Nowadays, the Internet is a standard daily necessity for travellers on the road. We all want to share our stories, photos and emails with friends and the head office! Services are often cloud-based and being “online” is really important, especially for travellers on the road like us.
As ‘travelling travel agents’ we have all our business systems “on the cloud”. The cool part is that while hiking a track in a National Park, we should be able to work and share all that important content….theoretically. But network challenges can occur and the key issue for us is having good internet connection throughout New Zealand.
The main centres are generally fine and you have “ultra fast” speed. Some connection in the more remote parts of the country is very slow. So how do you prepare for this while travelling? What are your options with being successfully online as much as possible?
Wireless Internet Connection:
Using wireless internet connections in hotels, lodges and B&B’s, is now pretty much a given. And up to a certain ‘data cap’, there is usually no additional charge. However there are some hotels that still charge horrendous fees! Travellers should also be aware that the actual internet speed at each property can vary, depending on what connection, plan and line provider they have.
Using your smart phone’s data as a “hotspot” – this works ok as long as you are only downloading emails and browsing the occasional website. For more serious work (e.g. cloud-base applications and uploading pictures etc.) you need to be careful NOT to go over your data allowance, which often is 1.5 GB per month (this will depend on the plan you are on though!).
Spark (formerly known as Telecom) generally offer the best data network in New Zealand. If you are into serious work while on the road, get yourself a portable unit (cost about $100) and buy some data. But make sure you go onto a “data plan” of some sort. I first went on “prepaid” for NZ$20 and this used in only 1 hour! After a quick call to the Spark helpline, I went on to a 3GB data plan for NZ$49, which I can use inside 30 days. Please note: there are a number of options, so check these online before you travel.
Phone Wifi Points:
Phone Wifi-Points are generally placed with Spark retail shops or at the good old phone boxes along the road!
If you have a monthly NZ$49 PHONE-data-text plan, you also get a daily 1 GB of data allowance through those wifi points. This looks likes a pretty good option, if you want to upload lots of photos from your phone or iPad. Please note: you will log in and get a password each time you use it. This option looks ok to me, however the interesting part is that you cannot use this daily 1GB allowance as a “hotspot” with other devises like a laptop.
OK folks, so there are a few good options for travellers in New Zealand. You might have some other ideas or smart options that I’m not aware of so please feel free to share these with us!
Happy touring with good internet connection for travellers in New Zealand!