After saving for what seems like forever, you are finally planning a big trip abroad with your family. While you are excited to see and experience some of the world outside of your home, you also know that you have to stay in touch with many people during your holiday. From your house and pet sitter and friends and family to yes, that good ol’ boss of yours who might have a work-related question, you definitely need to find ways to be connected while away.
Fortunately, with some pre-planning, it’s very possible to stay connected while abroad, all while not breaking the holiday budget. Check out the following affordable suggestions:
Upgrade to an Inexpensive and Fully-featured Smartphone
Some smartphones work great internationally, and others are a bit more challenging to use. If you have had your current phone for some time, you might want to consider purchasing a new one prior to your trip. Head to a local retailer like T-Mobile and check out their selection of budget-friendly models; for example, the Galaxy J3 Prime is currently available for $6 a month. But don’t let the low price fool you — the J3 Prime does most of the same things a much pricier phone can do, including a large 5-inch HD display, a 5 MP rear facing camera with auto focus and 4G LTE speeds. To set up international roaming voice and text settings, swipe down the Status bar and tap Settings. Scroll and tap Mobile Networks, tap Network Mode and then Automatic and then Data Roaming. Then tap Roaming Network, Automatic and under the International prompt, turn the Voice switch on. If you are unsure of any of these steps, you can contact T-Mobile at any time and a friendly customer service rep can advise you.
Consider a SIM Card
As Traveller notes, another frugal way to keep in touch when traveling abroad is through the help of a prepaid SIM card called TravelSIM. Other options are one called ekit by Lonely Planet or RoamingSIM. There are a number of advantages to using a SIM card; for example, you can still use your regular smartphone as usual, and it will work in 140 different countries. Also, because you purchase the SIM card in Australia before leaving home, you won’t have to worry about buying a new local SIM card and number at each of your destinations. The TravelSIM and other inexpensive SIM cards also do not charge for incoming calls. In general, you can save up to 75 percent on calls home to Australia using one of these SIM cards, and in the case of the TravelSIM, incoming calls will not cost you anything.
Turn Your Phone Into a Wi-Fi Hotspot
If you are concerned about wireless connections, the TEP company offers a pocket-sized global Wi-Fi hotspot called a Teppy that can help you connect up to five devices during your trip. The battery lasts for about 8 hours or 20 on standby, and it will work in a number of countries. If you are traveling to a number of places in Europe, the European Teppy can help you stay connected; there are also Teppies for South America, Asia and other travel destinations. The Teppy will ensure that no matter where you holiday is taking you, you can still use your tablet, smartphone, laptop or other device to reach friends and family back home. The Teppy works by using SIM technology to determine which country it is in and choosing the best network operator for you.