E-mail Abroad

The internet is virtually limitless in our modern world. There are very few regions that still do not have some form of internet access. This does not mean that finding a computer with internet access is a sure thing. But your odds are pretty good.

Unless you are traveling in a very remote or under-developed country or region, you are bound to have access to a computer with internet capabilities, whether it's at a library, a hostel, a university, a bookstore or an internet caf�. With a little common sense and some research, you should know before you leave whether finding internet access will be possible or not.

The wide-spread availability of internet access makes keeping in touch with friends and family around the world extremely fast and convenient (and cheap compared to long-distance phone calls). What you have to do is prepare for this in advance.

You have two basic options:

1 - obtain the long distance number for your service provider at home, which can result in a tedious connection process. As well, watch out for long-distance charges.

2 - get yourself a free new e-mail address from any of the free e-mail providers (see list below). This is called an Internet, Web-based or Net e-mail address.

We prefer the second option for its simplicity and convenience. Now give this address to your friends and family so that they can e-mail you. All you have to do is find a computer with internet access to retrieve your messages. As mentioned above, internet caf�s, libraries, universities, and some hostels provide internet access, either free or for a small fee. Some airports now offer computer kiosks where you can access the internet for a small fee as well. Before you leave on your trip, get your friends' addresses too, so you can e-mail them (faster and more convenient than postcards).

Internet caf�s, or cybercaf�s, are coffee houses that sell Internet access. There are thousands of these bar/coffee/internet hangouts in dozens of countries around the world. They are the greatest way to keep in touch with friends, family and other travelers while abroad.

Prices for these internet caf�s vary considerably, but they are usually around $3 an hour; well worth the investment! Check your travel guide to find the location of these caf�s, do a cybercaf� search with The Cybercaf� Search Engine or visit the Internet Cafe Guide (which lists over 2,500 caf�s all over the world). Cybercafes tend to open up and go out of business without notice, so it's a good idea to verify that they are in operation just before you leave on your trip.

If you know someone who is going to be away at the same time as you, but not with you, then you can both set up internet e-mail addresses. That way, you can e-mail each other and maybe even arrange to meet sometime.

Another good idea is to scan your passport and e-mail it to your own e-mail address. That way, if you lose your passport, you will have a copy that you can access and print out from any internet caf�. This works for health insurance forms, credit card information, phone numbers and addresses, and any other paperwork as well.

E-mail Providers

Internet Caf� Databases