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
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.
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!
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. 🙂