International Roaming Charges, Prepaid Packages… How do I know which one to get and how much it will cost me?
Don’t worry – this used to stump me, too… and I’m a geek, and it still stumped me!
Here’s a relatively simple way to calculate how much data you will need on your trip.
For the amount of time you are going to be away, jot down in a notebook how much time you currently spend doing the following:
- Steaming music
- Streaming videos
- Surfing the web
- Posting to social media
- Downloading games, apps or songs
- Talking on the phone
- …and how many emails you receive and send.
Now at least you have a benchmark for what you are using NOW.
OK, let’s see how that translates into Mb (megabytes) and Gb (gigabytes). Please note, the following are broad generalizations but will at least give you a guide so you can have some idea of how much data you might use on your trip.
Emails: For emails that do not have attachments, it takes around 500 emails to make 1Mb (but bear in mind, that includes all those nasty spam emails that you never see! You may have 3 spam emails going to your junk folder for every 1 you actually read).
Emails with attachments depend on the size of the attachment, but generally speaking it takes 2 or 3 emails with attachments to reach 1Mb.
Social Media: 2-3 social media posts equal 1Mb.
Video: Standard video is around 250Mb/hr while HD is close to 1Gb (1024Mb).
Music: Streaming music is 30Mb/hr.
Downloads: Every app, song, game you download average out at around 4Mb each.
Web Surfing: Approximately 15Mb/hr.
Talking: This, along with video, is a real data guzzler! Around 360Mb/hr.
Now, it’s time to do your calculations.
Take the respective numbers from your notebook, multiply them by how much data they use and then do the same for the next item. When you are finished, tally up the number of Mb.
In some cases your carrier will quote you prices in Mb, others will quote you in Gb.
1MB = 1,024KB
1GB = 1,024MB
Some people are surprised at just how much data they use in an average month!
At least this way you know where that data is going, and you can make smart choices about where to use your (more expensive) data when you are overseas.
By Leigh St John, aka the Luxurious Nomad
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