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Getting on-line during your Gap

Date added: Friday 27th November 2015

Taking a gap year can be one of lifeís biggest and most rewarding adventures. Leaving behind friends, family, and the comforts of home can be a little overwhelming, though. Thatís why you need to know how to stay in touch ó no matter where in the world you are. Before you hop on that plane, hereís everything you need to know to get online, stay connected, and safely enjoy your international journey.

Getting Online When Youíre Abroad

Fortunately, thereís a way to get online almost anywhere you travel. In fact, there are an estimated three billion Internet users across the globe. Thatís good news if you want to use the Internet during your travels to touch base with friends, help you navigate an unfamiliar country, or even secure place to stay at your next stop. Wi-Fi is usually available no matter where you go ó including land, air, and sea.

However, many countries donít have an abundance of free hotspots and public networks. Those options do exist in Europe, Australia, Central and South America, and Asia, but itís important to know that Wi-Fi access in other countries can cost you a pretty penny depending on the device you use and your provider. Make sure you know where Internet access is charged per minute or based on the amount of data used.

Some of the best ways to get online include using Wi-Fi at a hotel or hostel, at a restaurant, or at dedicated Internet cafes. While most hotels abroad charge for Wi-Fi access, you can find free hotspots using Wi-Fi directories and hotspot finders.

Staying Connected

There are a lot of reasons to get online while youíre traveling, but staying in touch with friends and family is a big one. If youíre going to be away for an extended period of time, staying connected is even more important. Whether you want to keep everyone updated via Facebook or hope to use services like Skype to actually make eye contact with your loved ones, not every option will be available to you in every country.

Some countries block certain websites, so you need to know how to get around those limitations. Fortunately, there are apps that help you counter Internet blocks and access the sites you want to use.†Proxy VPN services that helps you gain access to websites that are blocked in different countries. Apps are often free and a secure solution (check the terms and conditions) to gaining wider Internet access overseas.

Another challenge can be the cost of a phone call or text. To keep your loved ones in the loop, use an app like Viber. Viber lets you make free calls and send text messages as well as send video messages, email, and photo messages. Viber works in any country and with any network or service provider. Check out Hola and Viber before you leave and have them downloaded and ready to go.

Having Some Fun

If you want to absorb more of the country youíre visiting, you could dive into the local Internet culture. Each continent has its own online habits, and knowing what the locals get up to online can be interesting and helpful. In Europe, we canít get enough of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and the same goes for Latin America. But those in the USA and Canada love to go online and watch videos on Netflix and YouTube and in Pacific Asia itís all about politics, gaming, and online shopping.

On long journeys -road, rail or flights- where boredom might get the better of you, consider catching up on sleep (!) or use the opportunity to recharge your batteries with a favorite online game, catch up on social networks, or tune in to your favorite TV show. You could still indulge in your latest movie or series obsession and sites like Flixsearch let you search whatís available on Netflix all over the world.

Going abroad is exciting, and your venture will be even more successful if you know how to get online and stay connected throughout your travels. Make a plan to stay in touch before you leave, and download the helpful apps and programs that will give you access to cyberspace and all it has to offer.

Author bio:

Sarah Pike is a freelancer and wanderlust sufferer. When she's not writing or traveling, she's probably binge-watching RomComs on Netflix and dreaming up her next trip. You can find Sarah on Twitter at†@sarahzpike.