Technology on the go

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Life on the road can be hard, but when you have access to the internet to keep in touch with family and friends, it makes the trip all the more enjoyable. Drew explains how to keep in touch on the road.

Technology Options
There are a few different options available for those looking to hit the open roads travellingAustralia… or even the rest of the world. The three main options are:

  • laptop/netbook
  • tablet computer
  • smartphone

Each of the three options can be adapted to suit your travel needs, it all depends on what you are looking to achieve with the technology, and how much you are willing to spend.

A laptop/netbook can cost you anywhere from $198 up to $2000. If you are purchasing a netbook, you will be receiving a very basic form of technology which is designed for sending emails, surfing the internet and document processing. With a netbook, you get what you pay for. It’s worth paying a little extra for a known brand as netbooks are notorious for having a short life-span. A laptop on the other hand will cost significantly more than a netbook but, is significantly more powerful and can be adapted to a wide range of programs and graphical experiences.

A tablet computer, such as an iPad, will cost you between $400-$900, depending on whether you opt for the iPad 1 or 2, and if you go for Wi-Fi only or include 3G mobile internet. The iPad is very convenient for on-the-road travel as it gives you access to internet, email, games, applications, the ability to read eBooks and hold a video conference, all in the one device.

The last option is a smartphone. Not the first consideration as an option for keeping in touch when travelling, you will be surprised by how much an iPhone, Blackberry, Android or any other style smartphone can do. You will obviously need a phone of your choice which you can use to access email, surf the internet, play games, use handy applications and of course, use the phone as aGPSalong the way.

Internet on the go
As you are constantly travelling, there are three main options for accessing the internet on the go, with two of these options being free.

Free Wi-Fi hotspots

With 1130 free Wi-Fi hotspots around Australia, you can map out where you will visit to check your emails and keep in touch for free on the road.

Free computer use
There are 1560 branches of local public libraries located throughoutAustralia with a further 120 joint-use libraries, mostly in country areas.

The majority of these offer computer use including internet for a short period of time.

Mobile broadband
There are many mobile broadband plans on the market but when you consider the networks available, the best option when travelling around Australia are the Optus and Telstra networks, as you want to go with a company with a large network of towers for fast internet speeds in a wide range of areas.

Depending on how much data you need, there are fixed and pre-paid data plans available from Telstra and Optus which won’t break the bank, starting from $9.95.

Telstra Fixed Plan – //

Telstra Pre-Paid – //

Optus Fixed Plans – //

Optus Pre-Paid – //

Are you or have you been a Grey Nomad? Share your technology experiences below.

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Total Comments: 2
  1. 0

    My partner and I bought a mid-range, 17″ Toshiba laptop for $799 about 18 mths ago. We chose it because it was a good size-for-weight balance. It weighs 2.7kgs, which is as much as you want to lug around. The 17″ screen is a good intermediate size.
    We bought a pre-paid Optus modem for travelling, but I think we would have been better served by buying a Telstra modem, as Telstra has much greater coverage than Optus.

    We try and ensure that any hotels we book have free wi-fi, so we can use the laptop to get emails and check on banking, and check on forum postings. Many hotels think wi-fi charges are the way to a fat profit overnight, so be very aware of those charges.

    We travelled through France, Portugal, Spain, and into Italy in August/September 2010. The laptop was brilliant for booking coaches, checking on airline and hotel bookings, banking, tickets to venues, research on accommodation, and checking out local attractions. When you’re in a certain country, all the Google searches are within that country and language, but you can easily find English webpages within those countries.

    Many European countries have their websites with a multiple choice of languages. We booked our trip which was partly tour group (14 days) and partly on our own (16 days) before we left – but we also bought a 5 day Euro Railpass that we used numerous times as we travelled. These are great value, and you can ride all the European high speed trains with them. The French TGV is excellent, but the Portuguese high speed trains are also top class, very fast (220kmh) and very new.

    I wouldn’t travel without a laptop anywhere today, as online communication and dealing is paramount, and they save so much hassle. In addition, a laptop with free wi-fi, and using emails is cheaper than phone calls, particularly if you get hit with roaming charges as you do in many outback areas.

  2. 0

    Hi Aaron, How much do you pay per month for the pre-paid modem?



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