Whether we are travelling on business or for pleasure, most of us either need to or want to stay connected with our smartphones, tablets or laptops. However, this can often come at a price depending on which country you are travelling to.
The journey of course begins before you have even left the country, at the airport. The majority of airports these days offer free Wi-Fi throughout the airport terminals, whereas not so long ago you only had connectivity in the airline lounges. Wondering through any airport these days, you will see laptops open, headphones on and smartphones and tablets being scrolled through. It would seem we just can’t leave our gadgets alone!
Whilst most hotels offer complimentary Wi-Fi to their guests, some still charge for the privilege and not all Airbnb’s will necessarily be connected. So, depending on where you are staying it will be prudent to ensure you have a reliable and cost-effective package with your mobile provider back home, so that you’re not unexpectedly presented with a huge mobile phone bill on your return. I am sure many of us have heard stories from friends or colleagues who have come back to find a bill from their provider for a couple of hundred pounds or more! Not the best way to remember your holiday.
One of the ways to ensure that you are not landed with a large bill at the end of your trip or holiday, is to purchase a SIM only deal through your provider. By doing this you will know exactly what your charges are going to be and that there will be no big surprises.
There are plenty of options to choose from, with monthly SIM only deals starting from just £5 a month, which includes 1GB data, 500 minutes and unlimited texts on a rolling monthly contract basis. On the other hand, if you are willing to sign up for 12 months, you can pay from just £6 per month, which will give you 500MB of data, unlimited minutes and texts with Vodafone or pay £8 a month and get 3GB of data on top of unlimited minutes and texts. For £6 per month Sky will give you 1GB of data and unlimited minutes and texts. If you need more data, Plusnet are offering 1.5GB of data along with unlimited minutes and texts for £6.50 per month or pay an extra £1 a month and get 2GB of data. These are just a handful of examples of what is currently available at the time of putting this article together.
Most SIM only plans will work abroad but it varies from provider to provider, so do check before you sign up for any new deal and ask them what you will be charged, as each country can vary depending on the provider’s roaming policy.
So, whether you are travelling around the UK, Europe, the United States or to the other side of the world, with a little bit of research and asking the right questions, you can ensure that you stay connected on your travels at a reasonable price and avoid coming home to be greeted by an astronomical mobile phone bill.
Simon Burrell is Editor-in-Chief of Our Man On The Ground, a member of The British Guild of Travel Writers and professional photographer.