Staying Connected Abroad
Wander, Wonder, Write

Staying Connected Abroad

People often ask my advice about staying connected abroad. They want to know about internet and traveling and how I keep my devices safe. In this post I will write about:

  • The Best Way to Data Roam Abroad 
  • The Best eSIM Provider
  • The Best Way to Protect Yourself Online

Please note: This post contains affiliate links. I offer the content on my website and on Substack for free. But you can support my work by purchasing something through the referral links below. In fact, we’ll both benefit with a price reduction or free subscription months. 

Best Way to Data Roam When Traveling

There are three ways to stay connected abroad.

  • The worst way is to use your domestic provider for data roaming in a foreign country. This can quickly become prohibitively expensive. Even if your provider offers special plans for traveling, you will likely overpay for your data. In any case, it’s wise to research the costs in advance and do a price comparison.
  • A better way is to purchase a local SIM card upon your arrival in a foreign country. But this has downsides, too. It requires you to physically exchange your SIM card, and you risk losing or damaging your original SIM card along the way. You must also research which provider is best in each country and find a reliable seller. This can become tiring when you travel often. And when you run out of data, you must often visit a store to top up your card. I only consider this method if I stay in a country for over a month and there’s no complex registration process for local SIM cards.
  • The best way to stay connected abroad is to purchase an eSIM. After five years of international travel, I’ve come to rely upon these electronic SIM cards. I find them affordable and easy to install. But it does require an unlocked smartphone that accepts eSIMs. So first check whether you can use this method with your phone. 

Best eSIM Provider

There are many different companies that offer eSIM packages. The packages range from 1 to a 100 Gig and are valid from 3 to 30 days. 

Overall, I find Airalo the best eSIM provider. Their network service is reliable. The eSIMs are quick to install. It’s instantly clear what their packages contain and how to top them up. And the smartphone app is easy to use. 

You can create a free profile for Airalo through the link below. When you purchase your first Airalo eSIM, you get a $3 reduction if you use the code CLAIRE1507 upon checkout. This helps me, too, because I receive the same reduction for my next eSIM with them. It’s a win-win situation. 

—> Get $3 off your first eSIM data pack from Airalo by using the code CLAIRE1507 

Best Way to Protect Yourself Online

Do you know what a VPN is? A Virtual Private Network? If yes: good for you! If no: you’re not alone. 

I’d never heard of a VPN until four years ago, when I found myself on a Vietnamese airport without 4G reception and had to connect to the unsafe public WiFi to buy an onward ticket with a credit card. I publicly lamented by stupidity, which made a concerned traveller ask me: “Don’t you have a VPN?”

Well, I do now. 

A VPN is a subscription that allows you to connect safely to otherwise unsafe networks no matter where you are. Your device will first connect to a provider’s safe server before letting you roam the web. 

Added benefit: Most VPN providers have servers all over the world and let you choose to what server you want to connect. Meaning: you can appear to be in the US, when you’re really in Vietnam and vice versa. This can be very useful for doing research, making reservations, accessing government-restricted websites, or watching country-specific Netflix shows. 

Overall, I find NorthVPN the best VPN provider. If you sign up using this referral link, we each receive three months of free service. Again, it’s a win-win situation. Thank you in advance!