Are you heading off for a holiday to Spain this year? Spain is a very tourist-friendly country and there are many beautiful places to explore and share with your family and friends back home. Before you embark on your journey, though, have you figured out how you’re going to access the internet and stay connected with folks back home?
It’s not unheard of for people to pay hundreds or even upwards of a thousand dollars for surfing the internet in Europe through their regular SIM card with international roaming. You may think these people may have streamed movies or downloaded a large number of apps, but most claim to have done nothing more than download a few files and access their email once in a while.
Your smartphone will eat up a massive amount of data if you aren’t careful. So how do you avoid breaking the bank and still stay connected as you normally do? Here are some easy-to-follow ways that can keep your roaming charges down:
Use Free Wi-Fi
One of the easiest ways to keep your data usage in check is using Wi-Fi whenever you can. You will probably get access to free Wi-Fi at your hotel, at cafes or in other public places. If you need to download movies, songs, apps or if you need to Skype with someone, do so through Wi-Fi whenever possible. Of course, you can’t use Wi-Fi when you’re traveling, but it’s still the best way to surf the internet.
Buy a Local SIM Card
A lot of tourists prefer to buy a local SIM card when they’re in Spain. That way, they get charged the same rate for data as the locals. Some phones have to be unlocked before they accept new SIM cards, though, so check your phone before you do this. Unlocking isn’t difficult, but it may void your phone’s warranty. You have the option of buying a pre-paid SIM card – so you only have to pay for the data you use.
Turn Off Roaming
If you’re on a vacation, we’re sure you can survive without being available all the time – be selectively available. You should think twice before using your smartphone – many people have shared horror stories about the massive international roaming charges they’ve racked up while traveling abroad. Turn off roaming altogether and you won’t have to worry about roaming charges.
There are several apps that use data even when you’re not using them. To see which apps are guilty of this, go to data usage settings on your device. If you don’t use an app a lot but the phone shows that it’s still using data, we recommend you uninstall it. You can always re-install it when you get back home.
Instead of using your device’s native browser for surfing the net, use a data-compression browser like Opera Mini. Opera Mini will compress incoming and outgoing data without compromising on the browsing experience. It’s also faster than most browsers, so there’s not reason not to use it. You can also take a look at data saving apps like Onavo Extend for Android to keep your data usage down. The app is also available on iOS.
Sign up for a Roaming Package/Data Bundle
Check if your telecom operator offers a roaming data bundle in Europe. Some operators will give you a large discount if you sign up for a roaming package beforehand. Not all operators will offer such plans, of course. And sometimes the savings aren’t a lot, so maybe you are better off with the other methods.
Use a Mi-Fi Device
Finally, you can buy a Mi-Fi device to access the net. Mi-Fi devices will let you surf the net on 5 devices simultaneously, so they are the best option if you have a lot of gadgets or a group of people with you. You need a SIM card to use a Mi-Fi device, as they access the local data network for internet access. They are portable and have a rechargeable battery. Instead of buying one, you could also rent one that comes with a SIM card (cheaper) at alldayinternetspain.com.
Some operators will keep you apprised of the roaming data you consume, but, of course, we don’t think you should rely on these reports. Instead, follow as many of these tips as you can and, hopefully, you will be able to avoid a shocker in form a massive bill at the end of the trip.
Use these tips to ensure you make the most of your trip to Spain; be it the Bullfighting in Seville or the bustling nightlife of Madrid. Buen Viaje!