Traveling may be far off for some people as fear makes most hunker down during the COVID pandemic. Even as restrictions start to ease domestically, most international destinations are still keeping their borders locked to foreigners and could keep those policies up for a long time.
Given that you vagabonds likely have some downtime, there’s no better opportunity to start strategizing how to make your future travels more fruitful. One of the biggest skills that you can start to hone at this moment is the art of picking up internet while traveling.
It can be tricky to find a reliable, safe (or any) connection while on the road, particularly internationally. Several tips can help you score internet access though, some of which we break down below.
1.Pick up a Range Booster
The further your mobile devices can reach out to find a WIFI connection, the easier time you’re going to have picking up internet while traveling. To help with that, if your primary work/entertainment device is a laptop, we recommend purchasing a range booster.
Range boosters allow your computer to reach out much further than an internal WIFI chip would. These devices plug into a USB slot (preferably a USB 3.0 slot) and do incredible work!
The best part is that they’re extraordinarily cheap.
2. Upgrade Your Data Plan
Depending on who your wireless carrier is and which countries they provide signals in, getting internet while traveling might be as easy as calling customer support and making sure your data plan is sitting in a tier that will give you international internet access.
Most mobile carriers offer international 3g/4g on their networks or their international partner’s networks. Some providers like T-Mobile even offer international access for free in most countries.
3. Purchase an International SIM Card
If your domestic cellphone carrier isn’t willing to play nice when it comes to getting affordable, international internet access, you’re not out of luck. You can simply pop out your phone’s SIM Card and put in one that’s built to function in the country you’re visiting.
Note that this trick only works with GSM cellphones as CDMA phones do not use SIM cards.
4. Hop on Your Hotel’s WIFI
This getting internet while traveling tip might seem obvious but in case you hadn’t thought of it, here it is – Most hotels, even ones abroad, have some sort of WIFI connection they share with guests. An increasing amount of these establishments offer their WIFI access for free.
The downside here is that WIFI can be painfully slow and unreliable in some countries. Be prepared to move around your hotel room to find that “sweet spot” or even to do your work down in the lobby where signals may be stronger.
5. Grab a Bite to Eat
An increasing amount of dining rooms in places around the world are trying to attract vagabonds to grab a bite to eat by offering free WIFI. If you’re on the road and in a pinch for internet, give one of these places a try!
Simply ask the host/hostess if their restaurant has WIFI and if they do, request the password after you’ve been seated.
6. Bring a Dedicated Mobile Hotspot
Dedicated mobile hotspots are becoming increasingly antiquated as most people use their cellphones as a hotspot today. If for whatever reason you’d prefer not to do that (usually because of prohibitive data rates) there are dedicated hotspots that are about the size of a small external hard drive that you can pull internet from.
These devices are much like cellphones in that the pull 3g/4g data from their network provider and then pass that information to your devices for a monthly or metered rate.
7. Jack in If Possible
For those of you that are lucky enough to have a hotel that has wired internet options, take advantage. Wired internet is always going to be more reliable when on the road (or even when at home) than wireless.
Many times you’ll see Ethernet jacks in hotel rooms that you can’t use because the hotel doesn’t provide cords so do yourself a favor and bring one along just in case.
8. Plugging in Can Help Too
A piece of technology that’s well-powered is a piece of technology that’s going to pull WIFI more reliably. So, if you can, plug your mobile device into a charger when you’re internet browsing.
For laptops particularly, you’ll notice a positive connectivity difference.
9. Consider a VPN
Anytime you’re hopping on public WIFI networks, you run the risk of having your data intercepted and stolen. To prevent your important information from falling into the wrong hands, download browser plugins for Internet Explorer for Mac, Firefox for Windows, or whatever else you use to redirect your traffic.
These VPN (virtual private network) plugins are cheap and can save you from hackers. Quality VPNs require a monthly subscription.
10. Have an Offline Contingency Plan in Place
No matter how many tricks you implement, sometimes getting internet while traveling can prove to be impossible. For those rainy days, make sure you have an offline contingency plan in place.
That plan might include letting people you work with know you may occasionally get stuck offline or downloading important documents/media to your local machine.
We Hope Our Picking up Internet While Traveling Tips Make Your Adventures Easier
While being on the road shouldn’t be about being plugged into the internet, having internet while traveling certainly can be helpful when exploring, particularly if you have work obligations.
We hope our tips make your next adventure easier and we welcome you to pick up more excellent tips on our blog by consuming additional content!