Roam Like Home with an International SIM

We can all admit it- people are addicted to social media and rely on the internet to gather information. This is true, both in daily life at home but also while traveling. Since roaming abroad can be insanely expensive, it is smart to consider purchasing an international SIM which can save you heaps of money if you are a digital nomad like me. Learn from my tests of the following options:

A Norwegian SIM card

..is always expensive to use abroad. Some subscriptions include roam like home in EU, but roaming in Ecuador, as an example, would cost you 1,25$ for 1MB.

Local simcards

Most countries today have 3G or even 4G just like at home, and prices for data are not always that much more expensive. Buying a local SIMcard can usually be done at airports and can cost as little as 10$- sometimes even with some data included! When skipping from country to county it can be bothersome and expensive to buy and register simcards in every country- but when staying longer than a week in a country this is definitely worth it!

WorldSIM

Is a free-yes, FREE SIM card that you can order online or sometimes travel agencies and start using. The benefit is that that you can receive calls for free (with a UK number, that you can roam and call cheaper internationally. It claims to work in 188 countries and as an example I found that 1MB in Equador costs 1,44$. The problem is that reception was always bad and that it takes forever to connect an international call as they use a method where the phone would hang up and someone would call you back.

Knowroaming

You have to pay 10$ for the SIM or 30$ for a sticker that you could put on your existing SIM for it to Work, but so far it works way better than the WorldSIM. It claims to work in 200+ countries and includes free WhatsApp use in 142 countries. As an example 1MB in Ecuador costs 0,20$.

By referring to my code VUXGMTM, you can also get 30% your SIMcard and 5$ signup credit by signing up at: www.knowroaming.com

Happy surfing!

Getting Access to Facebook and other Blocked Pages When Traveling

The Great Firewall of China is widely heard of, creating frustration among travelers who want to share their holiday memories or just get in touch with those back home. The pages and programs that are blocked include Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Gmail, Blogger and so on, and it is not only in China that these pages are blocked, so it can be smart preparing for this before you leave home by using one of the three options listed below:The best thing to do before you go would be to set up a VPN server from back home. The simple reason is that the pages where you can do this are usually also blocked in these countries. With the biggest VPN service providers like StrongVPN is is a simple thing and should also work well, but I forgot to do this before leaving and had to use the two other alternatives.


Using a proxy server like www.proxy-center.com
is the absolutely easiest alternative but it is slow and usually only works for a short time at a time. The service lets you type in a webaddress and then an external server redirects you to the page you want to visit. This would be the best alternative if all you need is a quick check like for email and social media pages.

If you are surfing from a tablet or smartphone, it is possible to download an app that will set up a VPN server for you. I tried several ones while being in China, but VPN Express was the only free (trial that will work for just a few days) one I got to work. I have heard that there are a few other good alternatives out there like ibVPN and Faceless VPN but these seem like they have to be launched before going into China. Are you willing to pay a little for it, it is also possible to buy apps that will let you get through these firewalls without any restrictions so that you can surf these pages as long as you want. Just as if you were sitting in your favorite couch back at home.

10 Reasons to Travel with Apps and Which Ones to Choose

wehostels

WeHostels is one of my favorite travels apps, where you can see hostel prices listed on a map and get more information on tapping the pictures on the left

Traveling has become a lot easier over the last few years, and it is especially all the information available online that has made it so. This might have taken away some of the fun unknown of traveling, but it can also help you make the right decisions before and during your travels. I use apps a lot while being on the move, and have provided a list of some apps that can help you make the most out of the time and money for your travels:


1. Converting Units
: Converter (Trelleborg Sealing Solutions, for iPad, iPhone and Android)
What and why: It is a free and better version of the 12kr app Convert that, lets lets you convert between units in a fun way by scrolling down wheels
Alternatives: Some say they like the interface of Convertbot better and others like to have apps dedicated to currency. Then XE Currency converter is a better option.

