Internet – WIFI
The world has certainly changed of the past 50 years. When my parents immigrated to Australia from Holland the only real contact they had were letters which sometimes took weeks to arrive and when we made a rare phone call the cost was exorbitant. I remember the calls we charges in 3 minute segments and when we called Holland we had a stopwatch timing and hung up before the 3 minutes expired. Now the only thing we send in the post is a few Christmas cards and if we want to talk to family and friends we open our computer and Skype. Not only can we talk to each other but we can see each other as well and the cost, free. Emails, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Skype are just some ways the internet has helped us to keep in touch, all through the magic of the Internet. The internet is also helping the Motorhomer as well we now have blogs to read of other people’s adventures where we can get inspiration and also advice. We can look up sites to visit and download POIs to make it easier to find them. There are sites with forums where we can ask questions and get feedback from thousands of other travellers. Keeping in contact with family and friends through Skype and social media while we are thousands of kilometres away. We have been travelling in our motorhome for the past five years and have seen many changes in that short space of time.
Finding the Internet
We have established how useful the internet can be but how do you find it when you are travelling?? It is getting easier each year as we travel, more and more places have WIFI and increasingly it’s free.
More campgrounds are offering Wi-Fi as a free service included in the cost of the site. There are campgrounds which still charge some for a modest fee but other for a rip off fee. We stayed in Ljubljana, Slovenia when we had some vehicle problems to sort out. When we first arrived the internet was free, a couple of days later they were issuing tickets for the internet, then a couple a days after that they were charging hefty prices for the internet. While most campsites are providing a free service watch out the prices that others may charge. Some of the internet is quite poor and is only available close to the reception area. See our page on Wi-Fi aerial. We have found a booster aerial to be a great asset.
They seem to be all over Europe, and many of them provide free internet, but not all. All you do is log on once to their site and then in every McDonalds in that county it automatically logs you on. In Spain we were given tickets with codes on them and the ticket lasted for 30 minutes, this was a real inconvenience as when you are on Skype or doing other work on the computer it logs you off and you have to log back on to continue. Having the Wi-Fi aerial also helps as we mostly park out motorhome in the car park or nearby, set up our aerial and use the computer from the motorhome. Sometimes we do feel guilty and go inside to but a coffee or a muffin. Go to our Download Page to the POIs of all the McDonald in Europe this will help you locate them easily.
Cafes and Restaurants
Increasingly cafes and restaurants are providing Wi-Fi, providing you are a customer of course. We often go in for a cup of coffee and spend some time on the internet updating and catching up with the latest news, emailing and updating our blog. Using Skype can be a problem as some places can be a bit noisy. It is free but you may need to ask for the code to log on. We were wild camping on the beach in Ohrid, Macedonia and we hopped on our bikes to see the sights. At a café right on the top of a hill with great view we spent a few hours on the computer while we drank coffee and had a delicious cake. The owners didn’t seem to mind as when a place has people in it other people think that it must be good.
If staying in one country for a length of time you can buy a sim card from the local Telco shops. These usually last for about 30 days and give you a few gigs of data. We are not experts in this and it would pay to read other blogs that do this regularly. We did buy one when we were in Turkey as our trip there was over 5 weeks. In Istanbul we bought a sim card which lasted for a month. We paid about 23€ for it and we never ran out of data the month we used it. We did use free Wi-Fi when we had it and we made sure we didn’t use it for Skype or downloading movies or music. We inserted the card directly into our Samsung Tablet therefore overcoming the problem of purchasing an unlocked dongle. We used it right up to the end of its lifetime and had no problem with it. We plan next year to buy one in Italy as we will be there for four weeks and also in Greece where we hope to travel for five weeks. In France there is always plenty of internet at the local McDonalds and they are plentiful.
Country Guide to Internet during our 2014 Trip
|Italy 2014||We were planning to stay in Italy for several weeks so we decided to buy a sim card. When we crossed the border we located a Vodaphone shop where they a special on which was 7GB’s for a length of 2 months for the price of 39 Euros. This equated to 65 euro cents or about $1 Australian per day. We used the sim card when we didn’t have Wi-Fi available, we even skyped and uploaded blogs etc. At the end of our stay in Italy we had only used 4.5GB’s of the 7 GB’s allocated. It was a great price and we were pleased with the service.|
|Greece 2014||After having great service with Vodaphone in Italy we thought that we would try them again. HOW WRONG WE WERE. We had planned to stay in Greece for many weeks and when we went into the Vodaphone office the best deal they had was 2GB’s for 2 weeks at 20 euros each. A bit expensive but we bought 2 cards which should have lasted 4 weeks. The first card only lasted 4 days, when we went to the Vodaphone shop in the nearest town they said we had used up our data. This was despite our tablet saying that our usage was only 195 MB’s. We then had no option but to put our second card in with a similar result. Even when we took the card out of the tablet we were losing data. Jenny took the card out with 830MB’s and when she put it back in it had 550MB’s. The staff at the Vodaphone shops were less than helpful telling us things about the data usage that just weren’t logical. After I cooled down I vowed never to go near a Vodaphone shop in Greece again. We then tried a sim card from another company called Wind. They were much cheaper and we didn’t go through the data. The coverage was sometimes hit and miss but at least we still had some data left when we left Greece.|
|Germany 2014||At the beginning and end of our trip we travelled through Germany but overall it was only two and a half weeks. All the campsites we stayed at had Wi-Fi, most of the time it was free or only a few euros. At other times we would go to McDonalds and use their free Wi-Fi. Sometimes we would go inside for a coffee and other times we would just park outside and use our aerial.|
|Czech Republic 2014||We expected to stay in the Czech Republic for a few weeks and when were in a large shopping mall we asked at Telcom One about getting a data card. The shopkeeper spoke excellent English and was really helpful. The card cost us 6 euros [$10 Australian] and was preloaded with 500mb’s of data which we could top up if needed. The card was for 12 months. In all other countries we had to produce our passports to get the sim cards, no so here all we needed was an email address. We didn’t have to top up the card as we only used it when we didn’t have Wi-Fi available.|
Read other blogs as to how they manage to find internet and another site to look at is Motorhome Wifi as they sell aerials that may be of help.