November 27, 2014

Stay connected while in Japan

How do you stay connected while travelling? Previously, I could live with only WiFi at the hostel/hotel. But these days, I feel like having a #firstworldproblem if my phone does not have any Internet connection on the go.

I need to stay connected. To google something, to check the map or information of the place I'm visiting, to check-in in Swarm. hahaha..

Usually I will buy the country's local SIM card cos the data plan is cheaper, compared to using our telcos' data roaming. But in Japan, it is very difficult for a foreigner to buy local SIM cards. So what choice do I have? For a short trip, say a day or two, I can close my eyes and just turn on the data roaming. But for a week's trip? Hmmm... maybe I should just hide my phone in the bag and get disconnected from the world.

But I knew I couldn't. Thus, I went to SoftBank Global Rental counter to check their plans and services once I landed at the airport.

So here's what you can do to stay connected in Japan:

a) Rent a mobile WiFi Router

b) Rent a SIM card (don't know why but it is ONLY for iPhone)..

c) Rent a smartphone

I already have a smartphone, I brought my tablet, and this time around, I have travel mates! #notsoforeveralone

So the best choice was to rent the mobile WiFi router cos it can connect to multiple devices (up to 10 devices). Meaning you can share it with your travel mates, and share the cost!

The WiFi router's battery lasts for 8 hours. But that's not a big issue to me cos power bank is always to the rescue.

The rental process was easy. You only need to fill in a form and use a credit card. They'll charge a deposit of 20,000 yen but don't worry, it will be credited back once you return the device.

How to use it? Also very easy! Just power on the mobile WiFi router, go to your phone's WiFi setting, find the router's name, key in the password and you're all set!

Here's how much I paid to get connected during my trip recently. 

Rental fee = [1200 yen* x 8 days] = 9600 yen 
* We got discount instead of 1590 yen /day. The longer you rent the device, the cheaper the rental
Administration fee = 315 yen
Total paid = 9915 yen ~ RM307
No. of user : 4

So each of us only paid about RM76 per person for the whole trip (8 days in total). That's about a quarter of the data roaming rate for the same number of days (RM38 x 8 = RM304).  

Very affordable kan? You're welcome. 


City Mouse said...

Thank you for sharing. This is indeed useful information.

rara said...

@city mouse: Happy to help :)