If you’re a digital nomad or business traveler, having a solid WiFi connection is critical. Like the perfect seat in a long wait, a reliable connection can be hard to land. Don’t let that discourage you! Let’s talk about a few ways to have the best and most secure internet connection while abroad.
Do Your Homework
Unfortunately, every country is a different world. Depending on where you’re going, even down to the region your in, can impact your Internet opportunities.
For example, some countries in Southeast Asia have the fastest internet in the world, while others have really slow internet. In Europe, it’s about the same. The Internet in Germany tends to be slow, whereas the internet in Poland is typically stronger and faster. There are tons of online forums and Facebook groups that you can join to figure out what the internet situation will be like. It is better not to go blindsided.
- Lookup coverage areas before you go to know what’s ahead
- Check out Facebook groups and online forums for ground truth
Test the Internet Speed
If you’re thinking about staying at a hotel, you can ask about internet speeds ahead of time. Call a hotel you’re interested in and ask the receptionist about the Internet. Is it reliable and fast? Is it password-secured? Any guest restrictions?
If you’re planning on working at a cafe or co-working space, check out their website and online reviews. If you’re there during a tour, connect with your device and check the internet speed on your phone to see if it is worth your money. Ain’t no good co-working place got bad Internets.
- Check active Internet connection speeds with SpeedTest online at online or on Android
- Shop around before committing to a place
Bring an Ethernet Cable
Depending on where you’re at you may have access to an ethernet port. Physical ethernet connections are stronger and more reliable than over-the-air wireless, but require you have a cord in good shape and the right length.
Not all ethernet cords are created equal, so do some research before packing the 20 foot cord from a dusty closet with you. We’d shoot for something 5-10 feet that’s easy to roll up and stuff in a back.
- Pack a light weight ethernet cable for a compatible laptop
- If you’re tech savvy, bring a small repair kit with new heads
Secure Your Connection
While it’s important to have speedy and reliable internet, it’s just as important to make sure your connection is secure. When you’re abroad you’ll probably look at login-driven tools like online banking, email, or company accounts. It’s important to keep your confidential information secure and away from those pesky hackers. The best way to do this is through a virtual private network (VPN.)
A VPN improves the security of your connection. Before you commit to a VPN, do extensive research on their credibility and reviews. It’s also important to make sure that using a VPN is legal in the country that you are visiting.
- Shop around for the VPN services that covers your needs and price
- Make sure use of a VPN doesn’t violate any local laws where you’re at
Stay at a Coworking Space
If you find that the internet is still slow at your accommodation, then move to a co-working space. Co-working spaces usually have good internet because their business significantly relies on it. However, as mentioned previously, do the internet speed test before you invest a day at a pricey co-working space.
- Established co-working spaces rent room out for you, amenities like Internet included
- Make sure the connection is good and meets your needs before committing
Pack an Emergency Hotspot
Unfortunately, sometimes you really have little control over the internet. It is important to have a backup plan, especially if you are teaching online or have a business meeting to attend.
A lot of times you can get a data package on a sim card, and this is an excellent last resort. You can either wait until you get to your destination to look at sim card plans, or contact your current provider and see if they have any deals to offer. Remember that not all data plans have hotspot included. Make sure you ask before you purchase.
- Make sure your data needs are met with plans to avoid surprise excess data use charges
When you’re abroad, keeping your information secure is crucial. Finding a good Internet connections can demand some research, but it’s worth it at the end of the day. Don’t feel embarrassed to ask the hotel or your Airbnb host about the internet situation if it is important for you. Nothing is worse than buying a $5 latte at a cute coffee shop to only find out the internet is not working. Use these tips will help ensure that you have a safe, secure, and stable internet connection!