Internet has become indispensable for travellers to connect with other part of world. Sharing social media feeds to friends and family or searching on google for recommended places to dine or visit cannot be done without internet connection.

The most common ways to get mobile network data are to get a wifi router or purchase a SIM card locally or oversea. These methods have their own pros and cons, they will be discussed in the next chapter. There are definitely ways to get cheaper data for your trip, depending on your personal usage, preference, convenience and the travel duration.

Local: The country you are staying, eg. Singapore.
Overseas: The country you are travelling to.

Type

Convenience

Price

Data

Package

WIFI Router
Local
Yes
$$$
Unlimited
Daily
Overseas
No
$$
Unlimited
Daily
SIM Card
Local
Postpaid
Yes
$$$
Limited
Day Range
Prepaid
Yes
$$
Depends
Day Range
Overseas
Prepaid
No
$
Depends
Day Range

WIFI Router

WIFI Router is the best data service provider for those who travel in Group but in short period. Travelers will enjoy unlimited data at a fixed rate every day, depending on the destination. Moreover, everyone can share the rental cost together. The additional benefit of renting a WIFI router is that it saves battery life of your device, travellers do not need to share the mobile hotspot anymore.

The main issue is that you need to collect the portable wifi router in advance and return it on time to prevent from additional charges.

Local WIFI Router

This is the best option for the time-is-money travellers (group) in a single country for less than 20 days.

Nowadays, with the power of internet,  you can easily get a local WIFI router before departure. Prices range from $5 daily for Asian countries like Taiwan and Japan, to $12 per day for destinations such as Australia, Europe and USA. It’s understandable that it costs higher to stay connected when you are out of Asia countries. . However, there will be no risk of miscommunication due to language barrier and it saves time from dealing with the vendors at the destination.

Overseas WIFI Router

This is the best option for the adventurous travellers (group) in a single country for less than 20 days.

As mentioned above, the package will be cheaper but it may take you some time on dealing with the vendors. You may even get scammed with a faulty WIFI router, it will severely destroy your mood at the start of holiday. You have to do more survey and research during your preparation and trip planning to avoid this kind of incident. Don’t put yourself at risk.

SIM Card

Without any SIM card, you will not be able to call Local and Home number. Therefore, it becomes the most viable option to have a SIM card when you are travelling. However, these SIM cards packages are usually limited by either number of days or data usage.

Local SIM Card

Local SIM card provides convenience and customer service to customers whenever they have doubts. There are two types of local SIM cards that travellers can activate/buy for their trips:

A. Postpaid

This is the best option for the frequent traveller (solo) in multiple countries within 30 days.

You can subscribe a travel data plan with your local telco service providers like Singtel, StarHub and M1. Most of them offer a travel data plan for 30 days with limited data of 1GB. The limited data is not possible to be shared with your travel buddies. However, it allows you to continue receiving important message and phone call with roaming service. Furthermore, you can enjoy the service in more than 20-50 countries within the day range of the package at the same rate.

Notes for subscribing a travel data plan:

  1.      The travel data plan will automatically be renewed for the subsequent GB at the same price once you use up the data limit. Don’t be shocked when you receive the bill! Be cautious of the data usage during your trip.
  2.       Your data plan will be terminated once it reaches the expired date. You must be careful and good in planning otherwise you need to pay extra for the renewal.
B. Prepaid

This is the best option for Spontaneous travellers (solo/group) in single/multiple countries less than 20 days.

The local telco service providers like Singtel, M1 and Starhub offer prepaid SIM card especially for travellers. Their packages normally have limited data* and validity in specific countries. It allows spontaneous travellers to travel to other neighbour countries anytime with lesser cost.

*A new travel SIM card service provider AIRSIM uses unique technology that combines Soft SIM and Over-the-AIR (OTA) technologies. All the packages provide you unlimited data within the selected day range of your package with 500MB at 4G/3G speed and unlimited data (most data package) at slightly slower surfing speed. Therefore, it is a bonus for those travelling in group. If you stay less than certain number of days in the countries, you should get AIRSIM as it is cheaper and more convenient.

Overseas SIM Card

This is the best option for the travellers travelling (solo/group) in a single country for more than 20 days.

You can easily buy an oversea SIM card in the airport of the destination. However, there are too many options on the service providers and the packages. Most of the travellers will be queuing to purchase SIM card. You might spend more than 30 minutes to get a SIM card due to the long queue, language barrier and the selection of SIM card packages.

Most of the SIM cards are cheaper for longer travelling period. If you are travelling to a single country and staying more than 20 days, you should buy an overseas SIM card that comes with attractive bundle plans. However, the SIM card vendor might request to get a copy of your identification documents and photo for registration, depending on the law in the country you are travelling.

Notes for purchasing overseas SIM card:
1. Get the proper type of SIM card (nano or micro SIM card) for your phone
2. Keep your own SIM card in a secure place.

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