By: Lindsay Hogg
If you are a travel writer, or you just need to stay in touch, you’re going to be spending a good chunk of money and time on the Internet. Here are a few tips that can help you cut costs of your internet usage.
1. OFFLINE MODE! This is my favorite Internet savings tool. I work in gmail – and google docs which offer an offline working mode. Google docs is also a great way to backup your files if your computer gives up on life or gets stolen, you have all your files online for access from any computer.
Enabling the offline mode, syncs your email and google documents to you computer so you can access them without an Internet connection. I can go online for 2 minutes to receive all my emails, then disconnect. Now that I have these emails while I am offline, I can read them, write my response and save it as a draft. I then go back online and press send send send, only using a total of 5-7 minutes of Internet. If I had stayed online the whole time I would have used a total of 30-45 minutes. If you are paying per hour or per stay on either a plane or in a hotel/hostel this information does not really help you much, but it is extremely helpful because many of the places you will travel to require a per minute charge.
2. THE COPY AND PASTE! If your email does not provide an offline mode to work with, go in, cut all your emails into a word doc/notepad and go offline. This way you can respond while offline, then cut and paste your reply and send, saving almost as much time if you had offline mode. This is also something to get used to doing if you have to reply to someone on facebook or myspace. Lastly, you can extract articles that you would like to read and either paste them into your google docs or save them to your desktop and just delete them when you are done reading. Don’t spend hours sitting online reading, it’s just text, so copy and paste it.
3. YAY AND NAY TO TOURISTY SPOTS! Hostels are usually surrounded with Internet cafes. There is an upside as well as a downside to this. The upside is that you can compare costs of the different cafes if you are willing to put in the extra time. The downside is that it is still going to be costly and depending on where you are, you may have to use the computers they provide rather than Wi-Fi to access your own lap top. *Keep your most recent documents or images you require on Google Docs or a USB stick for cases like this.
Depending on where you are in the world, there is a chance you can find a coffee shop, library or public place that provides free wifi networks. You can usually check where the closest free Wi-Fi spot is before you depart (see below).
Many travellers will also need to make long distance calls to their friends and families. Although most tourist destinations provide places you can make calls, if you’re logged onto the internet, free calling is fairly easy. Calling from your computer is by far the cheaper way than using a calling car or calling center.