If you are planning a trip to India, whether it is for a gap year adventure, a vacation or a business trip, you have probably already taken care of things like checking if you need any vaccinations or malaria medicine for the region you are going to, and finding out the places you want to stay in and visit. One thing you may not have thought so much about, however, is what you are going to do about your phone and internet access.
Photo by Reuben Strayer
If you are planning to visit remote places and experience India, you may not even really want to have to be bothered by things like checking your email, but the fact is that a phone and an internet connection can be a lifesaver when you are far from home. If you are going on business to one of India's professional hubs like Chennai, Bangalore or Mumbai, connectivity will be an essential. Here we look at a couple of things to do before you go to help you stay connected.
Use a VPN
A VPN, or 'virtual private network', is a network you can access that is secure, and can make it seem that as a network presence, you are actually in a different location to where you are. When you use things like hotel Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi hotspots at places like airports or restaurants, a VPN protects your data. Not just in India, but all over the world, data gets hacked in public networks, so before you go, it is well worth subscribing to a VPN service you can log in to every time you access the web on your trip. Another benefit of using one of the many secure VPN services that are often used in India by travellers is that you won't have any regional issues, for example with web content like videos not playing because while they are accessible in your home region, they are not available in India.
Hire a Phone
If you don't like the idea of paying roaming charges or if you want to use your regular mobile phone in India, you can hire a phone before you go to use there. This will allow you to choose the level of service you need (calls, SMS and/or data), and pay a predictable rate each day for the phone, rather than the often confusing roaming charges. With many providers you can choose the model of phone you want, and can also insure it (if insurance isn't included in the package) for a small amount each day, meaning you don't have to worry about taking your own phone somewhere it may get lost, stolen or damaged.
You can stay connected in India fairly easily, but it is worth making sure you have taken security and potential cost into account in your plans ahead of your trip. Simple things like using a VPN can save you a lot of trouble down the line in terms of security, and avoiding roaming fees by renting a mobile can make staying connected more affordable.