Because of my job as a blogger, getting on the internet is kind of a requirement. But my job as a travel & adventure photographer means I spend a lot of time on the road in my RV (aka the Batmobile), which does make it kind of hard. However, over time and after searching for more and more different ways to get access to the internet, I have come up with a good system that gives me access from pretty much any location within Europe. I’m more than happy to share it with you here, so you don’t have to go through all the trouble yourself.
Note: two things: first of all, the following can be used globally not only in Europe, it’s just that I haven’t tried it out as extensively outside of Europe. But none the less, if you are traveling outside Europe this will be valuable for you as well. Secondly, this list is mainly focused on staying connected when traveling by car, however, some of it can also be used by those using other methods to get around.
Wi-Fi Map Pro
Alright, let’s first of all start off with this kick ass app. Wi-Fi Map Pro is an absolute must for any traveler. This app gives you a map, just like Google maps, but it marks every single free Wi-Fi spot available in the area you are searching. It will also show you whether you need a password or not, and if you do, it will even give you the password so you can instantly get online. The price for the app is €4.35/$4.99, which is absolutely nothing for what you get, and is available on both IPhone and Android. I have used this app hundreds of times now and boy, I have thanked the man who invented it on so many occasions!
If you don’t want to spend any money (expect for the app price) on Wi-Fi, using this app is the way to go. The following methods I use to stay connected on the road, do cost money.
In the age we’re living in today, you can find hotspots somewhere or other in almost every town or city. This is something that is only going to increase in the years to come, until at some point in the not too distant future, Wi-Fi hotspots will be practically everywhere. When you find yourself in a town or city, use your phone or laptop to scan for any Wi-Fi hotspot connections. Once you locate one, connect and choose the rate plan you want. There will be various to choose from, such as 1 hour, 24 hours, 3 days etc. but the best price and deal will always be a 1 month plan. So, if you are going to be traveling for any length of time within a certain country, this is the smart choice, and absolutely the best deal to go with.
Okay, so you have found an internet connection, and you are connected. One problem that you are often faced with is that the strength of the connection isn’t too great. I know, I’ve been there, you’ve been there, we’ve all have been there, and it’s horrible having a slow internet connection. You don’t want to waste your whole day waiting for a page to open when you could be out exploring. But don’t stress, there is a great solution to fix this problem. The people from Motorhomewifi.com have made an INCREDIBLE antenna. You simply plug it into your 12V cigarette lighter, go through a few simple steps, and you’re done – strong signal, great connection, time to go exploring! The price is €203.71 / $233.52, which is a very decent price for such an incredible antenna. I highly recommend this product, and no, I am not promoting them, they simple have made an outstanding antenna. Have a read of the comments from the thousands of others who agree with me.
Asking what MiFi is? Wondering if I spelled Wi-Fi wrong…? No I didn’t. Put simply, MiFi is a 3G or 4G portable battery-powered router. The MiFi device I use is sold from those same folks at Motorhomewifi. The price of the Hauwei device is €146.42 / $167.85. Now of course you also need to buy a tariff with this, as there is no mobile data loaded on it. The Hauwei device works with a sim card from a UK based company called “Three”. You top up your credit either by buying it through their website (this only works for people in the UK) or by buying a voucher online and activating that on their website. The allowed usage per month is 12GB. For some reason this at first didn’t sound much to me, but that was until I started using it. I found myself having to use the internet more and more to get anywhere near to using the 12GB. As with everything there are a few restrictions. Three.uk only allows roaming in certain countries which they call “Feel at Home destinations”. For Europe these are: Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Ireland, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Of course if you are traveling to the UK it can be used there too (it’s a UK based company). The tariff is also valid in Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Israel, Macau, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and the USA. You thought there where going to be fewer countries didn’t you? It’s an incredible list. But, if the country you are going to is not on it, your MiFi device will not work.
Do note that this is not intended for heavy download use, such as movies or other big files.