The Internet has morphed into a necessary extension of humanity. The sudden onset ubiquity of smartphones has allowed people to carry the Internet around wherever we go. All day, every day, we have access to unprecedented amounts of information, which means that we no longer need to use biological (brains) or physical (papers) means to remember information. Western populations, at least, have become wholly dependent on the Internet to survive and thrive. Luckily, the Internet is everywhere — or is it?
Many overseas travelers have probably noted that finding a connection outside one’s home country is trickier than one might expect. Unlike the United States, where Wi-Fi is available in virtually every store on any city block, most foreign countries guard their Internet connections, making it exceedingly difficult for Western travelers to navigate while overseas. Though there are a handful of solutions — foremost among them owning an Iridium GO Wi-Fi Hotspot — to this harrowing travel dilemma, many travelers continue to flounder without the Internet in these particular ways.
1. To Find Your Way
It has been a quick hop, skip, and jump between a time when people could understand locations based on street addresses alone and a time when we cannot find our neighborhood grocery store without directions from a GPS. Most people rely wholly on digital systems to help them navigate even in familiar cities — but for some reason, during trips abroad, they feel the need to rely on Stone Age–era directions to find their way.
Having access to the Internet in a foreign city allows travelers access to digital map resources. Without the hassle of confusing directions from barely coherent locals, travelers can quickly and efficiently locate desirable destinations — like attractions, restaurants, and meeting spots — replete with easy-to-follow paths. Gone are the days when travelers must wander vaguely in pursuit of their destinations, as long as they have reliable Internet access on the go.
2. To Do Work
Globalization is requiring more and more business to take place over the Internet as well as overseas, which means millions of American workers will find themselves flying all over the world for their companies. Conducting business overseas is difficult work, not only because of the distraction of foreign temptations — sights, sounds, smells — but because the Internet, the life-blood of modern industry, is so hard to come by.
Traveling business people with reliable Internet can more effectively complete their daily employment tasks while also completing crucial overseas errands for their companies. Thus, companies who supply their workers with dependable connections during their travels will surely see an increase in productivity.
3. To Connect With Family and Friends
Traveling is an extraordinary, eye-opening experience. Seeing new lands and cultures allows a broadening of the mind and an interconnection with the world in ways unimaginable from the comfort of one’s home couch. However, traveling is also an alienating and lonely experience; even when accompanied by a partner or friendly group, most travelers feel the slow ache of yearning for friendly faces at some point during their wanderings.
In just the past decade, website developers have shown just how effective the Internet can be at bringing people together. Whether through social media updates, text-based chat, or video messages, travelers can use the Internet to check up on the goings-on with friends and family no matter the distance between them.
4. To Amend Travel Plans
Travel requires strict planning — as well as a sense of spontaneity. Most frequent travelers will explain how difficult it can be to go anywhere without a basic itinerary, but they will also say that visiting any destination without an open mind and a flexible schedule will certainly be a waste. Travel is all about adventure, and deviating from the plan often allows for more excitement and better stories.
It is significantly easier to investigate changes in travel plans using the Internet. Travelers can look into available flights to new destinations, alternative lodgings in remote regions, or even possible tours in unfamiliar areas. Conversely, without an Internet connection, impulsive travelers must take unnecessary risk and potentially put themselves in harm’s way.
5. To Research Fast Facts
Often, people overlook the luxury of having all of the world’s knowledge at our fingertips. We may wonder what actress played that role in that movie — and with a simple search on our phones, we’ll know instantly. We may wonder how much cats sleep — and in seconds, we’ll pull up a whole list of cat facts. However, travelers are exploring foreign lands often are confronted with even more frequent nagging questions — How old is this monument? Who is the Prime Minister of this country? Being able to connect to the Web has important benefits like safety and efficiency, but it also has simple pleasures as well, and when travelers are alone in a strange country, the simple pleasures can be feel significant.
Written by Steve Manley