Did you know that in the 12 months to November 2010, there were 55.3 million visits abroad made by UK residents? Travelling and holidays are clearly an important part of people's lives -- and so is staying connected.
Recent years have seen the rise of online social networking. Sites like Twitter and Facebook are becoming integral parts of life for many. So, how do you stay connected to your social networks (or email) when you're possibly thousands of miles away from home?
You're obviously going to need a device to access the internet with. Mobile phones are the popular choice here, due to their portability and battery life, but there are other options available. Many laptops and netbooks now feature SIM card slots, for example Nokia's Booklet 3G which also boasts impressive battery life and excellent build quality. Tablets are also starting to crop up, with Apple's iPad and Samsung's Galaxy Tab being the most prominent at the moment.
The most important things to factor into your decision are your personal needs. Will you only be uploading pictures every once in a while or will you be writing regular blog posts? Weigh up your options.
The method of connection:
Perhaps you might have WiFi in your accommodation, but what about when you're out and about? Mobile broadband is the answer here. Many countries have wide 3G (or at the least 2/2.5G) coverage, so you'll be able to access the internet wherever you are. With mobile broadband, you'll have to make sure that your chosen device is compatible with local frequencies. You can check the frequencies that your device supports against those used by networks in a particular country here.
There are no 'ifs' or 'buts' about it - using data while roaming abroad can be expensive. However, as with many things, there are ways to minimise your expenses. Shop around for mobile phone plans that provide clear details on roaming charges so you don't end up getting stung.
Also keep a lookout for deals that your network has available. For example, if you're in the UK and are a Vodafone pay monthly customer, you'll be entitled to a set amount of roaming data at no extra cost if your plan is over £40 a month and includes at least 900 minutes of calls.