I alternate between two different ways of using technology when I’m on holiday: not at all vs. all the time – I’m a person of extremes, I guess! In the earlier years of our relationship, when Ben was working and I was still at school or uni, I did a few big trips with my family but without him. While I absolutely loved these trips, you can imagine what it was like being a teenager and missing your boyfriend on them…let’s just say we spend a lot of time searching out campgrounds (because these were mostly trips in RVs), cafes, hotels and restaurants where I could use the WiFi at all sorts of hours – I only had small gaps in between Ben coming home from work and going to bed when I could speak to him(and I didn’t want to keep him up late because in those days, he was leaving for work before 7am). There was also the issue of fitting that around the time zone we were staying in (a couple of times that was 8 hours different) and what we were doing that day, because once I was away from the campground or cafe, there was no chance I was allowed to use data to contact him – I was allowed the occasional text or phone call when it had been several days between WiFi and I worried he might think I’d died! There were a lot of emails sent back and forth, constantly missing each other coming online.
On more recent trips, Ben has been there with me, so we haven’t had this issue, but we have found that we’ve been pretty much cut off from everything else. No popping onto our phones to use the Sat Nav or updating Instagram when on holiday because it would mean extortionate charges! Last time we went to America, we actually bought a SIM card that we could only use there, but that did make it difficult to get in touch with people at home since the international charges were still high – it was only useful for internet.
So when we went to Florida this year, I was offered the use of an iPhone 7 with Three using their Go Roam: Feel at Home service. We were sent a (rose gold!) iPhone along with a preloaded SIM card which would allow me unlimited use abroad of data, phone calls and texts in up to 60 destinations, the US just being one of these. Any internet addicted blogger can understand just how impressive this is, and I’m sure parents of phone addicted teens will know too! It allowed me to not only use it as a Sat Nav (can you tell this is pretty important to us?!), but also update Instagram (also important) and to phone home whenever we needed to, all included under the plan. While I was offered this free of charge for the review, had I paid for it, it would have cost only £20. There’s a handy calculator on the Feel at Home page which showed me, based on my usage of the phone abroad, that had I not used the Three Go Roam service, I would have had to pay over £3000 – that’s a HUGE saving and seriously worth it.
And on top of that, I got the use of a super snazzy iPhone for 2 weeks! I have to be honest and tell you that I was pretty much switched off from my blogging life for the whole trip aside from uploading a few photos to Instagram. In the end, I actually handed the phone over to Ben (because I knew I was likely to damage it!) and he looked after it – using it to take photos in place of a camera (we quickly discovered he didn’t need a camera at all when carrying the iPhone – the photos were just as good, if not better!), using it to look up where we could eat that evening, using it to book Fastpasses in Disney, and even using it to navigate us when we were lost.
As I said, the photos were pretty impressive that he managed to snap with it – several of the ones in this post were taken using the iPhone around St. Petersburg’s Sunken Gardens, but it was also fab to have for quick photos and films around the Disney parks so we didn’t have to lug heavy cameras around (I took my new Canon M10 too which is much lighter than my DSLR!).
We were impressed by the battery life of it too. Ben has an iPhone which he charges every night, and I’m a solid Android user (although reconsidering after this experience!) so I’m used to good battery life, so we were pleased to see that it lasted the whole day through, even when used as a Sat Nav and a camera throughout a long day in Disney.
Overall, I’m hugely impressed by the Feel at Home service from Three. It really improved our holiday to be able to jump onto the internet quickly and at no extra cost when we were out and about as if we were at home. We also loved having a really good camera on the phone too, as you can tell! I’m actually strongly considering swapping to Three from my current provider, but even if not, we’ll be getting Pay As You Go SIMs from Three for any future holidays to be able to get the most out of this service again.
PS: The swimsuit is from Primark and I’m seriously in love with it.
PPS: I’ve got hundreds of Florida photos to share still here and on my Disney blog – I’m just wanting to upload a video first to YouTube about Magic Kingdom and (argh!) it keeps having issues, so I’m waiting for that right now!