Moving out of my parents’ home meant moving off of their cell phone bill as well. I couldn’t afford a $150 cell phone bill, but I also couldn’t live without my Google Maps (I can live without 24/7 access to Facebook, Twitter, etc. but Google Maps?! It’s my lifeline!). What was I going to do to complete this essential first step into adulthood?
I scoured the internet and came across Republic Wireless, a start-up company that offered unlimited calls, texts and date for $19 a month. You read correctly – $19 a month. Holy God that’s cheaper than even the lowest price for AT&T! I researched the company, the plan, and the catch.
Oh hey, there IS no catch.
Republic Wireless works on the condition that carriers will use wifi to make their calls, texts, and data usage. Wifi is available pretty much everywhere now, so there is no reason not to connect. When you’re in the middle of nowhere sans wifi, or like, your grandmother’s house, the Spring Network takes care of your communication.
Why Republic Wireless is the Phone for Travelers
- 1) It’s inexpensive as helllllll. That means you save more money for souvenirs, drinking your self to sleep with the locals, skydiving over the Great Barrier Reef…
- 2) It’s waterproof! Check out these photos I took while swimming in Iceland’s Blue Lagoon.
- 3) You can make calls to the US over wifi from anywhere in the world.
- 4) No nasty $500-on-your-cell-phone-bill-because-your-phone-was-on-international-roaming-for-five-minutes. If you can’t connect to wifi, the phone simply doesn’t work abroad.
- 5) No contracts! You can cancel anytime with no penalties.
- 6) There’s also a 30-day money back guarantee, so you can test it out, see if you like it, and return it scott-free if it’s not your style.
- 7) In most cases, your phone number and contacts will transfer easily.
(Sort of, but not really) Downsides:
- 1) Currently, only one phone is available (the Motorola Defy XT). So if you are a die-hard Iphone user, you might be disappointed, but A) it’s actually quite a decent phone and B) when you’re paying $19 a month vs upwards of almost $200, can you really be THAT disappointed?
- 2) The network has not figured out how to make in-country calls ie: when you’re in Germany and need to call a German number, but you can always use Skype, Vox or Google Voice over wifi.
- 3) No upgrades. Well, not entirely true. Republic does their best to offer discounts on new models of phones that are released, but you won’t be getting free upgrades anytime you want. However, the Defy XT is a tough little cookie and really the only thing you’d have to worry about is it getting lost, or stolen, or run over by a tro-tro.
- 4) The Sprint Network doesn’t go EVERYWHERE. There is a handy map showing network connection, but unfortunately, you won’t be able to make calls on top of, say, the Rocky Mountains.
- 5) The features, like the camera, and some apps, are not the latest on the market. But seriously WHO CARES WHEN YOU ARE PAYING $19 A MONTH?! No one gives a crap about the quality of your Instagrams anyway.
I am in love with my Republic Wireless phone and I will never go back to overpriced contract deals again. I have used it while traveling around the world and I love the peace of mind that comes with not having to worry about outrageous roaming fees, or that it will be destroyed if it falls in the toilet. I can’t wait to see what other features they come up with, especially for the international crowd.
Thinking of making the switch? Click here to get started!
*I bought and paid for my Republic Wireless phone, without solicitation from Republic Wireless. I just really like this company and want to spread the news to other travelers! I disclose in all posts if I receive items for promotional purposes. REPUBLIC WIRELESS ROCKS!
A good travel writer will take a place or a situation that has been beaten into the ground (“Top Ten Restaurants in Paris” “How to Pack for Rio”) and create a piece that at the end leaves you saying “Wow, that was completely different than what I expected.” Such is what happened after reading Suzanne Roberts’ latest piece for Matador Network, “You Are Terrible To Fly With.”
I myself, am terrible to fly with. I entered into this literary discourse thinking “Oh good, another piece focusing on fear of flight, another person I can sympathize with so that my friends, who hate flying with me because I am so paranoid, can back the fuck off.” Instead, I was drawn in by Roberts’ tale of balancing her flight anxiety with an annoying teenager’s breaking of the sacred “legroom/seatback” rule (being mindful of the people behind you when pushing your seatback allllll the way). The piece was entertaining because I kept expecting something terrible to happen – plane losing altitude, major turbulence, a narrative of her struggle between flight anxiety and the anxiety of annoyance – but it ended pleasantly (albeit, calming for me) and provided a delightful twist to otherwise fear of flight pieces that leave me more nervous about flying than before.
I’m not sleeping sitting up,” she says. You translate this in your head: My comfort is more important than yours. You teach at the community college and deal with teenagers who refuse to revise their stories and poems because they were born of divine inspiration, coming straight from their souls. This is a direct quotation. Maybe you are getting back at them for ignoring your sound advice? Regardless, the good news for you is that you have been able to concentrate on something other than the plane’s bubbling passage over “unstable air,” which is what your captain has called it.
How do you deal with flight anxiety and annoying flight mates? Have you ever gone to such extremes as Suzanne? Have you ever WANTED to but didn’t have the guts for fear of being arrested? Tell me about the craziest flight you’ve ever been on!
