I have travelled a lot in the past twelve years, and this trip feels a little different. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still doing a rock-bottom budget trip. I hope to spend no more than $300 to $500 a month Canadian. However, this time I’ve got a little luxury that really makes the difference for me.
Travelling with my phone was the best decision I made on this trip. When I got to Costa Rica, on the first day I bought a SIM and put it in my phone, and it has worked like a charm ever since. It cost me about $6, and two weeks later I still haven’t used up my prepaid data and airtime minutes.
I’ve been able to check Facebook and Gmail, which has been a huge luxury for me. We managed to arrange a Skype conversation with my parents, who are on vacation in England, because I happened to catch them online when I used my phone to check the time. When the immigration officer in San Jose wanted proof of our intention to leave the country, he let me show him an e-mail from our travel agent that I’d saved on my phone.
We arrived three days ago at a hostel and volunteer host farm two hours away from the nearest mid-sized town. The little village has an internet cafe but not much else, and the internet at said cafe has been down for over a month. The other volunteers had been unable to communicate with their families for weeks, and yet when I checked my phone I had both reception and internet access. It made me so thankful I’d decided to bring the phone.
To be honest, it feels as if I’m cheating a bit by being so in touch with everyone while I’m on the road, but it’s a luxury I don’t want to give up. What the heck, I’m 32. I can take what I like on my trip, and not have to justify it to anyone. And if I decide to drop off the face of the internet later, I can do that, but for the moment I’m really enjoying being in the middle of nowhere with full access to the rest of everywhere.

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