How to Save On Data Charges While Traveling Abroad

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With the creation of social media, data usage has only gone up – apps, e-mail, more uploading of images and video, etc. all require us to use more data than we ever did before. While it provides an incredible way to share my travel adventures with family, friends and followers, it also increases the likelihood of exceeding my cell phone data limit. Even with an incredible cell phone provider, those overages can add up quickly while abroad so I’m always looking for ways to keep connected and save on data while traveling. Here are some tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way:

Pre-load Internet Pages

While traveling I’ll often pull up pages with information of the places I’ll be visiting that day. Most browsers have a “saved pages” or “bookmarks” section that’s handy while on the go. It allows you to save articles on your mobile device and read them offline. It’s awesome if you are traveling places with poor connections or just want to save data. Do this while you have a “free” wi-fi connection so you don’t have to use your cell data while out and about. Another similar cheat is to take screenshots of info you may need to look up later like itineraries, phone numbers and information on web pages.

Turn off Data Roaming/ Switch to Airplane Mode

This is my *least* favorite way of saving data. I hate turning off internet access but sometimes its necessary to catastrophic international roaming bills and this is a sure fire way to make sure nothing gets through unintentionally. Especially helpful if you tend to get a lot of text messages – these alone can really add up! Even though my service provider provides really great rates, it’s easy to go overboard with photo intensive apps like Instagram or Facebook.

Disable Updates and Notification

If you need to have your data on, turn off all automatic updates and push notifications. Those small updates can add up quickly. Also turn off your location services and be sure to also always close all apps so that nothing is running in the background, quietly sucking up data.

Turn off Automatic Cloud Storage

Many cloud storage programs like Dropbox automatically sync images taken with your phone. These can be easily overlooked because they often run in the background until we need them but uploading all of those images can be a huge data sucker.  There is a setting to choose only to upload while on Wi-Fi, make sure that option is checked before any international travel.

Take Advantage of Hotel Wi-Fi

Finding Wi-Fi abroad can be incredibly hit and miss (at best) or completely non-existent (at worst) depending on where you’re traveling. Even then, it comes at a premium at most hotels. Hotel Wi-Fi can also be slow – especially during peak times when a lot of people are trying to access the same network at the same time. While it’s not ideal, it’s often cheaper than data overages and if you belong to a hotel loyalty program, you can usually get these charges waived.

The problem with all of these solutions is that they’re not ideal. Yes, they will probably save you from overages but they will also have you scrimping, rationing and sharing in spurts.

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 2.52.36 PMIf having unlimited data where ever you are (hiking, on a beach, on a bus) for a flat daily rate sounds like a good solution to you, then you’ll want to check out XCom Global, a mobile wireless data rental service that allows you to rent a device and unlimited data access with broad worldwide coverage at rates substantially below standard international data roaming charges – without any long-term contracts.

With XCom Global’s mobile hotspot you can connect up to 10 devices wherever you go, sharing one secure hotspot with your entire traveling party! Just choose your country, length of rental and you’re good to go.

macau beach punta cana

On a recent trip to the Dominican Republic, I had the luxury of having free, blazing fast Wi-Fi at our resort. Thing is, once I stepped foot off property, I was completely disconnected. My husband wanted to spend a few days surfing at a local spot about 30 minutes away. With XCom Global, I was able to bring the internet with me, to a basically deserted beach and get work done on my laptop, while taking shots on my internet connected camera as well as share via social media on my phones!

Thank you to XCom Global for providing a complimentary rental for purposes of this post. All opinions remain my own.

29 thoughts on “How to Save On Data Charges While Traveling Abroad”

  1. Great tips, we are planning a trip and that is one thing I was thinking about. Do you buy a phone out of the country, I am clueless!


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