How Much Data Do You Need to Travel Abroad

How Much Data Do You Need to Travel Abroad

There are so many aspects that you need to consider while planning a vacation or a business trip. When you’re traveling your main concern is how you will keep in touch with your family and friends. If you’re on a business trip, then you will need to stay connected 24/7 in order not to miss a chance to get in touch with your colleagues, partners, clients, etc.

One more concern that most of the travelers have on their minds is the amount of data they will need on their pre-paid international SIM card. On average, smartphone users need more than 3GB of data monthly. However, when you are on vacation you need more data to post images and videos on social media, chat/email/call your friends, etc. So, how much data do you need on a trip? How to prepare your smart devices before you travel abroad in order to remain confident that you won’t be left offline when you need it? How to choose the right data plan for your SIM card and travel WiFi hotspot? Let’s find out.


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Why You’ll Use More Data Abroad?

When you’re at home you access the web and social media platforms via Wi-Fi spots rather than via your cellular data. At home, in the office, in your favorite cafe, cinema, etc. you reach the Wi-Fi spots quite regularly.

When you are on your vacation, you will have Wi-Fi in the airport or your hotel room. Still, you will be missing it while you are on-the-go. In addition to the more active posting in social media, you are likely to be using Google Maps more frequently. You will also need to chat in messengers and make urgent phone calls. That is why you need more data.


How Much Data Do I Use Now?

One of the best ways to determine how much data you will need while you travel abroad is to check your mobile phone bills, data usage insights, and the apps that consume the biggest amount of data when you use them actively or when they remain in the background.

If you feel like your local mobile data provider will charge you extra cash for the roaming data usage, then it's better to be prepared for the trip and opt for a more cost-effective solution in advance. For example, Keepgo provides travelers with lifetime 4G LTE data SIM cards and mobile Wi-Fi hotspots, which will help you stay online no matter what popular destination you travel to. If you leave for a business trip or vacation on your own, then Keepgo international data SIM card will come in handy. The 3-in-1 SIM kit contains 1GB of data, which will be just enough in order to stay connected without worrying about extra roaming charges or the necessity to hunt for free hotel Wifi.

If you travel with family or friends, then the Keepgo portable mobile WiFi hotspot might suit you better. It connects up to 16 devices to the Internet (including smartphones, laptops, and tablets). Basically, this is your personal Wi-Fi network that allows you and everyone connected to have unlimited and secure access to the Internet.


So How Can I Monitor My Data Usage?

It’s easy to check how much data you consume right in your smartphone settings. Based on this knowledge, you can decide on the best data plan that you can order for your future trip.

To check how much data you consume on your iPhone, take the following steps:

  • Open Settings. 
  • Tap Cellular option.
  • Scroll down to the "Cellular Data Usage" section. The "Current Period" shos all data usage since you last cleared your data usage statistics, and "Current Period Roaming," which shows data usage for areas in which your phone wasn't covered by the carrier.
  • Scroll down to view a list of apps that use Cellular Data. These will be listed beneath the "CELLULAR DATA" heading; any app with a green switch to its right is able to use data.

If you have an Android device, then checking your data usage is as easy as to:

  • Open Settings;
  • Tap Data Usage, and view your stats; 
  • You can also tap Cellular Data Usage and view the specifics of what apps/services are using your data.

How Much Data Do Different Apps Use?

Different apps use mobile data differently. Some of them consume data more economically, while others require more data volume. Take a look at the following estimates in order to calculate how much data you will need when you are on a trip.

Apps with high data usage:

  • Facebook: 100MB per hour
  • Instagram: 100MB per hour
  • Web browsing: 60MB per hour
  • Twitter: 45MB per hour
  • Skype video call: 45MB per hour

More economic apps:

  • WhatsApp video call: 12MB –  45MB per hour
  • Facebook Messenger Call: 19MB per hour
  • Google Maps usage: 36MB Per hour


Average Data Usage in the US and EU

The amount of data that you will need for your future trip depends on the country to which you go. The average data usage in the US and EU varies depending on the territory where you’ll stay.  

According to Global Data Report that was published on December 4th, citizens and residents of the EU consume 2.4GB of data per 1 SIM monthly. As per the data usage in the US, you will need from 2GB to 5GB of data per device (according to the major reports). According to’s report, the average data usage per 1 subscriber in the US is roughly 3.9 GB per month.

