There’s no denying we’re living in a 24/7 digital era, and even on holiday today many people want, or need, to check their email, call home, or post photos and images to social media platforms about how great their hotel or cruise is. Everyone these days with a smart phone, a tablet or a laptop, but getting online, or making phone calls away from home can become expensive. So how can you do it without it breaking the bank? The first thing is to check global roaming options with your phone, and if it’s prohibitive, unlock your it instead and consider getting a pre-paid international sim before you travel, or a sim at your destination with a combination of data and phone calls. If you need to make a lot of calls, use an app such as Skype, Viber or GV Phone along with a wi-fi connection or your data. If you have an iPhone you’ll already have some built-in apps you can use to stay in touch; FaceTime will allow you to call another iDevice for a video or audio chat, and it will let you iMessage other iDevices as well. If you’re trying to connect to a non-Apple device, however, you can use Skype for calling and WhatsApp for sending messages.
If you’re more of an occasional digital user on holiday, make use of free hotspots at your destination for checking email or make calls using an app. Depending on where you are travelling, you should find plenty of cafes, bars, restaurants and even laundrettes offering free Wi-Fi in return for buying something (or doing a wash). In some cities you’ll find there are free public hotspots in sightseeing areas, shopping malls, cruise ship terminals, and at the airport, and in Australia if you are a Telstra customer you can connect to the Telstra Air network in a variety of public places. Consider downloading an app for your destination (if one exists) which will tell you where the closest hotspots are located. And although hotels are notorious for high fees to use the internet in your room, charging anything by the hour to 24-hour blocks of time, most will offer free connections in the lobby or bar bar area. Just keep in mind that public internet is not always safe, so be sure to change passwords frequently and don’t access any sensitive accounts from these connections such as your banking or credit card accounts.