So you made it to Russia for the 2018 World Cup, how exciting! I’m sure you’re already having the time of your life. Like anyone visiting such a spectacular event, you’ll want to share the action as it happens with friends and family via Instagram stories, pics, live streams, snaps, you name it! With all that fun comes great responsibility however, especially when using mobile data in a foreign country. Laws might be different, the apps you typically use might not work. Luckily at GigSky, global data is our thing, so we put together a few tips to help keep your data experience as normal as possible. The best part? You can apply these tips to any other upcoming international trips as well.
Be aware of the country’s VPN laws
There’s a bit of controversy around this one, but the general consensus is – VPNs are not illegal in Russia. For the past year, lots of tech outlets have reported that they are illegal, but turns out it’s the sale of VPNs and/or operating a VPN that’s illegal. A VPN allows users to send and receive data anonymously and securely over an internet connection. Which leads to the important part – a VPN will protect you from any type of unwanted tracking and allow you to access websites that could potentially be restricted in Russia. Here’s a much better explanation of all the regulations around VPNs, just in case you need a second opinion.
Bring all the adapters and charges you’ll need
Ever been to a concert or big game only to discover your phoned died already? Your fast draining battery isn’t an anomaly – it’s due to serious network congestion. When a large number of people in small proximity attempt to connect to a network, the cell tower becomes stressed, which in turn makes your phone work harder to get a signal. The result? A battery that drains much faster than normal. Be sure to pack a few portable chargers and/or locate the charging stations at the arena ahead of time. You don’t want to end up stranded at the stadium with no way to hail an Uber and/or find your friends.
Get a data plan that won’t cost an arm and a leg
There’s nothing worse than enjoying your vacation, only to come home to a massive data roaming bill simply because you hopped on Facebook a few times. It’s easy to miscalculate how much data certain apps use, when push notifications go off… your phone is constantly using data for something! Instead, be proactive and grab an international data plan before you leave. No one wants to go phoneless when traveling, so pick up a local SIM or grab a global data SIM like GigSky to stay connected at an affordable rate. GigSky’s $30, 2GB plan is the perfect amount of data for a couple of weeks, and you can stay connected just like you’re used to at home. When your friend pings you on Skype about that absurd penalty call, you can actually pick up the phone!
Download the local apps so you can get around easily
If you want to get around Russia like a pro, you’ll have to go beyond the basics. With that said, be sure to download the following:
YANDEX MAPS – Quality maps of Russian cities. Much better quality than Google.
YANDEX METRO – Metro map of Moscow and St Petersburg. With an option to calculate the route, travel time, etc.
YANDEX TRANSPORT – For general transportation in Moscow. You can see all the buses/trams/trolleys on the map in real time and their route, plus bus stops and where you can catch them.
YANDEX NAVI – If you plan to drive in Russia this is the best navigation app with traffic analysis.
Live in the moment
Last but certainly not least, put your phone down and live in the moment! As much as we love documenting the amazing things we experience, it’s key to engage with those around you to soak everything in. You’d hate to miss that winning goal just cause of a text. Be safe out there and have fun!