As tempting as it can be to travel in an old-school style with paper maps and phrasebooks, this outdated approach often creates problems. From being lost and unable to communicate to finding yourself in potentially unsafe situations, travelling with modern tech is a must for modern travellers for many reasons. It can also add significant cost to your plans, however, and if you’re backpacking or just trying to take your budget further, these extra costs can be a problem.
With that in mind, we’ve created this article to cover some of the problems we’ve experienced while trying to save money and to protect against the missteps we’ve seen others fall into too. Keep these in mind, and you’ll be poised for a trip that’s safer, less stressful, and as much fun as possible.
The Data Problem
The cornerstone of many of the problems that you’ll face with tech travel costs often come down to data prices. The roaming costs in your at-home mobile plans will tend to be extremely high, so to save money, a tourist SIM card will be your best bet. These can usually be found at international airports, but the prices can vary significantly depending on the plan and country.
In a place like Thailand, for example, tourist pre-paid SIM cards can be cheap and come with lots of high-speed data. On using the main allotment, plans usually switch to infinite lower-speed connections that can still offer all the speed to cover the basics. In Korea, on the other hand, costs per gigabyte can be much more expensive to attain the same sort of coverage. So, how do you manage your use?
Firstly, for most users, unlimited data at lower speeds can be more useful and cheaper than limited data at higher speeds. You’re on holiday, so chances are you won’t be using your phone to transfer huge files. Even if you want to upload social media posts to the cloud, this can work just fine on lower speeds, or by waiting until you’re back in a hotel to use their free Wi-Fi network.
For most faster internet plans, users often won’t benefit from higher speeds. Most entertainment options, be they video streaming or online casino gaming, can be done with minimal-moderate speeds.
For example, websites like Party Casino and Casumo will be just as easy to use at 5 Mbps as they will be at 50 Mbps. This even applies to the best live casino games, which tend to be the more demanding of casino games, but still require little data.
Whether collecting bonuses when browsing like free spins and deposit bonuses or streaming live blackjack dealers while out and about, the threshold for good-quality and useable speeds is lower than ISP advertisers like users to think.
You can also save money on data by checking for plans on limited data which offer unlimited data use on social media apps like Facebook and Instagram. These can save you tens of gigabytes over a trip, which can be extremely helpful if you’re uploading high-def images and videos from cameras well suited for travel. Additionally, some software like mapping apps can be downloaded for free-wifi to be used when out and about, to prevent the use of mobile data. Google Maps offers this option in many countries, and dedicated apps like Sygic are built around the offline navigation concept.
Charge and Protection
The other side of the mobile travel cost equation comes from reliability and protection. A drained or damaged phone can take a simple and stress-free trip and turn it into an expensive nightmare. To prevent these issues, you need to be able to maintain charge and keep your phone protected.
We all know battery banks are incredibly useful, but many of us aren’t aware of just how poorly the cheapest models can perform. Having personally experienced cheap banks that charge a phone a quarter while draining the entire bank, it’s important to view a good battery bank as an investment. Check reviews, and remember that there are limits to the biggest power bank you can take on a plane (27000mAh or 100Wh).
When it comes to protecting your phone, the first point of defence will be a sturdy case to protect it from both drops and water damage. While nothing is completely impregnable to shock or water, investing in a shield, even if it looks ugly, can save on stress and heartbreak. Also remember to keep your phone in a zipped pocket, to reduce the risk of accidental drops or pickpocket theft, and the inevitable costs that would follow.
When everything goes perfectly on a trip, all of the above suggestions might be unnecessary. Ask anyone who’s experienced mobile complications on a trip, however, and they’ll swear by taking a careful approach. A cavalier attitude with mobiles will not only cost more, but it can also result in ruining a trip you might have been thinking of for months or years. Plan, play it safe, and you’ll be better able to ensure your memories of your adventure are positive ones.