Staying Connected Overseas With Vision Global Wi-Fi
As much as we sometimes want to get away from it all, today’s digital world makes it a bit difficult. Traveling as a travel blogger and with a teen and tween who all use several social media applications liberally seems to add another layer of urgency and necessity to be constantly connected to the Internet.
Our recent three-week trip through Europe took us to seven different countries. Staying connected to the Internet was sometimes necessary to stay in touch with tour operators, and to look up information and directions. Free and reliable Wi-Fi wasn’t guaranteed in many places. In addition, free Wi-Fi will not guarantee protection of personal information that’s on one’s electronic device.
We had a few options to stay connected while country hopping and to supplement Wi-Fi connections at our lodging facilities. The first option was paying $10 per day per device for our existing domestic plan with our phone provider. This cost will eventually add up during a long overseas trip. Another option was buying several local SIM cards along the way. We’ve done these on previous trips, but a bit of a hassle to find sellers at times.
Fortunately, Vision Global Wi-Fi contacted me and I had the opportunity to try out their device that provides a mobile hotspot or pocket Wi-Fi particularly for those traveling overseas. It seemed like an ideal way to stay connected to the Internet anytime and anywhere.
We were allocated 1 Gb per day that could be shared among five devices. This may seem like a lot but when shared among three people who post photos, constantly go on social media and surf the Internet, the data got used up pretty quickly.
Here are five things we learned quickly and tips of what to do to conserve data. We have iPhones so these tips are only for these particular devices.
- Disable background app refresh. Manually refresh the app to download the most recent content for that specific app only.
- Disable automatic cloud upload (especially for pictures), which usually happens when connected to Wi-Fi. The connection to this device is through Wi-Fi.
- Close all applications that may be running on the background.
- This one is the most important: Disable app updates. The developer may update apps, but you don’t want your apps updated unless you’re on Wi-Fi at the hotel or other Wi-Fi connection that provide unlimited data. The connection using the hotspot is via Wi-Fi, so apps will be updated automatically and can waste hundreds of megabytes per app update on the iPhone.
We didn’t realize this until more than halfway through our trip and were wondering why we were still using up so much data after disabling so many things.
- Turn off the device if you’re not using it.
How it worked:
The device was sent to our home address a few days before we left. It came with very easy instructions to follow. They also included a prepaid envelope to return it when we got back. The device was small, which was about the size of a smaller iPhone. It was pocket sized and light.
It was also quite easy to use. All we had to do was turn it on and wait to get connected. It didn’t take very long for the device to search and connect. Then, we just had to find that particular wifi network in the instructions to connect to it. The device has a small screen showing the particular country we were connected to and showed how much data we have used.
After it reached the 1 Gb limit, there was a warning that we were low on data. The connection began to significantly slow down. Though, text messages seemed to still work after the limit was reached.
Most of the time, we had a 4G connection. Our 1 GB data limit was for a 24-hour period. It always reset at midnight local time on the country we were connected to. The data limit also reset once we arrived in a different country. It was particularly advantageous while we were driving across borders between Germany and France. It was nice to have 2 GB of data in one day.
The land connection speeds varied depending on location and environment, which is also similar at home. With a 4G connection, we saw speeds of 17.50 Mbps in Paris and up to 25.33 Mbps in Geneva. In general while connected via 4G, we did not notice any network slowdown while using the hotspot.
We were on a cruise for seven days. This device didn’t work while we were at sea due to no cellular networks nearby. However, when we were a few miles from any land, we were actually able to connect to the Internet, although it was a mostly a 2G connection.
We really appreciated having the Vision Global Wi-Fi mobile hotspot device throughout our travels to several countries. It enabled us to stay connected to the Internet which helped with some important information retrieval. It also helped us share our travels virtually with family and friends and stay in the loop with emails. We recommend getting this device to save you some time, money and hassle in order to stay connected to the digital world. Visit their website to see which plans fit your travel itinerary.
Disclosure: Vision Global Wifi graciously provided our family with the device for three weeks with 1Gb data limit per day. All opinions and photos are our own.
*Have you used Vision Global Wifi? What do you use to stay in touch overseas?
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