Innovative improvements in technology mean fast internet connections no longer require a physical wired connection. Mobile technologies and broadband have transformed the travel industry and revolutionised travellers’ experiences. But how do mobile devices and broadband impact travellers’ behaviour and where do you find cheap broadband deals?
Searching for Wi-Fi on the ferry from Stockholm by Timo Newton-Symes
Changing Travel Behaviour
Today’s travellers are more connected than before. Many are using fast internet connections for activities such as planning travel itineraries, making travel bookings, buying travel insurance and keeping in touch with home. These mobile devices include not only mobile phones but also laptops and tablets.
Travellers are using travel apps for their entire trip, such as booking holidays, checking in for flights and booking ancillary services. Combining mobile broadband with technologies like GPS enable travellers to search locations and find tailored walking routes. Travellers who subscribe to mobile broadband can use their devices in remote areas like a forest as long as there is a mobile signal.
By connecting to Wi-Fi, those exploring the globe can surf the web free anytime and anywhere, such as in a train, hotel, café and retail locations. Some airports have complementary Wi-Fi service for travellers. Major cities around the world are also becoming more connected. Taipei, Florence, Paris, New York and Perth are named in The Telegraph’s list of the world’s Wi-Fi-friendliest cities.
Finding the Best Mobile Broadband Deals
The best deals will depend on how you plan to use mobile broadband while travelling. Data speed, data allowance, cost per minute for voice calls, cost-per-megabyte and duration of the plan are some important things to consider. Faster speed and higher usage limits mean higher cost. The choice also depends on how long you will be in the country.
International roaming means your device will use the network of a provider in your destination country with which your provider has a roaming agreement. The costs of some mobile broadband services abroad are very high. To keep costs low, you should switch off data roaming and use Wi-Fi, turn off automatic app updates and don’t download movies, music and attachments.
If you decide to use data roaming, it’s possible to reduce cost by purchasing an affordable global data roaming bundle. I’ve used Vodafone Euro Traveller, where I pay £3 a day to use my UK package in most European countries. Buying a local pay-as-you-go SIM card or dongle is another option. I did that when I was in Belgium, paying 15 Euro (around £12) for a 1GB data SIM. Thank goodness the staff in the store set up the SIM for me as it was a bit complicated on my old phone.
The current EU regulations require providers to cut off your data connection when you’ve used €50 of data in a month when roaming overseas. If you want to avoid running up a massive bill, remember to subscribe to this EU cut-off limit or arrange in advance to have a higher limit when signing up with a provider. Your provider will send you a warning when you hit your limit. A local SIM card is a cheaper option if you’ve to make calls to local numbers. Make sure your handset can be unlocked from your network.
Mobile devices and broadband are revolutionising each stage of the travel process, from planning the trip to writing reviews of the trip online.