“We’re All Connected” is the slogan New York Telephone used to remind everyone that no one is further than a phone call away. I think today the slogan would be “We’re Always Connected” or that’s at least the way it feels. Don’t agree with me? What happens in your house when the internet goes out? Everyone becomes a member of tech support, trying to reset routers and checking connections so we can get back online. Forget if it’s an external problem and you need to use your phone’s connection. (Note from Sharon: Well, if you get decent reception in your house, anyway. We don’t.)
Travel used to be one of the times you’d be able to get away from it all if you wanted to, but that’s no longer the case. There’s hardly anywhere in the world you can be disconnected, whether on an island in the Maldives, in the middle of the ocean on a cruise line or 35,000 feet in the air on an airplane. Almost wherever you are, you’re not far from a WiFi connection.
So now that you’re only a second away from being online, what are your options for staying connected while traveling outside your home country? Continue reading “What Are Your Internet Options When Traveling Internationally?”
Back in 2017, Sharon and I broke up with AT&T and switched to T-Mobile as our cell phone provider. It was a big change for us and we have been saving $60 a month on our phone bill ever since. For everyday usage, we still have the same horrible reception at our house as with T-Mobile as we had with AT&T (Note from Sharon: even though there’s a frickin’ cell phone tower less than a mile form our house. What’s up with that???). However, one of the big benefits of changing to T-Mobile was their international roaming program. When we switched, this was an industry leading benefit but since then other companies have copied the program.
To remain competitive, T-Mobile modified the terms of their travel program in July 2018, increasing the number of countries included from 154 to over 210. They also started charging more for actual phone calls, raising the price from 20 cents to 25 cents per minute. You still get unlimited text and data. Since I (Note from Sharon: We) feel this way about using my (our) phone(s) to talk to people, this works out just fine:
The T-Mobile data plan is capped at 2G speeds so we were worried about being hampered with downloading data, but T-Mobile does offer an upgrade if you want to get high-speed data while overseas:
Includes up to 512MB of high speed data plus Smartphone Mobile Hotspot and unlimited calling for 24 hours in more than 210 countries and destinations. If you use all your high speed data during the 24 hour period, you will experience slower data speeds but continue to have unlimited calling for the rest of the period. You may purchase 2 passes per line in 24-hours. Once you’re out of high-speed data on your first pass, your second pass will begin, and the 24-hour period will restart.
The cost of 512MB of high-speed data is $5 per day and you can purchase two passes per day. We filed that info away in case we needed it but planned on trying to live with slow internet.
So how did the program work?
Continue reading “All About Our First Experience With The T-Mobile International Internet Plan”
If I have to choose what type to points to earn for purchases, transferrable points currencies will always be at the top of the list. Chase Ultimate Rewards, a form of transferable points, is always an account I need to replenish. Next to signing up for new credit cards for bonuses, earning points for everyday spending is the best way for us to earn points. One of our biggest monthly expenses is our internet and cell phone bill and by having this card, I can earn 5x points on both of those in my sleep.
I’m dating myself here but originally, we didn’t have this card. Back in the day, Sharon applied for the Chase Ink Business Bold card. Back then, the Bold was a charge card and you needed to pay the balance in full every month. Chase eventually turned it into a credit card and stopped new signups since it was exactly the same as the Chase Ink Plus. You can add the Ink Bold to the list of discontinued credit cards that we’ve owned.
We kept the card for a while after it was phased out and eventually decided to downgrade to the Chase Ink Cash card instead of having to continue paying the annual fee to keep the Ink Bold.
I think it was the right decision, as the Ink Cash keeps all the benefits of its predecessor but doesn’t charge an annual fee. At the time, the Ink Cash card didn’t pay a sign-up bonus but now that it does, it makes more sense than ever to sign up for it.
Continue reading “Credit Card Review: Chase Ink Cash”
Ever since Sharon and I have started writing Your Mileage May Vary, we’ve learned that having reliable internet access is a necessity when we’re traveling. That’s not such a big problem now that most hotel rooms offer WiFi connections. But even those connections aren’t always the best and occasionally we’ll find ourselves sitting in a hotel lobby updating the website because we just can’t connect from the room.
In the meantime, there’s a whole different problem we’ve discovered, particularly since Sharon purchased a Chromebook. While she loves it because it’s really light and tends to load webpages faster than even her desktop (and was a ton cheaper than getting another MacBook), its main drawback is that it requires an internet connection to do almost anything. More than once, we’ve gotten to a hotel and turned on the computer only to see this:
Continue reading “How To Log Onto A WiFi Network When You Can’t Get The Login Page To Open”
We always use a VPN while traveling and connecting to the internet over a public Wi-Fi network. It keeps our private information, well, it keeps it private. It also allows you to fool your server into thinking you’re somewhere else so we can watch TV shows from the UK and people from outside the U.S. can read the Orlando Sentinel, for example. We’ve been using WiTopia for several years but we recently had to look for a new provider.
See, when we started writing the blog, we needed to look for a inexpensive laptop that would allow us to write articles while on the road. Our MacBook Air was showing its age and we didn’t want to spend that much on a computer we didn’t need to use that often. We decided to get a HP Chromebook. It did everything we wanted, cost a fraction of a comparable Mac product and had a much longer battery life.
After buying the Chromebook, I tried to install the personalVPN from WiTopia onto the Chromebook. Major fail. I checked the help page of the WiTopia website and found this disclaimer:
Continue reading “Why We Had To Find A New VPN”