Internet on the go

I like traveling with my van.

When I’m on the road, how do I do with the Internet?

This is all information related to Europe, and it depends on the operator and data plan. I’ll tell you my scenario.

I live in Italy and in the EU we have free data roaming up to a certain amount of GB. This means I can consume n GB of data in Italy, but just a percentage of it can be used in the other European countries.

It depends on the mobile operator, with mine I have 70GB for 15€/m.

The data freely available in roaming is calculated on the amount I pay (don’t ask me why) but it’s 8GB.

Then I can activate an offer to get another 5GB for 3€ every 7 days.

In total I have 28GB for 1 month, at 27€. It sounds ok to me.

Every operator is different, of course.

Most of my data consumption, when traveling, is using maps. I use Mapy.cz and I can download all the maps before leaving, so there’s zero data involved when I look at the maps.

You can download non-satellite offline maps on Google Maps, too, but I find its interface to do that worse compared to Mapy, which lets me just download an entire country.

Sometimes I have to use satellite maps to find some parking or to look at the roadmap for the day and for that there’s no solution. But 90% of the time, I don’t need satellite and the offline map works fine.

Another heavy data consumption source is videos. I use Prime Video for movies and series and I can download anything I want to watch offline. This requires some planning ahead, but it’s 100% doable.

Same for YouTube, with YouTube Premium. I can plan ahead and add some videos I might want to watch. If new videos show up, I’ll add them to “watch later” and I can download them when I get a WiFi connection.

Depending on the place I go, I can have WiFi available, for example in a camping spot or at a supermarket. In this case I can use a VPN and connect to the public WiFi to download some data.

I tend to avoid any use of social media while on a trip, except for specific uses. For example I’ll go to a country that has a Facebook group for camper travelers and it’s interesting to read what other travelers are experiencing, especially in those times where crossing borders is more difficult than in the past.

But other than this, 28GB is almost 1GB per day and without consuming them for entertainment, they are more than enough for anything critical for work, which in my case during a trip mostly means some pushing to GitHub, receiving and sending emails, accessing Discord to support my students.

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