How to stay connected while in New York

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Staying connected when travelling has become more important that ever for Australians travelling to New York or anywhere overseas. As we become more and more reliant on our smart phones and tablets ensuring that you avoid horrendously outrageous data roaming fees and unsecure free Wi-Fi hotspots is now an important part planning any overseas adventure.

It’s pre-paid so there is no need to worry about horrendous data roaming charges

Whether you are travelling for business or pleasure being able to easily communicate with family, friends or colleagues back home in Australia when visiting New York is of the utmost importance (particularly if you are travelling with teenage kids) in today’s connected world.

During my travels to New York I have tried almost every option available from purchasing a dedicated roaming data pack from my Australian telco, to relying solely on free Wi-Fi, purchasing a prepaid US sim-card and data plan but by far the most economical option which provided the best coverage was when I purchased a pre-paid wireless hotspot (device) from Verizon Wireless and added a pre-paid data pack.

 The size of the Verizon Ellipsis Jetpack makes is very portable

Anyone can purchase a Jetpack Ellipsis (pictured above) when you arrive in the United States. All you will need is a current form of government issued ID (e.g. your Passport) and a local contact number. I have never had any issues when signing up, I have either used the hotel I was staying at, or in most cases the sales assistant has realised I was from overseas and they have just used the store phone number as the contact number.

Purchasing and activating a prepaid wireless hotspot means that you can remain connected throughout the US even if you are travelling to different cities.

Pros

  • Readily available WiFi for when you want to connect – No need to search for the nearest Starbucks or McDonald’s to check your emails or share your Times Square selfie on Facebook
  • Secure connection – you can safely do your internet banking whilst on holidays to check your bank balance and to make sure you have enough money left at the end to hit Macy’s, Saks 5th Ave or Bloomingdales one last time
  • Connect up to 5 devices – the whole family can stay connected securely
  • The device is pre-paid so no need to worry about horrendous data roaming charges

Cons

  • Connected to one device the Jetpack will generally only last about 6 – 7 hours (less if you have more than once device connected) which means if you are out all day sightseeing don’t plan on sending any emails or posting anything to social media til you are back at your hotel
  • Recharging online can be difficult if you don’t have a US credit card. The best way I have found to recharge is to purchase a pre-paid credit card from Duane Reade or Walgreen’s and this will work fine. Or you can just drop into any Verizon Wireless store and they can organise it all for you.

The cost of the unit is approx US$149 but I have often asked if I can get some data included and on two occasions they have reduced the price of the unit to $99 and included a $50 data pack.

If you have any advice or recommendations about how you stay connected with travelling to New York or around the U.S. Let us know either via our Facebook page or in the comments below.

Jase is the founder and editor of VisitingNewYork.com.au. His passion for New York runs deep, after purchasing a New York travel guide while in high school, it's been a love affair ever since. Having visited over 20 times for work and pleasure he decided to start VisitingNewYork.com.au to help other Aussie's who are planning their own New York adventure to ensure they get the most out of their trip to the greatest city in the world.

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