Author Topic: Cell phone data  (Read 4324 times)

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Offline DonKahn1

Cell phone data
« on: March 23, 2023, 12:26:14 pm »

I am curious what people use for cell phone data in a month while bicycle touring.  I am heading out on a 4-5 month tour this summer in the USA, and will be mostly camping, so wifi chances may be limited.  My cell plan right now includes 2GB of data per month, and wondering if it will be enough.  I will be using my phone for some navigation from google maps (usually only in larger urban centers), and for some daily trip planning.  Just curious what other people use for data on your "average bike tour"

Offline John Nelson

Re: Cell phone data
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2023, 01:42:05 pm »
2GB is probably enough if used carefully. For navigation, use Google offline maps. Don’t post or watch videos, at least not excessively.

If everything you do is text or photos and some surfing, and you navigate offline, I think you’ll be fine.

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Cell phone data
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2023, 02:57:41 pm »
That is highly personal dependent.  I use about 2gb a month in the USA but my wife uses 6.  My B-I-L uses 0.5g per month.  You might consider getting a Google Fi plan if you phone is compatible.  It is relatively cheap but the best thing about it is you are charged $10/gb of actual data prorated so if you use 1.25gb you are charged $12.50, not $20 like all the rest.  Plus the rate is the same basically worldwide I think.  You can get a plan month to month and just forward your current number to the Google Fi number if you plan to dump the Google Fi number when done traveling.  That said, Google Fi's coverage is not as good as Verizon's in rural USA and Verizon is probably the best for rural USA which most bike touring is done. 

As Mr. Nelson says, if you are judicious with your use, you should be OK with 2gb.  Worst case is you use >2gb but <3gb per month at whatever your carrier charges per extra GB, say $10/GB extra per month or $50 for the trip. 

Wishing you a wonderful trip!  Tailwinds, John

Offline hondo77

Re: Cell phone data
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2023, 04:18:34 pm »
My wife and I have a 2GB plan together. It's fine when we're mostly home and can use the WiFi. It used to be enough when we weren't home. These days, though, whenever we travel to where we don't have WiFi, even if we try to be careful, we always go over pretty quickly.

Thanks for bringing this up. It'll be interesting to see how fast I go over on my little May tour.

Offline aggie

Re: Cell phone data
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2023, 11:14:34 pm »
I have 8GB and when I use google maps frequently it eats up my allotment.  I have to be careful about how often I look at google maps.  If you are careful you may be able to get by but I would want a little more just to be safe.  You might be able to get a little more for a couple of billing periods then revert back to 2.  I definitely use the offline ACA maps. 

Offline UncaBuddha

Re: Cell phone data
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2023, 09:51:42 am »
You might also try app. You download the areas you want to look at and then put your phone in airplane mode and the maps are very detailed once downloaded.

Offline DonKahn1

Re: Cell phone data
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2023, 04:30:23 pm »
Thanks for all the responses so far.  I do have 2 mapping programs on my phone (Osmand & Mapsme), with the maps already downloaded.  Interesting to hear that google maps uses up so much data.  I plan on using the mapping programs most of the time, and will probably only use the google maps when navigating to particular places in larger urban centers.  Probably planning on upping my data plan to 3GB also.

Offline DannyRich

Re: Cell phone data
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2023, 02:46:30 am »
Your upcoming bike tour sounds like an incredible journey! As for cell phone data, it can vary quite a bit depending on your usage. Using 2GB a month for navigation and daily trip planning might be a bit tight if you're on the road for 4-5 months. It's always a good idea to have some buffer data, just in case.

For tips and insights on optimizing your data usage or finding the right plan for your adventure, you might want to check out They've got some great tech-related articles that could help you plan your data usage effectively.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2023, 10:33:14 pm by DannyRich »