Internet abroad - How to use the Internet on the road
To be able to live and travel as a webnomad there are actually only two things you need to be able to do at all times and everywhere. One is electricity and the other is internet. The question about electricity we will answer again in a separate text, because here we want to deal with the question how you can use the internet abroad always and everywhere, so that you can work as webnomads independent of location.
On the road as a travel blogger
We ourselves have been on the road for more than five and a half years now and have been running our world travel blog since the first minute. This only works because we have been able to find ways to go online regularly in every country we have traveled to. Some of them were harder, others easier and sometimes you had to do some tricks to make it work at all. But in the end we always managed to do it again. And so we are now able to give you an overview at least for Europe with the most common, most effective and above all cheapest methods. First of all, we have two fundamentally different methods at our disposal today, both of which have their advantages and disadvantages. One is to use the w-LAN that you can find on the spot. The second is to use mobile Internet via the smartphone or an LTE receiver. We would now like to present both versions one after the other and tell you some tricks on how to use and deploy them in the best and cheapest way.
Using mobile Internet via LTE
A few years ago, this was still largely unimaginable, because the early days of the mobile Internet were little more than the ability to check your e-mail from your smartphone now and then. Provided, of course, that you brought enough time with you. Today there is hardly anything more normal than surfing the Internet with your mobile phone. How much this has spread has only recently become clear to us when we took a look at our own statistics. We found out that meanwhile more than 60% of our readers visit Lebensabenteurer.de via their mobile phones. And this even though we have not even finished programming our Responsive version. This alone shows how much the mobile internet has found its way into our website.
Nevertheless, a short summary for those who are not yet up to date in this area.
The development of the mobile Internet
A few years ago there were wild discussions in the media about the awarding of the so-called UMTS licences, which were supposed to make it possible to receive Internet via the normal mobile phone network. This UMS and UMTS appeared later than G2 and G3. At first this was relatively slow and there were only a few megabytes that you could upload and download before the tap was turned off again.
Because of this and because this mobile network was also relatively expensive for the few possibilities which one received with it, it was out of question for us for a long time. But things change. Today G4 is the worldwide standard, which is also known as LTE. With it, you can surf the Internet about as fast as with a standard DSL line. Often even faster, because DSL lines are already overstrained for the immense increase in Internet users in many places. But that is another topic, which we will talk about again below.
How does LTE reception work?
In order to use LTE, you need either an Internet-capable smartphone or a so-called LTE receiver. The latter is a small, handy box that you can usually just stow away in the laptop case. To make it work you have to insert a SIM card with an LTE credit. This can be either a contract or a prepaid card. As soon as you turn the box on, it connects to the LTE network and transmits the signal as a w-LAN signal. Now you can dial in normally with your computer or even with your smartphone or tablet. The w-LAN signal is usually encrypted, and the key can either be read on the display or written somewhere on or in the box. You can find more on this topic in our review of the Zyxel A4B6. Here we also describe how to set up your LTE receiver correctly and what you should look out for when buying it.
The problem with this type of Internet use is that even today you usually only have a limited amount of available bandwidth. Once this is used up, the mobile Internet source either dries up completely or is throttled to a miserable trickle, which in most cases can do no more than motivate you to buy more credit. Simply so that you don't have to get upset about this endless creeping.
Offers differ very muchHow large the available Internet contingent is depends on the provider and their offers. And here now extreme caution is required. Because there is hardly a market at the moment where the price-performance range is more divergent than in the mobile Internet sector. This is particularly true for travellers, i.e. for the use of the mobile Internet in different countries.
In Germany the quotas currently range from 0.5GB data usage to 5GB. Thereby you pay between 10 and 50€ per month. In Austria, on the other hand, the tariffs are much cheaper and the available data volumes are already much larger. But it only becomes fascinating in countries like Italy. Here one gets for 19,90 in the month without a contract connection 100GB data volume made available. From this moment on you can really work with it. And this is also urgently necessary in Italy! Because in hardly any other European country is it so difficult to get w-LAN as in Italy. So here our recommendation goes quite clearly to the mobile Internet. Other countries where you can get a high contingent for little money are: Poland, Estonia and Sweden.
Use of existing w-LAN
The good news is that, despite the outrageously poor price-performance ratio of LTE quotas, it is relatively easy to access the Internet in Germany. Simply for the reason that you generally don't need LTE, as we have very good coverage with w-LAN, which you can also use without any problems as a traveler. Private households without Internet access are virtually non-existent in our country and the same applies to public institutions. Every hotel, café, bar, restaurant, library, most parish halls, town halls, petrol stations, schools, sports homes, camping sites and shopping centers offer free w-LAN. Also, just about every McDonald's store, many train stations and now many city centers.
Private w-LAN access
Unlike many other cultures, we Germans are also still quite open when it comes to our private w-LAN access. This means that if you are in a place where you don't have access to the internet, but you are still shown networks, you can usually ask your neighbors whether you can use their network for the duration of your stay. Such a request is only refused in the rarest of cases. This is different in Sweden and France, for example. Here, many people have the feeling that you can immediately access their most secret data and, above all, that you will access them if they give you the password.
Internet and more
In other countries, such as Romania, Serbia, Montenegro or even Great Britain, people are often invited privately to use their network. There you sit comfortably in the living room and usually even get coffee and cake while you do your online work. Here it is only important to make clear right at the beginning that you are there to work. Otherwise, one has an internet access but cannot use it because one is chatting the whole afternoon. For personal conversations you can give yourself some time at the end.
Internet use in hotels
Another helpful source for Internet abroad are hotels. These almost always have wLAN access for their guests. Of course, the most practical way is if you are a guest in the hotel yourself, but this is not always absolutely necessary. If you're on a mission that others are excited about and you tell the hotel staff about it, it's usually no problem to make yourself comfortable downstairs in the lobby and just surf away. Personally, we are very lucky today that we were invited by a very friendly hotel owner to both, internet access and a cool, air-conditioned and quiet room in her hotel Magna Grecia.