Europe is a popular travel destination for people in the Americas and Asia. Backpackers, travelers, tourists, and students flock to this continent in search of adventure, love, and a potential new home. A major issue faced by these globetrotters is getting a stable and affordable internet connection.
On the Move
There are several ways of procuring access to the net. The cheapest one is to depend solely on the kindness of strangers. We are, of course, talking about free Wi-Fi. Hotels, bars, restaurants, banks, and numerous other establishments offer free Wi-Fi, although many require that you register on their network. This is the best solution if you don’t need to be connected every minute of every day.
However, it does take you off the grid whenever you are traveling between cities and countries, unless your bus has Wi-Fi (they often don’t).
Alternatively, if you are planning on spending a month or two in a single country, getting a local, prepaid SIM card could give you access to the internet. The stability of these connections depends on the providers you can reach. With a local SIM card, you can simply pay for the internet as you are using it, without any long-term contracts tying you down.
Roaming is not a recommended way to go, simply because the charges can be expensive if you don’t have a good data plan. It is, however, worth considering in emergency situations, provided your provider offers decent coverage in Europe.
The fourth and final option is getting a mobile hotspot device. They are great if you need to move around Europe on a relatively fixed schedule, and it will save you the trouble of getting a separate SIM card every time you cross a border. You still need a data plan, so your homework and choose the one that gives you the best coverage for the least amount of money.
Digital nomads sometimes give up their lifestyle and decide to settle down in a location. They usually rent a property and come to the conclusion that the best internet option they can get is the one where they sign a contract. For example, the most famous YouTuber, PewDiePie, is Swedish. He traveled the world and currently lives in Brighton, UK. Because of his work, he needs a stable internet connection to continue uploading his videos on a regular basis, though he is not always happy with the service provided.
If you are considering this option, you should be made aware that there may be some unexpected hurdles coming your way. In some countries, the bureaucracy makes it virtually impossible for a foreigner to own property or pay for a service in the same manner a resident does. There is a workaround to this issue – you can make a deal with a local resident to open an internet account in their name and you can pay for it and use the internet.
Before doing this, we recommend doing some research about the potential legal issues this may provoke.