 

Finding Cafès with wifi can be a relief


2. Navigation/ Maps
: CityMaps2Go (iPhone and iPad)
What and why: This app lets you download city maps when you are connected to the internet, so that these can be used in offline mode afterwards.
Alternatives: Google Maps, Maps by Apple and heaps of other alternatives if you are connected to the internet.


3. Booking hotels/hotels:
WeHostels/Boooking.com (iPhone, iPad and Android)
What and why: WeHostels is the most genius booking app that I have come across, and it is great if you are traveling alone or on a tight budget. Booking.com is the best alternative if you are looking for cheap hotels, as it also often lets you cancel/change the booking before arrival.
Alternatives: Hostelworld for hostels and Hotels.com for hotels.


4. Booking flights
: Kayak (iPhone, iPad and Android)
What and why: Kayak lets you put in a range of dates, create multistop itineraries and give you price alerts. It is the app that gives you the most possibilities when it comes to finding the cheapest airline tickets.
Alternatives: Scyscanner is the easiest app to use where you can quickly play around with dates and airports to find the cheapest tickets. StudentUniverse/Kilroy website will probably be cheapest if you are a student.


5. Booking activities
: Viator (iPhone, iPad and Android)
What and why: If you are looking for and app that will list most classic activities and day trips that you can think of (Macchu Picchu daytrip, Disney World tickets etc) and some that you could possibly not have thought of (underwater scooter rental etc), then Viator is the right app for you
Alternatives: Trekksoft have several apps, but these are all destination or activity specific.


6. Blogging
: Pages (iPhone and iPad)
What and why: Pages used to cost 10 dollars, but is now free. It has a beautiful layout and lets you customize everything on your blog posts
Alternatives: Blogsy if you are willing to pay 5 dollars to integrate the blog with other social media.  Blogger and WordPress if you are looking for a more simple app


7. Learning languages
: Duolingo (iPhone, iPad and Android) for long term learning
What and why: Duolingo is by far the best app for learning languages long term, but if you want to look up phrases then Lonely Planet’s Fast Talk is the app to use

flights
TripIt is just genious

Alternatives: Babbel if your device is running Windows Phone and Busuu if you don’t mind some advertising on the bottom part of your screen


8. Checking reviews for hotels, restaurants and activities:
Gogobot (iPhone and Android)
What and why: Gogobot helps you connect with friends who have been to places (for advice), helps you find like minded reccommendations by similar “tribes” (people who travel like you/interest groups) and help you plan your trips.
Alternatives: Yelp if you are in the US or TripAdvisor (both work on all platforms) as they still seem to have the biggest collection of reviews in the world. Personally I just think it is a bit stressful with TripAdvisors popup ads and their attempts to try to push things through your social mediums.


9. Reading about destinations:
Wikisherpa
What and why: Wikisherpa lets you download Wikivoyage articles about the destinations you are visiting to read in offline mode. The articles are simple and do not take up much space, so I would reccomend just downloading everything you might have use for on your trip
Alternative: Stay, Tourist Eye or just guides for each city (eg. NYC travel guide)

10. Keeping control of your itinerary/travel documents: Tripit (all platforms)
What and why: Tripit is an application that turns all the booking confirmations of flights, hotels and activities in your mailbox into an itinerary. In online mode it will automatically be syncronized with your mailbox, so that all the reference numbers, flight times etc are downloaded for offline use.
Alternative: WorldMate is the same thing, just with a little poorer interface. Passbook is also a good alternative, but unfortunately it only works for iPhone 5 owners at the moment. For around the world flight tickets, TripCase is the best option collecting all info with just one travel agency refference.

A real Kindle will of course also do the work of the Kindle App

..And of course all the other apps that you use for your daily life:
Online browsing, social media, mobile banking, taking editing and sharing photos, reading books(Kindle, iBook), watching videos (Plex) and listening to music (Spotify) etc etc, etc etc.