Staying connected online while travelling abroad for business and sightseeing has become almost a necessity for many people. We’ve taken high speed internet access for granted given the wide availability of WiFi access points and broadband internet at home and in our offices. So it’s no surprise that many people want to take mobile broadband abroad with them on their travels.

The widespread use of smartphones and other mobile devices has lent itself to businesses offering mobile high speed internet both for personal and business purposes. Even casual internet users can benefit from enjoying entertainment, reading the news or just keeping in touch with friends while vacationing away from home. With increased demand for mobile broadband abroad, these service providers provide various connection deals and plans to accommodate customer needs.

If you’re travelling with a laptop, you can take the internet with you by using a mobile broadband dongle, a little USB device that you plug into your computer (similar to a USB flash drive that you can carry on your keychain). They’re also known as mobile modems or USB modems and provide you with a 3G internet connection. Examples of service providers include T-Mobile, Vodafone, Virgin Media; popular plans start at $30 a month with speeds of up to 7.2 Mbps and download quotas of 1 to 3 GB of data. Mobile broadband dongles offer great convenience and they’re powered by your laptop batteries so you don’t need to charge them. Many are free when you sign up for a contract.

Before you consider using a mobile broadband service, it’s important to take a look at the costs. Expenses can be high although many businesses have cut prices in an attempt to attract more customers. Customers who don’t carefully examine the fine print when it comes to pricing can easily end up with massive bills when they underestimate how much they end up using.

One way to save money with mobile broadband abroad is to see if your service provider offers data plans at a flat rate. This is a good way to cut costs if you anticipate that you’ll use mobile broadband to exchange emails and pictures on a frequent basis.

Pay-as-you-go mobile broadband internet is the perfect alternative to subscribing to a contract if you want the flexibility of staying connected and only paying for what you use. This lets you avoid signing contracts and you control how much you pay.

One important thing to remember is that data roaming charges are different depending on which country you’re visiting and the service provider. Take the time to compare the different costs and plans from various companies to make an informed decision on which mobile broadband plan to choose. Also remember that some places have free WiFi as well.