Before you set off to a longer journey beyond the borders of your homeland it is good to think about how to remain available and online while travelling. For those travelling to unexplored and potentially dangerous destinations by car we recommend to take the GPS tracker with you. The device permanently monitors your position and sends the information online. In this way you can keep your parents and friends up-to-date and let them follow your progress in real time.
During our expedition To Gibraltar through Nordkapp that took place from June till November 2016 we regularly needed to get online. We preferred to connect via the available free WiFi networks in order not to spend too much money on connectivity. We anyway had a SIM card from Slovak Telekom with us as a back-up. The SIM card operated a tariff Happy and Euro Roaming service (within EU, Norway, Lichtenstein, Iceland and Switzerland 0,13€/min. for the outgoing and 0,06€/min. for the incoming calls, 0,06€ for the outgoing SMS and 0,39 for the outgoing MMS).
During our expedition we crossed 16 European countries and two ministates: Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal, Andorra, Monaco, Switzerland and Austria. In all countries listed above (with the exception of Andorra) Telekom cooperates with its roaming partners in order to provide 4G connection. Based on our experience we can confirm the quality of the signal. Of course, there were some outlying places where we fell to EDGE. It was however always possible to at least make phone calls.
We recorded minor problems only in Lithuania. Although the cell phone indicated 3G signal, the data transfer did not happen at all. Since we always could find another solution how to get online in Lithuania we never were forced to consequently solve this problem. After eight days spent in the country we moved on anyway and entered Latvia. From here on everything was working fine again: the automatic carrier search as well as the 3G connection.
We like the SMS
After each country border crossing we automatically received an SMS with the information on tariffs valid in the particular country. Additionally, we always received contact information of the nearest Slovak embassy.
We also found very practical and helpful the SMS notifications indicating the 80% and 100% consumption of our data allowance. We appreciated that after the data being exhausted the data transfer was stopped automatically. In this way we could be sure that we would not overdraw our data allowance or pay more than we wanted.
We however recommend you to be clever and learn from our mistakes: do not forget that even in Europe you have to remain careful. Some European mini states (in our case it was Andorra and Monaco) are not part of the European Union. The tariffs for calls and data transfer on their territory are therefore different. Gain more information here.
If you travel within EU it is not necessary to be too bothered with how to stay online. If we would have not received the SMS after each border crossing we would have not realized that we traveled with a Slovak SIM card or that we were in roaming. Of course, the prices are a bit higher in comparison with the prices you pay at home. The difference is anyway not so painful anymore as it used to be in the past.
Moreover, we hope that the EU legislation will soon bring the market unification. Then the prices will be unitary in the whole EU and we will be able to finally forget for good the word “roaming”.