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How to find cellular access when traveling (without international roaming)

Glenn Fleishman | July 8, 2015
A short trip from Seattle to Vancouver, B.C., shows how thin our conduit is to connectivity—and how expensive an international pipe remains.

Unplug, tune out, charge up

On our Vancouver trip, we hit the perfect storm. Our Airbnb host didn't text information about how to check in until after we crossed the border, though we'd told her in advance that we'd have no cell access. I wound up having to turn on cell access to receive a couple of messages, which led me to a nearby coffeeshop that handles key exchanges, and their Wi-Fi network, which let me onto Airbnb's app, which provided the rest of the details I needed.

We only spent a couple of dollars extra to be as connected as we wanted to be on the trip, but we'll plan more wisely next time, so that we don't feel ourselves adrift on a sea with mobile, mobile everywhere, and not a bit to drink--except at a high price.


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