Way back, the only communications consideration was when to write your postcards so they got home before you did, or maybe, the odd phone call to tell your loved ones you were OK, usually from a tobacco kiosk or the dark recesses of the local shop.
In this connected world, we’re never far from home and today’s technology removes a lot of the hassle associated with travelling, leaving us more time to enjoy the experience. Booking accommodation on-line, even while on the ferry en-route to an island, can save a couple of hours trudging around looking for a room, and the owner will often meet you at the port. Websites like TripAdvisor can save you from some of the less-desirable places, although such sites should always be treated with a certain of degree of scepticism for both the good and the bad reviews.
There is no political censorship of the Internet in Greece so all your favourite email sites, social networks and news sites will be available.
Free WiFi is widely available in even the smallest bars and restaurants and most hotels and guest houses offer free WiFi.
Using your mobile phone
The Greek mobile network is generally as good as any in the rest of Europe, however, on occasion, some of the remoter islands can suffer the odd outage due to the inter-island communication links. At busy times in the more popular islands, the network can become overloaded and it can take a while to get a connection abroad.
Before leaving home you should check with your mobile provider that your phone number is enabled for use abroad.
European Union directives on mobile phone roaming charges have brought the cost of using your mobile down to reasonable levels if roaming between European countries. However, you should check with your mobile network before leaving home on the costs of outgoing calls, incoming calls, outgoing SMS messages and data services; incoming texts are usually free within Europe. Unless you know that you have an affordable data plan you should disable data roaming on your phone. Some networks, Vodafone in particular, charge you a fixed amount for every day that you use your phone and in return allow you to use voice and data from your payment plan’s free allowance.
Consider buying a Greek SIM card
Greek SIM cards are reasonably priced and it’s usually straight-forward to buy one. You may need your passport and the address of your hotel but within 10-15 minutes, you’ll walk out of the shop armed with free talk-minutes, more SMSs than you’ll ever use and enough data to bore your Facebook and Instagram buddies for a month – all for less than €25. Price plans change and networks offer different plans but they’ll be one that suits your trip needs.
Your phone will need to be unlocked from any network and you should ensure this is done before leaving home.
See the discussion on ‘What technology to travel with’.
Use Skype instead of your mobile phone
If you need to make a lot of calls, either inside or outside of Greece, it might be a better option to install the Skype on app your smartphone or tablet. By loading credit onto your Skype account, you can call mobiles and landlines anywhere in the world for something like the price of a local call in that country. Of course, if the person you are calling also has Skype, you can talk and enjoy video calling, for free.
Don’t rely on this option entirely though because Skype needs a reasonably stable WiFi connection to avoid the conversation breaking up.