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How Much Data Do I Need When Traveling Abroad?

Sep 28,2023 | Tom



When traveling to another country, understanding the relation between data units like kilobytes (KB), megabytes (MB), and gigabytes (GB) can help you estimate your data usage. KB, MB and GB are units of digital information storage.

Here's a breakdown of what each unit represents:

  • Kilobyte (KB)

A kilobyte is a unit of information storage that equals 1,000 bytes in the decimal system or 1,024 bytes in the binary system. It is often used for measuring small amounts of data.

  • Megabyte (MB)

A megabyte is a larger unit of information storage. It equals 1,000,000 bytes in the decimal system or 1,048,576 bytes in the binary system. A megabyte can hold more data than a kilobyte and is commonly used for measuring file sizes, including documents, images, and short videos.

  • Gigabyte (GB)

A gigabyte is an even larger unit of information storage. It equals 1,000,000,000 bytes in the decimal system or 1,073,741,824 bytes in the binary system. A gigabyte can hold significantly more data than a megabyte and is often used for measuring the storage capacity of devices, such as hard drives, solid-state drives, and smartphones.

Here's the relation of these units:

  • 1 kilobyte (KB) = 1,024 bytes 1 megabyte (MB) = 1,024 kilobytes 1 gigabyte (GB) = 1,024 megabytes

To give you some context on data amounts:

  • A small text document may only be a few kilobytes in size.

  • A high-resolution image can range from a few hundred kilobytes to several megabytes.

  • An MP3 song typically ranges from a few megabytes to around 10 megabytes.

  • A standard-definition movie can be around 700 megabytes to 1.5 gigabytes.

  • A high-definition movie can take up several gigabytes of storage.

Remember that these sizes are approximate and can vary depending on various factors such as file compression, quality settings, and file formats. It's essential to understand these units when managing your data storage and when determining data plan requirements for your devices.

Average Data Consumption When Traveling Abroad


When traveling abroad, monitoring and managing your data traffic usage plays an important role in avoiding data-exhausting dilemmas and the following inconveniences. Therefore, we provide you with a general idea of average data consumption for common applications :

  • Web Browsing: On average, browsing the web using popular search engines or accessing websites can consume around 1-5 MB per minute.

  • Email: Sending or receiving emails with attachments typically uses around 300 KB to 3 MB per email, depending on the size of the attachments.

  • Social Media: Apps like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter can use around 2-5 MB per minute when scrolling through feeds, viewing photos, or watching short videos.

  • Video Streaming: Streaming video content on platforms like YouTube, Netflix, YouTube, or Hulu can consume a significant amount of data. On average, streaming SD quality content uses around 1 GB per hour, while HD quality content can use up to 3 GB per hour.

  • Music Streaming: Services like Spotify or Apple Music use approximately 1-2 MB per minute while streaming music.

  • Map and Navigation: Using navigation apps like Google Maps or Apple Maps for directions and map access generally consumes around 2-5 MB per hour.

What's the Best Way to Be Connected Abroad?


The best way to acquire network connections when traveling abroad depends on your specific needs and preferences.

Here are a few options for your reference:

  • Roaming Plans

Check with your domestic carrier about the international roaming plans that they offer. These plans allow you to use your current data plan while traveling but may involve additional fees.

  • Local SIM Cards

Purchasing a local SIM card in the country you are visiting can provide cost-effective data plans. You can use the local network and take advantage of localized rates.

  • International SIM Cards

Some companies offer international SIM cards that allow you to access data in multiple countries using a single card. These cards usually come with a preloaded data allowance.

  • ESIM Cards

ESIM cards, also known as virtual SIM cards or embedded SIM cards include all the functions that physical SIM cards have. It is an embedded chip that is built into your device and can be programmed with multiple cellular plans.

Having an eSIM allows you to have multiple phone numbers or cellular plans on your device simultaneously. Especially when traveling abroad or switching between carriers, this provides flexibility. Without having to physically swap SIM cards, you can easily switch between different plans.

  • Portable Wi-Fi Devices

Consider renting or purchasing a portable Wi-Fi device that provides a mobile hotspot with data connectivity. These devices use local SIM cards and can serve as a Wi-Fi source for multiple devices.

  • Wi-Fi Networks

Utilize the Wi-Fi networks available at hotels, cafes, restaurants, or public places to connect your devices and access the internet without using mobile data.

It's recommended to research and compare the options available in the specific country you are traveling to, considering factors such as coverage, cost, flexibility and data allowances. Contacting local carriers or checking their websites for specific data plans can provide you with accurate and up-to-date information on the best way to acquire a data plan while traveling abroad.

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