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101 guide to travel data options

roaming bill shock tactics

Travelling can be a pretty exciting journey. You will meet new people, do new things, experience new culture. However, travelling can be stressful as well, especially if you will be away for a long time. You need to research the place beforehand to minimize your “tourist-ish” look when you reach your destination; You need to plan ahead to ensure that you have brought all necessities to survive your days at the new country; And during the travel, you need to pay attention to your surroundings to make sure that you do not lose any valuable items along the way, which could really spoil the trip.

The least that you really want to be worried about is getting connectivity while you are abroad. At a foreign land, it is also important for us to stay connected, because there are just too many scenarios where having internet connection could be very useful. Need translation? Use internet. Need to know where you are and the directions to your next destination? Use internet. Want to do some last minute research? Use internet. Or something more millennial-like: Want to upload the pretty selfies that you just took? Use internet.

There are many ways for us to get connected at foreign countries, but most of them have some caveats or inconvenience. Public WiFi is free and easy, but it is not a convenient choice because it is not available everywhere. Remember the times when you search around your area for half an hour just to find a restaurant with a weak and shared WiFi? If you want something that is easier, we can get a local SIM card, but you need to swap the cards in your phone and you might miss the important and urgent calls to your personal numbers if you are not using a dual-SIM phone. Some hotels now provide a handset with data connection, but you can only use it to do online browsing, which means that you cannot use it for WhatsApp or receiving emails because the handset cannot be used for tethering or act as a hotspot. To solve this, you could rent a pocket WiFi, but the process requires you  to return it to the store within a stipulated dates and you can only use it at a specific country. What if you are travelling to more countries in one trip?

With these in mind, the most convenient way to obtain data connection in a multi-destination international travel would be to obtain a roaming package. However, searching for the right package could be very confusing and frustrating, but you won’t want to cut back your research because roaming can be very expensive. Besides checking the usual factors, such as the price and quotas, there are much more that you need to pay attention to so that you will not encounter a bill shock at the end of your trip. Some of these packages require us to subscribe to other packages first, while others impose some contracts so that you subscribe to a package for a minimum period of time (3 months or above). If you foresee yourselves making or receiving calls during your trip, you also need to check the call and SMS rates, which are usually divided into several types (Incoming call, outgoing local, outgoing home country, outgoing international). After wrapping your head around the differences among each rate, you then need to learn how to activate these plans before your trip as well as adjusting your phone setting so that the roaming function is activated. If you are not subscribed to an unlimited quota package, you will need to be careful with your usage and make sure that no application is consuming your data in the background. Worst of all, if you did not pay attention to the fine prints, you might still receive a bill shock in your next bill cycle, merely because your phone was not logged onto your service provider’s preferred network. If you want to avoid such scenarios, you need to add one more criteria to your search process, as some packages now do include a feature that will lock your phone onto only preferred networks, but that will inevitably complicate your research process. And if you want to save costs on calls, some service providers do provide more economical IDDs, but that also means you need to remember and type these funny numbers around your intended recipient number so that you can enjoy a lower call rates. All in all, it just demands too much brain power to remember each detail !

This is unacceptable. Travelling should be an enjoyable process and a great learning experience. That is why we decided to take actions on it by founding PowerData2Go. As a travel technology company, we want to tackle the connectivity issue head on. We do this by providing users a global portable WiFi, which works in 80+ countries, at a flat rate with unlimited data. We also developed a Smart Caller ID mobile app, which allows you to make and receive calls during your travel. It is a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solution. To put it in layman term, you can make and receive calls through our specialized phone dialler application as long as you are connected to internet. The application is user-friendly as its layout is very similar to our phones’ native dialler. After a simple activation process, you can just use it to call and receive calls, without any special handling! Your callers also do not need to do anything different at their end – they just need to dial your contact number as usual and the calls will be routed to your application automatically. The best thing about the solution is that it is not only intuitive to use, but also cheap – all calls and SMS are charged at a lower rate than current market roaming rates.

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