‘No man is an island’ – wrote John Donne in the early 17th century.
Little did he know the phrase would acquire the status of law in the 21st century. The internet has reduced the world to a neighbourhood and has brought everyone online. However, for the traveller, exploring the hot desert of Sahara or the cold desert of Ladakh, scaling the Swiss Alps or relaxing in the beaches of Seychelles bring in unparalleled experiences. And to soak it all in, he must travel.
However, it is not always possible to stay connected at all times, especially when we travel. This article aims to make it easier for the nomophobic wanderer to stay close to his family and friends back home as he traverses the international grounds.
- Wireless internet on the road
Clean water, fresh air, healthcare facilities, Instagram and Netflix are some of the necessities for life today. It is unimaginable to lose internet connectivity these days. Our smartphones and laptops help us in connecting to the WiFi in the most distant countries. But at times one may face issues such as poor WiFi network in our accommodations. A travel router is just the device we need to boost the signal from an existing WiFi network to better speeds.
Often in our hotel rooms, we get patchy internet speeds in different places. Using software such as Netspot (for Mac) and Heatmapper (for Windows) would enable us to map out the best places to use our laptop. A few feet could make a big difference between smooth and slow wireless internet connectivity. Once these spots are identified, a WiFi Range Extender can be used for a good internet speed across the room.
- International SIM cards
SIM cards are very important, whether one is in his own country or abroad. Be it contacting our loved ones, booking an Uber ride or making a transaction using our debit cards, we need a working SIM card in our phones. There are two choices- either to activate international roaming in our existing SIM card or to opt for a local SIM card in the new country.
Activating international roaming can be a very costly affair. Often flight tickets to nearby international destinations turn out to be cheaper than international roaming plans! The steep prices do not guarantee the validity of the same in all countries. However, they are available for most common destinations. It is advisable to contact one’s service provider before opting for it.
Local SIM cards are on the other hand, inexpensive. We can buy one right after immigration at the airport. In some countries, the presence of several Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) such as Lyca, Straight Talk, Ting etc. makes SIM cards and plans cheaper. Things to keep in mind while buying a SIM card- data volume and speed, network coverage and suitable plans. (Do not forget to keep your home SIM safely once you have got a new one!)
There are 13 types of plugs (coded alphabetically from A to M) for connecting electronic devices across the world! And the supply voltage could range from 110V to 240V. A universal travel adapter helps us use our devices in this variety of sockets. However, we cannot use some of our electronics universally due to possible voltage differences. This is when a convertor comes to our rescue by changing the electric power going into our devices. Universal travel adapters or Adapter and Converters are must-haves for every traveller.
Several countries have already switched to 5G technology. Having a 5G enabled smartphone would add to the experience. With these tips at hand, one wouldn’t have to sit in a Starbucks for their free WiFi instead of travelling and building new memories.