Having the Internet when travelling, prepaid SIM cards, Wi-Fi…

When you travel, it’s always convenient to have the Internet. Whether it’s to look for information, stay in touch with family and friends, or even manage a blog to share your adventures… But it’s not always easy to find your way around. In this article, we will explain how we have managed to maintain our social life even on the other side of the world.

There are several ways to have Internet access during your trip:

  • “pocket wifi” (3G/WiFi key), you can visit www.my-webspot.com/ for more about pocket Wi-Fi.
  • The roaming of its operator (13.31€/MB; thank you Sosh/Orange for this price…)
  • cybercafés and other public PCs (unthinkable when travelling with a paranoid computer scientist)
  • prepaid SIM cards
  • Probably others that I forget…

In our case we have chosen to take prepaid SIM cards in each of the countries we visit because it is extremely simple to get them and inexpensive (especially in Asia) and it even allows us to take some call credit so we can call hotels or others if necessary.

How to get prepaid SIM cards?

It’s very simple, just go to a shop of the operator of your choice! In Asia you can even buy them in all the small gargotes you will come across. Be careful when you take in the gargotes. More and more governments are asking to know who owns the SIM cards. You will therefore have to visit an operator’s shop within a few days of purchase to “register” (a simple passport scan and a small form) or you risk deactivating the SIM and losing your credit. In Cambodia, the Smart operator offered registration on the Internet, which allowed us to avoid a detour to one of their shop.

I have my SIM card, but how does it work?

If you buy in an operator’s shop, chances are they will configure everything for you.

If they don’t do it to you, it’s no big deal. They will provide you with the sim to insert into your equipment (phone, 3G key…) and a “coupon” to add credit to the sim. All you have to do is execute a USSD code or send an SMS to a number. Once this is done, you will receive an SMS indicating that credit has been added, as well as the amount. You can now subscribe to a “pack”. You will find a non-exhaustive list of packs on the prepaid sim card wiki. This wiki is a real mine of information.

Once your pack is activated you can surf!

If it doesn’t work, it’s because the operator doesn’t automatically configure the APN but, don’t worry, it’s very easy to do yourself.

Usually it is enough to fill in the field “name” and “APN” for it to work. You will easily find the information on the wiki or in the table below for the operators we have used.

 

Accessing to the Internet in Japan
Internet in Japan: travel with or without Wi-Fi pocket?