The amount of mobile data consumption depends on the age groups of consumers.’s report reveals the following stats of data usage per SIM per month in the US:

  • 18-24 years: 3.2GB
  • 25-34 years: 3.6GB
  • 35-44 years: 2.9GB
  • 45-54 years: 2.2GB
  • 55-64 years: 1.4GB
  • 65 years and older: 0.9GB

In the EU, the highest spectrum of the data usage (per SIM per month) is registered in:

  • Finland - 13.3GB
  • Austria - 5.7GB
  • Poland - 3.7GB
  • Russia - 3.5GB

On the other hand, the lowest mobile data consumption is registered in Ukraine, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Germany, with the average data usage of less than 1GB per 1 SIM every month.

Buy a data package in advance. Check out the packages that your carrier offers for your destination. For example, choosing 1GB of mobile data included in the Keepgo international data SIM card you may expect to get*:

-  1GB of mobile data included in the Lifetime 4G LTE data SIM, you may expect to get:

  •  170 minutes of streaming HD videos
  •  2600 online page visits
  •  1000 minutes of streaming music files
  •  130 minutes of video calling
  •  350 photos upload and download
  •  12000 minutes of GPS navigation
  •  Sending or receiving 100000 of text-only emails

- 1GB for mobile hotspot, in turn, may be enough for:

  •  30 minutes of streaming HD videos
  •  1000 online page visits
  •  1000 minutes of streaming music files
  •  130 minutes of video calling
  •  350 photos upload and download
  •  1300 minutes of playing online games
  •  Sending or receiving 150000 of text-only emails

Based on estimates of approximate data usage of Keepgo clients, actual usage may vary*

The best thing about both of these plans is that the GB won’t expire even if you do not use it during one trip. For example, if you leave for a vacation or a business trip to Germany and spend only 0.5 GB of data there, the remaining 0.5 GB will be left untouched for your future trip. Moreover, if your mobile data runs low, you will receive an automatic notification that your balance reached the 250 MB, 100 MB, and 0 MB. If the data is consumed too fast, you may receive 1 notification only. Also, choosing the auto-refill option you will never run out of data since 1 GB of data will be added as soon as your balance falls below 100 MB.


How to Prepare Your Smartphone to Travel Abroad

Whether you will spend a weekend abroad or spend a couple of months in a foreign country, you need to prepare your smartphone for the future trip. Here is a quick checklist of the things that you need to do in order not to over-use your smartphone data and stay connected whenever it’s needed.

Unlock your phone. If you are not sure if your mobile device is unlocked, try using it with a SIM from a different carrier.

Minimize the background data transfers. Disable the automatic email downloads and refreshes of background apps. Also, switch off automatic synching to such services as iCloud, Dropbox, Google, etc. When abroad, turn on the automatic synchronization when you have access to Wi-Fi only. While scrolling down the news feed in Facebook and Instagram, make sure that you stop videos from playing automatically.

Disable those apps, the usage of which isn’t critical while you are on a trip. On the iOS-based devices, this can be done via Settings > Cellular and a list of apps that are installed on your smartphone. On Android devices, this is achieved via Settings > Data Usage and a scroll down to the list of apps.

Use apps that will help you control the data consumption.  For example, make use of My Data Manager app, which notifies you about the data consumption and makes it possible for you to limit the data usage via settings. The app is compatible with both iOS and Android devices.

The owners of hotspot-enabled devices can take control of hotspot WiFi signals usage while specifying ‘metered’ connections. As a smartphone or tablet owner, you can set the limit of the hotspot data usage in the network restriction settings. For example, the owners of Android devices can achieve this while tapping Settings > Data usage > Network restrictions. There will be a list of all saved Wi-Fi networks in front of you. Find your hotspot and tag it as a ‘metered’ network. Easy!


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In Conclusion

There are limitless options to stay connected when you are on a business trip or vacation today. Wi-Fi hotspots in airports or hotels may seem to be the cheapest options for travelers, however these do not provide you with the constant access to the web when you are on the go. It’s way more reasonable to opt for the pre-paid mobile data plans for data usage abroad. Keepgo, for example, delivers flexible refill options and global coverage, which allows you to stay connected when you travel to the most popular destinations.

Top illustration by Storyset