there are those tourist sim cards with pre-loaded credits and mobile data packages good for a month to help you get by and beat roaming costs. Not only will you have Internet connection everywhere you go now, you can even contact locals or friends in the area with your new number.
WI-FI TRAVEL ROUTER
If you’re traveling as a family or a small group of friends, it would be practical to either get just ONE local sim card or roaming plan with unlimited data for all of you. You can then share Internet and later divide the total costs with everyone. However, both options present one huge problem – roaming or frequent use of mobile data can easily deplete a smartphone’s battery, resulting to frequent need to charge. My solution? Wireless router.
Last December, I did my second Indochina trip for 2016 and went to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. Normally, I would buy sim cards in each country I would be and register to their tourist or monthly Internet promo to stay online. However, since I am doing a tri-country backpacking trip, it will be too costly for me to buy three sim cards. Relying on free WiFi connectivity is tricky and getting a roaming plan is out of the question.
For the first time, I tried using a wireless router for my international trip. Flytpack, a new overseas Wi-Fi rental service company in the Philippines, offers affordable and fixed daily rates depending on your destination in Asia, Europe, and North America for as low as PHP180 (USD 4).
HOW TO AVAIL OF FLYTPACK’S TRAVEL WI-FI ROUTER RENTAL SERVICE
First, availing of Flytpack’s rental service is fairly easy. Simply go to their website and follow the easy instruction in there. Just remember to have your reservation at least 5 working days before your flight because they will be configuring your router and deliver it to your home (if you opt for the home pick up service). So convenient!
In my experience, I opt for the office pick-up as it is just near and accessible to me to go to SM Aura. I got my router on the same day of my flight because I was so busy with the last-minute preparations for my trip and was not able to go to the office earlier.
So what does a Flytpack router kit include?
- Carry case
- Universal charger
- Data cable
Experience while using Flytpack in IndoChina
It really proved to be a good travel buddy as I did my backpacking trip in IndoChina. It is very user-friendly. As soon as I landed at HCMC airport, I turned on the router, opened the WiFi setting of my phone, connected to the SSID, used the password indicated on the back of the router, and voila! I was instantly connected. It is very convenient to use. Hassle-free!
When my phone ran out of battery from taking photos, I simply charged it on my Flytpack travel Wi-Fi router. It acts as a powerbank as well! Not only that, but I never had to recharge my router more than once per day. There was even some times when I can use it for two full days.
As for the Internet itself, I never had any connection problem during my travel in Ho Chi Minh, Phnom Penh, Bangkok and Kanchanaburi, Thailand. I just had an unstable connection in Siem Reap, but I think it is understandable because even my fellow traveler’s sim card did not have any reception in the area. Overall, I was satisfied with the speed and availability of the network connection.
When I traveled with some people during my trip, I shared my Flytpack’s sign-in info and we connected our phones, tablets, and laptops to it. Flytpack can connect 5-8 devices simultaneously!
Think of this: If you are two or more friends traveling together, will you buy individual sim cards to stay connected? Why not just invest on a Flytpack plan instead and connect all your Wi-Fi-enabled gadgets?
Being online while traveling abroad is an absolute must for me because of the reasons I have stated at the beginning of this post. As I continue to explore various ways to conveniently and affordably connect to the Internet, I found renting a travel Wi-Fi router the best option I had so far. With Flytpack travel Wi-Fi router, I was able to quickly connect online wherever I was without bothering to use free Wi-Fi services from establishments that have complicated set-ups and written in languages I could not understand. With Flytpack, I enjoyed seamless and unlimited connection without spending a fortune. I definitely recommend this to everyone who would be having his or her next overseas trip!
*This post is sponsored by Flytpack, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.