The Basics

The Best Device For Free Global Data

Global internet
Written by Charlie

More now than ever, travelers are looking for ways to stay connected when they are on the road. However, that desire to stay connected does not linger just within the borders of the US. When people are traveling internationally, there is still a feeling of disconnect if they do not get the familiar data signs on their phones. 🙂

Scott from Hack My Trip had a great write-up yesterday on T-Mobile’s free international internet (requires that you already have a plan with them). If you are interested in that service or thinking of switching wireless providers, I encourage you to read that post. Also this week, I will be posting another guide to international travel – this time for communication, so look for that as well.

The Best Device For Free Global Data

Even with an option like T-Mobile’s plan, you are still paying for service in the US to get access to the free international data (though, in all fairness, you are probably already paying for cell service in the US, so it is just a question of who you want your carrier to be). Obviously, it would be great to have a device that gives you free data anywhere in the world (that has cell towers). There is one device that provides that, but I warn you – it is not for everyone!

The device I am talking about is the Amazon Kindle with Keyboard WiFi/3G. This is one of the older generation Kindles and it has been capped in terms of the data it used to have but if you value the ability to have free internet anywhere you go, then this little guy has to be in your bag! It does have limitations (you won’t be using it to stream video), but it has certainly worked in a pinch for me!

Kindle with Keyboard 3G

Free global internet

The Kindle with Keyboard 3G gives you free global internet

When this Kindle first came out, it offered unlimited international data. Yes, it was (and is) slow and, yes, you are dealing with a very primitive browser (Amazon calls it the Experimental Browser). But, as it is with things like this, it was not long before techies figured out how to hack the device and use it for their computer’s wireless access point – in other words, free internet for their computers/devices anywhere in the world. Amazon did what was expected and ended up imposing a limit.

Amazon set a limit on the data used by their experimental browser at 50MB per month. While that sounds extremely limiting, it is actually not too bad. If you have used the experimental browser before, you know that it does not support data-hogging aspects of the internet. It is also not a color screen so any graphics downloaded are very small in size.

What Uses?

So, what use is a device that is limited to 50MB per month with a last century browser? It comes in as a great device in a pinch, without a question. I have used it to check and write e-mail as well as check on my flights from countries all over the world. It loaded in a timely manner and, with the keyboard, it is quite easy to type e-mails on web-based accounts (such as GMail and Yahoo).

This works as a great tool to give you access to internet whenever you need it, wherever you are. If you look at the coverage map, it covers most major metropolitan areas around the world. It should give you the access you need – all for free!

Global internet

The internet coverage on the Kindle is quite good

Getting the Kindle with Keyboard 3G

Unfortunately, Amazon does not make this Kindle anymore. Not only that, but the current Kindle with 3G that is sold by Amazon does not have the ability to use the experimental browser when on 3G. So, this means you are left to find the Kindle with Keyboard 3G on the secondhand market. You can find them on Amazon from third-party sellers quite often (for around $75-80) or on eBay (for less than that price).

To have access to the global internet, you do not need to do anything! Just register it to your Amazon account and you are set to go. You will not be charged for the internet so you do not need to sign up for any plan.

Again, this device has limitations when it comes to the internet – that is why Amazon calls it experimental. Even after multiple generations, the browser has stayed in experimental mode. As such, do not expect to be accomplishing a lot of work on the device and its internet connection, but do look at it as a great tool that gives you internet access wherever you are. Plus, you can read a ton of books on the device as well. 🙂

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • This is a fascinating post.

    So just to be clear:

    1) I buy this kindle for $75-80;

    2) I can use it on upcoming trips to Sydney/Paris/Berlin/Hong Kong with 50MG data anywhere in those cities;

    3) Can you find a way to tether it to your phone?

    4) Any other uses?

    thanks for the post!

  • Good tip. Unfortunately I don’t take my Kindle on International trips. I take my iPad, loaded with the Kindle app for reading, because it serves so many purposes. Photo editing and storage, games, email, social media, notes, etc. is it really worth taking a second device and charger? Depends on the destination and the individual, I guess.

  • +1 to this idea. I have the kindle keyboard and have used it across china, uruguay, turkey, and peru to check email. Totally saved me when my flight to lima was diverted to a backwater airport for hours. I was able to email my father in law to rebook my connecting flight.