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I believe there are many ways to hook up the internet, but what is the cheapest way to get wifi in Europe? Most companies provide portable wifi device for 100 bucks for ten days plus shipping. Is there any better deal? Thanks!
 

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I believe there are many ways to hook up the internet, but what is the cheapest way to get wifi in Europe? Most companies provide portable wifi device for 100 bucks for ten days plus shipping. Is there any better deal? Thanks!
Do not do that. Then, you are stuck with the device (unless you visit Europe or other countries very frequently).

Go to a place where they sell mobile phones/devices and buy a pre-paid sim card (you can always add more Euros if you run out).

If you have an iPad that takes a sim card, put the new sim card in your iPad (or any tablet that takes a sim card) and use that tablet as a hotspot. Or do the same with your phone.

Every time I go to Europe, I use my iPad as a hotspot and works perfectly.
 

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wifi was in just about every place we visited. The only time we didn't have wifi was on the highways between major cities, but we didn't really need it then.
 

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You should find free WiFi Internet access in most hotels and maybe other places that you visit.

If you are looking for Internet connectivity for other situations (for example, when you drive for navigation and/or traffic) you'll need some kind of mobile carrier connectivity. In the US there are a couple of different mobile carrier standards: CDMA (Verizon and Sprint) and GSM (T-Mobile and AT&T). The networks in Europe are generally GSM based - if you have a Sprint or Verizon based device it will likely not work in Europe.

Additional notes

Many carriers now have LTE (aka 4G) capabilities - and those often use SIM cards (including Verizon) ... but unless the device is designed to operate on the European frequencies putting an European SIM card in it won't necessarily work.

Many devices sold / obtained in the US are locked to the carrier that provided the device. If that's the case - putting a SIM card from a different carrier in it won't work. (In many cases you can call your carrier and they may be willing to give you codes to unlock it.)

Some carriers also disable the hotspot feature on a device unless you have a plan that allows it. I ran into a scenario once where putting a foreign SIM in a device worked for voice and data on that device ... but I couldn't turn on the hotspot capability.

If your US based mobile carrier is not one of the big four mentioned above, check to see what technology they use (to see if your device will work on Eu networks).

Consider getting a used unlocked device: Apple in the US sold iPhone 4 / 4s devices unlocked for use on T-Mobile and other GSM networks prior to formally supporting those networks. While these devices are now considered old and outdated, they should be cheap on the used market and would work just fine for mobile hotspot connectivity in Europe.
 

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During our 2012 OSD (21 days, 6 countries), our 2013 Normandy-since-we-didn't-get-there-during-OSD, and our latest UK/Scotland trip (just home), wifi was available pretty much everywhere. Just about every B&B/pension will have them. McD's is a great source too. We'd take the tablet in, buy a coffee or soda, sit at a table, and make our hotel reservations for the night.

On my latest trip, I had wifi available every night; one was so weak to almost be unusable. That day I used my smartphone to make reservations; I was in an area without great coverage so I pulled off the road when I found it. The local Tourist Information was closed so I couldn't use them. Since I was in the UK the entire time, I used a giffgaff SIM. You can get them shipped to the US; I hit the local Tesco for a topup (you pay the cashier, you get a code). 15 GBP for 3 Gb of 4G data for a month (although I was only there 2 weeks).

I verified my phone was GSM worldphone and unlocked before making the trip.

Oh yes, most pubs I visited had wifi too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you all for the info! I decided to get a SIM card, put down some money and refill when necessary. My OSD will be in the beginning of Oct.
 

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During our 2012 OSD (21 days, 6 countries), our 2013 Normandy-since-we-didn't-get-there-during-OSD, and our latest UK/Scotland trip (just home), wifi was available pretty much everywhere. Just about every B&B/pension will have them. McD's is a great source too. We'd take the tablet in, buy a coffee or soda, sit at a table, and make our hotel reservations for the night.

On my latest trip, I had wifi available every night; one was so weak to almost be unusable. That day I used my smartphone to make reservations; I was in an area without great coverage so I pulled off the road when I found it. The local Tourist Information was closed so I couldn't use them. Since I was in the UK the entire time, I used a giffgaff SIM. You can get them shipped to the US; I hit the local Tesco for a topup (you pay the cashier, you get a code). 15 GBP for 3 Gb of 4G data for a month (although I was only there 2 weeks).

I verified my phone was GSM worldphone and unlocked before making the trip.

Oh yes, most pubs I visited had wifi too.
Absolutely. That is the best way to go and that is what I do each year, when I spend time in Europe.
 

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Thank you all for the info! I decided to get a SIM card, put down some money and refill when necessary. My OSD will be in the beginning of Oct.
Have fun on your OSD adventure......
 

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Thank you all for the info! I decided to get a SIM card, put down some money and refill when necessary. My OSD will be in the beginning of Oct.
That works best if you're staying in the same country (like the UK during my recent trip). I was advised not to bother by a phone store employee in Gothenburg during our OSD trip since the roaming costs would be high.
 

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That works best if you're staying in the same country (like the UK during my recent trip). I was advised not to bother by a phone store employee in Gothenburg during our OSD trip since the roaming costs would be high.
Absolutely correct.
 

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Parking close to "a big Burger-distributor" and use their hot-spot always works, although somewhat less practical. :)
 

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Parking close to "a big Burger-distributor" and use their hot-spot always works, although somewhat less practical. :)
True. But I figure if I'm going to use their wifi, I should throw a little money their way (even if just for a drink). Feel the same way about bathroom stops at those facilities too.
 
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