It’s Good to Talk
There are many things you need to remember when you head off travelling the globe – passport, visa, insurance, money, gadgets, clothes, you know the drill, however you also need to give thought to things that you can’t see too, such as the ways you’re going to stay in touch with your loved ones back home.
You can’t rely on wifi, because let’s face it, when you’re floating down the Amazon, you’re not really going to find a wifi hotspot, and you need a way of calling for help if you find yourself eyeball to eyeball with a crocodile.
Okay, so maybe that’s a slightly drastic example, but the theory is the same – you need a way of calling if you get stuck, a way of letting the folks know you’re in one piece, and a way of keeping in touch with those friends you meet on your travels, for meet ups etc.
But if you have no wifi, how can you do it?
We rely too much on the Internet these days, so when you’re travelling it’s always wise to have a back up option.
We know that using your home-based mobile phone (if on a contract) is mega-expensive when you’re not in your home country, so make sure you switch off your data roaming and cellular data when you leave, to avoid a shocking phone bill when you return. It’s always better to buy a cheap pay as you go phone, nothing fancy, just to use whilst you’re away. I had one for when I was out in Turkey for the summer, and it was literally a dinosaur of a phone, but it served its purpose, and I used my iPhone solely for connecting to wifi.
You can buy a SIM card before you leave and top up as you go, with many different companies offering ways to top up online, and cheap international calls, such as with Lebara. If you’re spending a considerable amount of time in one particular country however, I would personally get a SIM card for that country, register it, and top up whilst there. This is what I did when I was away, and I found this saved me the most money, and I had the best level of coverage too, which is probably the most important factor you need to look at. If you’re travelling around, then consider getting a SIM related to that country in each place you visit, use and discard.
However you choose to stay in touch, be it through Facebook, Twitter, Tango, Viber, Skype, or WhatsApp, always give yourself a non-wifi back up option, and head back to the dark ages, when we used to pick up the phone and dial!