If you’re visiting a major city like London, having some kind of data access is essential to making sure your stay is as easy and as hassle-free as possible. Even if you’re in town on romantic hotel packages in London and want to enjoy time away from the usual distractions in life, it’s still helpful to be able to look up useful information, stay in touch with friends and family, and share those special moments with others.
When it comes to London, you have the option of choosing between purchasing a sim card to use while you’re in the city, or opting for Wi-Fi access. There are advantages and limitations to both, so to help you decide what is best for you, read on for a review of both choices.
Why use a sim card in London?
When you come into London via the airport or other major connections, one of the first things you’ll see is a variety of international sim cards for sale. These will often come with a variety of options, including different kinds of calling allowances, data bundles and more.
An international sim card can be used with any relevant device, such as a mobile phone or tablet, and will give you instant access to the local network once you have put it in. It’s a handy option if you have just arrived into the city, and are trying to find your way around. If you’ve booked into the Park Grand Kensington London and don’t know how to get there, then naturally the first thing you’ll need to do is be able to look up the relevant directions!
Another advantage of using a UK sim while you’re in London is that you have access to a UK number. This can be especially handy if you’re planning to keep in touch with local friends, as it will be easier for them to call and text you using that, rather than an international number.
What to consider when using a sim card
Sim cards are great for providing instant access on any mobile device – but the first thing you need to consider is that your device should be able to work with a sim from another network. Most devices will need to be unlocked beforehand, to allow the sim to be activated. This is something you will need to do in advance of your visit to London, as it can often take several days to carry out. If you haven’t unlocked your device, then you will need to look at other options to access mobile data while in the city.
Another factor to consider is whether or not the amount of data and network access will be enough for you. Most sims in London will come loaded with a certain amount of mobile data, as well as minutes to call and text allowances.
You’ll need to bear in mind that mobile data can often be used up far more quickly than you expect, especially if you are carrying out activities such as looking up street maps or sharing photos and videos online. It’s worth checking before you purchase a sim if it’s possible to add more to your package during your time in the city if needed.
Lastly, while sim cards will generally provide good coverage all over the city, there may be some areas where you do not find as effective a network signal. Currently, there is no phone network coverage on the London underground, so you will need to plan ahead, especially if you are trying to look up and work out transport connections.
Can you use Wi-Fi in London?
Using Wi-Fi can often be an easier way of accessing most services on your phone and mobile device while you’re in London. You’ll find W-fi available for free in many public spaces, including airports and major train stations, shopping centres, bars and restaurants, including the Park Grand London Kensington restaurant. To find free Wi-Fi hotspots in the city, simply turn on the settings on your device and look for networks that come up without a padlock next to the name.
However, it’s important to be secure while using free Wi-Fi, and there may often be other networks in the same area. To be confident that you’re using the official Wi-Fi provided by the space you’re in, look at the network name – it will often feature the name of the place. In smaller cafes and restaurants, they will often share their Wi-Fi details with customers directly.
As well as offering several free Wi-Fi spots around the city, you can also purchase access to Wi-Fi in different ways. Some major UK networks have several hotspots around the city, and you may be able to register with them, by purchasing a plan. This can allow you to access their Wi-Fi wherever you find it. There is also Wi-Fi available on the London underground – however, to be able to sign up to it, you will need to have access to one of the UK’s main networks beforehand.
What to consider when using Wi-Fi
While Wi-Fi is accessible in most parts of central London, you may occasionally find yourself in areas of the city where you cannot find a hotspot. Some places will also have restrictions on how long you can access Wi-Fi and may cut you off after a certain time period. If you’re planning several activities, such as going out to a Park Grand Kensington Afternoon Tea and then heading out to museums or sightseeing, you will probably need to plan routes and maps in advance, as you may not always be able to access Wi-Fi at all times.
While Wi-Fi is generally reliable, there are some occasions where devices or signals may simply not work. In this case, the more practical option is to use both a sim and Wi-Fi, keeping one as a back-up in case you need access to a mobile network in an emergency.