It’s usually the summer that we discover the limits of our mobile plan: the data quota is running out, the Internet connection slows down drastically and the holidays become more complicated. No wonder since travel deprives us of home Wi-Fi and free time is not lacking, driving consumption up to 5, 10, or even 20 gigabytes (GB) per week, if you look a lot of videos.
In order to limit the haemorrhage, here are some tips for travelers who do not leave France. For a trip abroad, see our box at the bottom of the article.
This is the right time to make a diagnosis, because the data counter does not start on the day of departure on vacation, but rather when the package is reset. If it takes place on July 10 and you leave on August 1, for example, you will have to start saving data three weeks before the start of your vacation in order to leave with the least used counter possible.
The first objective will therefore be to identify the day of the reset of the package. The second: find out about the package from your operator. According to the digital barometer of the Research Center for the Study and Observation of Living Conditions (Crédoc), 20% of French people have a maximum of 10 GB of monthly data. On the other hand, a third party benefits from at least 50 GB. Take the opportunity to check what will happen when your data quota is reached: some operators charge for the excess, others block the connection, many drastically limit its speed .
Third objective: estimate your consumption in advance. You will be able to identify the applications that consume a lot of data in the menus of your smartphone (under iOS, under Android) but this will only give you a rough idea: their voracity can, in fact, change during the holidays since your consumption habits themselves are different during this period. Ideally, therefore, it is better to calculate an estimate by combining the following small table and the way you plan to use your smartphone:
If you conclude that your package is undersized, consider changing it. If it is old, you have a good chance of managing to increase your data quota for free, either by questioning your operator or by switching to the competition.
This is the time to enter a phase of sobriety in order to save your data quota and, ideally, from the day of the reset of your package. To start, reset your smartphone’s data counter, which will allow you to monitor your consumption day after day (under iOS, under Android).
While connected to the mobile network, watch as few videos as possible. If you have enabled automatic backup of your photos and videos in the cloud by the mobile network, disable it (under Google Photos). Ditto for automatic media download: if you receive a lot of videos by WhatsApp, for example, prevent their automatic download; they will only appear when you click on their thumbnail. On iPhone, you can also enable low data mode to globally reduce the consumption of all applications.
Keep your smartphone connected to Wi-Fi all the time when you are at home and at work. As the holidays arrive, take the opportunity to download all the heavy documents you may need during your holidays: travel documents, films, series, podcasts, music, magazines, manga, etc. Downloading the geographical map corresponding to your holiday resort can also be useful (under Google Maps, under Maps.me).
Moderate your video consumption, which may mean slowing down on Facebook, Instagram or TikTok. Nothing prohibits sharing videos with your loved ones, but if your package is not very generous, publish only short sequences, two or three per day at most. And, above all, check your data consumption regularly: if an application consumes too much, you must know it quickly in order to moderate its use.
If you notice that you are approaching the data wall too quickly, limit the bit rate of the videos you are watching (there are procedures for this under Netflix, YouTube or Facebook, for example). If you are traveling with a loved one whose plan is not threatened, connect to their phone to take advantage of Internet connection sharing (under iOS, under Android).
As a precaution, avoid connecting to Wi-Fi in hotels, cities and cafes: many computer security experts advise against it. The risks of hacking and data theft are proven, even if they are less great than in the past, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). However, if you are forced to use a public Wi-Fi, the National Commission for Computing and Freedoms (CNIL) advises to check with the owner of the establishment the precise name of the network in order to be sure not to not mistakenly connect to a network set up by hackers. The CNIL also encourages, during the browsing session, to venture only on secure sites and not to disclose sensitive information, such as a credit card number.