It’s almost 9 pm and the sun is still burning here in Sweden. The kids across the lake are splashing about in the water, where they’ve been since early this morning. The long days of summer are one of the reasons I’ve traveled so far to be here. As a usually land-locked American, I’m thrilled at the chance to spend a week like the Swedes, relaxing in a lake cottage along a quiet stretch of water.
Nature and off-the-beaten-path locations do have their good points – but Internet connectivity isn’t one of them.
In remote locations like this, Internet access can be a problem. There is no onsite Wi-Fi connection and the nearest coffee house with free Wi-Fi is 40 minutes away.
Add to that that I’m in Europe – with an American cell phone service company. The cost of cell phone service here per minute with my American phone company is $1.29/minute, and $25 per 100 MB of data with a global plan. Those kinds of charges can add up quickly.
If your phone is unlocked, the solution is to purchase a local SIM card, which can provide phone service at a lower cost. But many people – like me – have a “locked” phone. This means that I can’t use any other SIM cards.
While I could do without the ability to call or receive calls via my cell phone, the thought of going without Internet access for weeks was too much.
What to do?
After a few moments of panic before my trip, I stumbled across a company called HolidayPhone. They offer roaming-free voice and data solutions for international travelers. They sell prepaid SIM cards which allow travelers to text and call home, check their GPS, upload photos to social media sites and even stream music and video without having to worry about the cost. Their prepaid SIM cards work in all unlocked devices. You can use your phone, your tablet or even a USB modem.
But that wouldn’t work for me – the person with a locked cell phone.
Fortunately, Holiday Phone offers a great solution for those who need Internet but have a locked phone –a mobile WiFi hotspot that doesn’t depend on your cell phone for service. You simply insert the Holiday Phone SIM card into their tiny hand-size router device, and you have an Internet WiFi hotspot for up to eight devices. The battery lasts for about five hours.
Costs start at 10 GB at 3G speed for USD$ 76.90, and the service can be used over a period of 30 days. If you don’t have a mobile router, you can get one (which you can keep) for an additional $117.
It’s best to pre-order the service before your trip. HolidayPhone will send it to you before you go. The mobile hotspot can also be used once you get home, since it works worldwide and is completely unlocked. HolidayPhone is available for use in 28 countries worldwide. All SIM card packages come with clear instructions in English, and are easy to use.
That’s how I can be sitting here writing this for you, while I watch the sun begin its slow descent into the Swedish horizon. It’s not a bad way to spend an evening.
For more info:
Want to use your cell phone overseas? See 7 Things Your Should know about Using Your Phone Internationally