You Are Terrible to Fly With – Suzanne Roberts (for Matador Network)
A few weeks ago, an poingent article was written by Bart Schaneman entitled “Why you should stop traveling alone.” The essay is interesting and presents some very good points, its main thesis being that travel can be more fulfilling and memorable when experienced with friends. I think Schanerman meant well, or perhaps was being purposely controversial, since most of the travelsphere is made up of solo travellers. This is evidenced by the backlash his essay received from readers who seemed like their acceptance of independent travel was somehow attacked via his argument.
I read the article and immediately thought “Yeesh, this guy doesn’t know who he is writing for.” Not in a bad way, but telling people to stop traveling alone is a pretty bold statement, considering that most travel writers, bloggers and hobby travellers take their trips alone. So I wrote a response article supporting why people should start traveling alone.
Hot damn, did that garner some attention.
There’s no mistaking that traveling alone can be lonely. But you can feel just as insecure in your own backyard – if you’re going to feel sorry for yourself, do it somewhere cool.
I figured there might be equal backlash from people who agreed with Schanerman’s essay. After all, travel is only as good as a person, or people, make it, and travel experiences are subjective. There is obviously no right way to travel. I however enjoy solo travel more than traveling with friends, due to my independent nature. Apparently most travellers on Matador Network do too..
This is my most successful Matador article yet, and I am so happy with the response. I’ve received positive feedback, criticism, and folks who swing both ways. But I am so happy reading how my article has inspired people to travel on their own. That was never my intention – I was merely presenting my side of the argument – but I received countless twitter messages, emails and Facebook comments thanking me for helping them overcome their fear of traveling alone, and how my article gave them courage to do it now.
Call me a narcissist, but that’s an amazing fucking feeling, folks.
How do you feel about traveling alone? Are you a fan? What makes it special or revolting to you? I love discussing this topic with people and hearing their viewpoints on such a polar topic.
Read my article here:
BootsnAll recently helped launch a very exciting travel website entitled Indie, aimed at helping travel folks easily put together their dream of traveling around the world. With this program, one can plot out their RTW trip and get a nice, quick price quote for what their RTW trip will potentially cost them (prices are for airfare only, however you can plot out your land travel as well to get a better idea of how your trip will work. The land travel is not factored into the final price though).
Does it make it easy to create a RTW trip? Sure does! I love being able to map out where I want to go and how I’ll get there. Except there are a few problems…
I tried mapping out a few potential places based on location proximity. I hate flying as it is and like to be on a plane for as little amount of time as possible, so I tried to map out a route with airports relatively close to each other. The results are not so ideal. When I wanted to go from Mexico City to Bogota, Columbia – pretty close, as far as I could see – I’d have to fly from Mexico City, back to New York (my initial launch pad), then from New York to Bogota. Not only did I increase the amount of time on a plane, but I’m flying northeast to fly back southwest.
That’s about twice the gasoline emissions sent into the air for a trip that should be a one-stop shot. I have to tinker around with Indie’s site a little more. I do like that they include a section of successful RTW itineraries, which I’m going to browse, because maybe I’m setting my sights too high. But when you can book a 25-stop RTW trip in one shot, what’s to stop be from experimenting a bit?
I also wanted to fly from Brazil to Namibia, being that they are literally “across the pond” from each other. No dice. It would require me to fly from Rio, to New York, New York to Johannesburg, then Joburg to Namibia. A totally convoluted route to reach somewhere that, according to what I’d plotted out, seems like a straight shot. Not to mention all of the gasoline emissions from flying back, and forth, and back again.
Anyone know why this would be the case? Surely there are people who fly from Rio to Namibia who don’t have to deal with all of this crazy international hullabaloo. Does it have to do with visas/being an American citizen, and having to travel through an American hub? Maybe it’s just the flights that come onto the radar at the time I search, or maybe that’s just how the airline industry works.
Or maybe I’m just doing it wrong. I’m not planning on doing a RTW trip for some time, but when I do, I want it to be as easy as possible. Travel dudes, help me out!
Sign up for your own account on Indie here. Hopefully you have better luck than I!
PS just found this post on BootsnAll’s site: 5 Affordable Round the World Routes. I will definitely keep this in mind for planning my own trip!
It seems I have found my niche – trashy travel writing. Through various collaborations with Matador Network, I have boiled my travel prose down to the dirtiest, raunchiest, rudest forms of conceivable travel. This article deals with a lot of my personal experiences on not getting laid abroad. That’s right, you heard it – I’ve been that sloppy drunk, the too-busy-to-fuck student, the one with the boyfriend back home…it’s all there, and it’s hindered my sex life abroad significantly. For example:
Hit on the locals. Not in an, “I’d love to get to know you, Monsieur Barielles, by having a discussion with you, a few drinks, maybe cross-culturally comparing our lifestyles, etc. Then go back to your flat and bang” way. More like slurring “HEY THERE FRENCHIE, WANNA SCREW?” in a loud, inebriated way (i.e., first paragraph). Desperately beg the locals to sleep with you in an attempt to earn bragging rights within your study abroad program — “Yeah, I’ve had sex with an Australian girl, no big deal.” Slowly discover that, in a lot of countries, coming on to people like that is pretty disrespectful.
So check this shit out and leave a comment or two if you like what you see. I’m already in talks for some book collaborations and I am very excited about the prospect of publishing my trashy travels. Onward and upward, U suppose!
How to Not Get Laid While Studying Abroad – Matador Network