Staying Connected While Abroad
In our daily lives most of us are used to being constantly connected to other people, either via smartphone, text messages, email, instant messaging, social networking sites, or even video conferencing. But few expatriates realize that it is often difficult to take this level of connectivity with us when we move abroad. Likewise, travel overseas can require some adjustments. Cell phone frequencies vary from country to country, and in many countries cell phone data networks, WiFi access, and high-speed Internet are not as common as in North America, or they may be much more expensive. To help you stay connected while traveling or living abroad, we have compiled resources that provide information about Internet and telephone access, as well as resources to help you find online media. We also provide overview articles for each of the connectivity modes.—Volker
International Cellular Phone and Communications Services
See Don’t Take Your Regular Cell Phone Abroad: 5 Wise Alternatives to Handing Your Phone Company All Your Money by Tim Leffel,
Taking Your Electronic Devices Abroad by Volker Poelzl,
Managing Life and Work While Traveling by Nora Dunn,
and Communicating Abroad Abroad Has Never Been Easier by Shanie Matthews, for articles on cellular phone services and other forms of digital communications services.
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Cellular Abroad, www.cellularabroad.com. Get unlimited free incoming calls and low outgoing rates for international cellular service. Cellular Abroad rents and sells international cellular phones.
go-sim™, www.gosim.com, has a range of low cost solutions designed to significantly reduce the cost of staying in touch using your own mobile phone overseas.
InTouch Smartcards GSM Store, www.intouchsmartcards.com, is one stop shopping for all your wireless needs; satellite and GSM cellular phone rental, prepaid GSM SIM cards for over 100 countries and global SIM cards.
Mobal, www.mobal.com, allows you to own an international phone for as low as $29, provides SIMS to your existing phone for international use, or allows rentals of satellite phones.
RebTel, www.rebtel.com, provides a service where the recipient calls the number which appears on their phone to connect back to you while paying only local charges.
Skype, www.skype.com, is a service which allows you to call around the world using headphones connected to your computer. Computer-to-computer calls are free, while computer to landline calls are relatively cheap.
Time Dial — Cheap Calls Comparison Tools — the only international call price comparison tools that actually perform total cost calculations for a phone card rather than comparing only the prices per minute, for example. VOIP, SIM and Foreign Currency card deal comparisons are also on the site to help you research the cheapest prices. Other useful time zone tools are also available, including a "contact us" widget.
Travelcell, www.travelcell.com, allows you to rent cell or satellite phones abroad.
Truphone, www.truphone.com, offers WiFi phones for international use.
Internet/Wi-Fi Access and Computer Connectivity
See Taking Your Laptop Overseas and Living Abroad as a Wired Expat by Volker Poelzl for useful laptop travel tips as well and
Protecting your Laptop Computer and Sensitive Information Abroad by Nora Dunn for more security tips.
Wireless allows you to rent a 3G handheld device that
acts like a Wi-Fi hotspot to allow wireless access for your
laptop, tablet, or smartphone at various low rates per day
in countries worldwide.
Internet Café Directories
See Using Internet Cafés Abroad: Practical Tips for Safely Staying Connected in Public Places by Volker Poelzl for a practical and detailed article which provides more first-hand information.
Cybercafes.com, www.cybercafes.com, is a database of 4,208 Internet cafés in 141 countries.
Apple TV, www.apple.com/appletv/, if you are in a hotel or house abroad with a cable-equipped TV with a USB input, you can have easy access to thousands of Internet radio stations, Netflix, and many other free and paid channels offered by Apple TV.
Kidom Media Link, www.kidon.com, is a worldwide guide to news sources online.
Online Newspapers, www.onlinenewspapers.com, lists over 1000 links to online newspapers worldwide.