One of the first tips that people give you when you tell them that you are going on a cruise is to “shut off” and enjoy the ride. On the surface, this seems like great advice. After all, couldn’t we all use a break from our computer screens and mobile phones? Well, I suspect that, for most of us, the answer would be “yes and no.”

Most of us could definitely use a break from the stresses of everyday life. There is nothing more satisfying than turning on your “out of office” notification and closing your laptop for a few weeks. At the same time, I suspect that many of us still want to stay connected with our loved ones while we are on the road. We want them to know that we are ok as we jump from port to port. In a strange way, we also want to share our adventures with them.

This is where one of the biggest challenges of cruising come into play. Despite the fact that many cruise ships now offer Wi-Fi, it is far from ubiquitous. In addition, it is not always free. So, to help you stay connected on your next cruise, I wanted to let you know about a few of the tricks that I have used in the past.

Here are 3 creative ways to stay connected on your next cruise.

Look for Alternative Sources of Wi-Fi

In a previous interview with cruise expert, Jane Archer, she recommended following the crew into the terminal when the ship docks. If you have been polite and friendly with them during your trip, they will almost certainly be willing to share their access details with you.

If you are staying in a single country for more than a couple of days, you may want to consider purchasing a pre-paid mobile sim or USB stick. In many countries, you can get 1GB of data for about $10. A word of caution, some mobile operators require you to be a local resident to get a sim card. So, you may need to find one of your local friends to help you.

While we’re on the topic of sim cards, make sure that you turn off data-roaming on your phone when you get on the ship. There is nothing worse than coming home from the trip of your life to find a huge mobile bill waiting for you.

One final alternative is to find a coffee shop with Wi-Fi. There is something fun about emailing your friends back home while people watching and sipping cappuccino.

Rediscover the Lost Art of Letter Writing

If you want to stay in touch, but don’t fancy the idea of staring at your computer screen, why not take up letter writing again. Finding a local post office in each city can be an adventure in and of itself. So, pick up some fancy paper before you leave, sit down in a comfy chair and get ready to tell your friends and family back home about all of your adventures.

In many ways, this option is the perfect compromise between shutting off and staying connected. It allows you to share your excitement, while keeping unwanted distractions away.

Find Beautiful Postcards at Each Port

One of my guilty pleasures is collecting post cards. I love staring at the pictures of the amazing places that I have visited. It reminds me just how lucky I am to live during this amazing time.

In a world filled with SMS’s and emails, there is something so special about receiving a post card. So, on one of my cruise trips, I decided to send a post card to one friend from each port. It’s much quicker and easier than writing a letter, but, it still shows that you care. As an added bonus, finding postcards in a new city can be an adventure. It gives you an excuse to get off the ship and go exploring on your own.

I hope that these cruise tips help you to stay connected with your loved ones on your next big adventure. If you have any additional advice for the cruisers in our community, please add it in the comments.

How connected do you like to be when you travel? Do you prefer to “switch off?” Or, do you like to keep in touch with your friends and family as you go from port to port?

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