Staying Connected as a Digital Nomad

The internet has allowed people to work from home, telecommute and even run a business while travelling. Many tech-savvy people dream of sporting off to some tropical beach, to work on their laptop with a tropical drink in hand and their toes in the sand. Once they have taken a few trips, especially to the 3rd world, they find that it is often not that glamorous. One of the main challenges to this internet connected life is finding a basic connection to the internet. You will need an internet connection for things such as updating websites or blogs, delivering photos and files to clients and even VOIP calls or video chats. Here are a few tips on how to access the internet when you are away from home and far, far away, in a distant land.

  • Book housing that comes with wi-fi

In the developed world we have started to take an in-room wi-fi connection for granted. Nearly every hotel offers internet as a feature. However, this is not the case in many countries. Some travellers, to remain flexible on times and destinations, like to wait until they reach a town to book a hotel. This could be a mistake.  You might arrive in a town and find that the first 3 hotels you look at don’t have internet. You could spend valuable time and money looking around for a proper hotel with internet access. Before you show up, check online for hotels and find one that specifically offers internet service. Even if it costs a few dollars more per night, it will be worth it.  If you must book at the last minute,  a good resource for finding hotels is the Lonely Planet series of guide books. They have user reviewed hotel, guest house or hostel listings for even small towns, off the beaten path. They will give you information about a hotel, including nightly rates and tell you if a place has wi-fi.

  • Get a country specific SIM card

In some countries, such as the US, many phones use a technology that does not require a SIM card. Many phones don’t even have a slot for one. This can be quite inconvenient in other countries. International roaming rates are often cost prohibitive, especially for data transfers. Once in-country, you can usually buy SIM cards at just about any store. You can then load your smartphone up with pre-paid service, including enough data transfer to get your work done. If your phone does not have a SIM slot, buy an inexpensive 2nd phone, just for that purpose.

  • Find McDonald’s

International fast food chains, such as McDonald’s, have free internet access all over the world. Wherever you go, McDonald’s is usually safe and clean.  If you at least buy a cup of coffee or a soda, they usually won’t mind if you sit and do your work for an hour or two.

  • Bring your own hotspot

You can buy a pocket sized gadget that can be used as a wi-fi router for all your devices. It is more secure than using public wi-fi. It will save the battery on your phone, when using your smartphone’s service. You can buy one of these at most electronic stores or cell companies such as Sprint.

  • Just ask

All around the world, people are generally nice and helpful to strangers. If you are desperate for an internet connection, walk into any small store or restaurant and just ask if you could please use their wi-fi connection. Don’t worry if you don’t speak the local language. “Wi-fi” is an international word. A smile and a gesture at your phone will usually get your point across. If a password needs to be entered, bring up the wi-fi settings and hand them your phone to make the connection.

Follow these few tips, and no matter where you are in the world, if there is an internet connection available, you should be able to get connected enough to do your work. Bon Voyage.

Related posts