How To Stay Connected While Traveling


When traveling, it is always good to be in contact with friends and family so that someone always has a general idea about where you are and what you are doing.  So, the question is: Are you as connected as you could be or should be while traveling?

Some people don’t realize how much technology has changed.  It used to be that once you leave home, your cell phone service gets either spotty or expensive because of roaming on third party towers or expensive fees. Now, Wi-Fi, extended internet and mobile/data plans have really expanded users’ service areas.  Apps like Skype, Google Hangouts, and Vonage have made staying connected very affordable while traveling across America and in foreign countries. Knowing how to access available resources can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars over a period of time.

Staying Connected: How to Find Out What’s Available

  1. Call your service provider.  The first thing we suggest is to call your cell phone company and internet service provider to see what they may offer in extended, away-from-home services.  Depending on your provider, they may offer reduced rates or additional services to make your travel more convenient.  Some cable and internet services may provide access to ‘hot spots’ as an additional courtesy to your home service.  Cell phone companies might offer you the convenience of unlocking your phone to use additional SIMs while out of your service area.  In any case, it won’t hurt to ask.
  2. Search Online for Apps & Programs. Other than the apps I mentioned above like Skype and Google Hangouts, there are services that you can purchase either on a Per Use or Monthly plan that will give you access to cell tower or satellite access, like HughesNet or other similar products.
  3. Call Your Destination Hotel or Vacation Spot. Calling ahead to your destination location can help you plan what you will do to stay connected.  If the hotel or lodge indicates that they have free Wi-Fi or internet, that could possibly save you a lot of money and headaches.  Ask them what cellular services are active in their area and also find out what other travelers are doing to stay connected.
  4. Contact Your Airport, Airline and Cruise Ship. Taking the time to find out what’s available in route to your destination before leaving, can also make you feel more comfortable about your travel.  Often airports and cruise ships have Wi-Fi available.  You may even be able to pay for access as part of your travel package.  Paying for it in advance as part of your package deal will alleviate stress and fear of overspending while on the actual vacation.  If driving, check with your car rental company.  More and more frequently, agencies are offering vehicles with connectivity built into the vehicle.  Safety should always come first, but the convenience can’t be beat!

The bottom line is, anything you can do in advance of leaving to go on vacation will make the trip that much more enjoyable.  Don’t forget to check for tickets and travel specials!