Many people taking a trip to Japan get a pre-paid SIM card or rent a pocket WiFi so they can have fast and stable internet access during their trip. However, before you choose between getting a prepaid SIM or renting a pocket WiFi in Japan, you should calculate how much data you’re going to need for yourself or for your group if traveling together with other people. Too large of a data plan, and you could end up paying for data allowances you don’t use; not enough data and you’ll hit your data cap and have your speed throttled down.
Calculating your data usage
If you’re wondering “How much mobile data do I need?” here are some useful tips to help you calculate your data usage. Keep in mind that data usage varies by device so these figures are based on averages and are only meant to provide an estimate of how much data you can expect to use in Japan. 1MB is 1024KB and 1GB equals 1024MB. Using the information above, you can see that you don’t need to be downloading huge files to exceed 3GB of data.
Controlling your smartphone data usage in Japan
Here are some additional tips to help you control your smartphone data usage in Japan.
- Avoid streaming music and load your phone or music player with some tunes before you go. The same goes for TV shows and movies if you think you’re going to need some entertainment for long train rides, save the videos to your device in advance rather than streaming.
- Avoid watching Youtube as much as possible just 10 minutes of Youtube a day can use up 1GB of data a month, while HD videos use double that amount.
- Limit your social media usage if you can. Refreshing your Twitter stream multiple times a day probably won’t make you hit any data limits, but refreshing your news feed on Facebook several times can use a lot more data if you’ve got a lot of friends and are frequently checking their updates. In addition, uploading photos to social media uses several megabytes of data each time. You may want to select a larger data plan if you’re planning on uploading many photos during your Japan trip or wait until you get home to do any massive uploading.
4 data usage tips for iPhones
- Download any apps you think you may need before coming to Japan. Downloading a bunch of apps to your iPhone can use quite a bit of data, so make sure to install them before you arrive. Skype as well as the popular Japanese messaging service LINE app are both around 60MB each.
- Monitor which apps use the most data by going to Settings > General > Usage. You may want to close these after use so they’re not running in the background. In fact, closing apps you’re not using can help save data and battery life while you’re traveling around Japan.
- If you have iOS7, you can disable specific apps from running in the background by going to Settings > General > Background App Refresh. The apps that have a location icon beside them use location services, which can be an additional data hog.
- Finally, you can turn off push email and switch it to manual mode while you’re in Japan under Settings> Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Fetch New Data. This will prevent your iPhone from automatically checking and downloading your emails when you don’t need it to.
You can read more about maxamizing your iPhone’s performance here.
4 data usage tips for Android devices
- See how much data your apps are using in Ice Cream Sandwich and later versions of Android by going to Settings > Data Usage and viewing your app data usage stats. Many Android apps allow you to fine-tune your settings to use less data if you need to; while you’re in Japan, you may want set them so they don’t update their content in the background.
- Stop your device from auto-updating apps by going to Menu > Settings > Auto-update apps and choosing “Do not auto-update apps”. Manually update only the apps that you need to while you’re traveling.
- Google Chrome has a built-in option that compresses web pages to reduce data usage when you’re browsing the internet. Open the Chrome app on your device, tap the menu button, then go to Settings > Bandwidth management > Reduce data usage to enable the feature.
How to choose a data plan that’s right for you
If you’re sharing your internet data as a family or with other members of your group, you can quickly go through your data allowance if each person is not being mindful of how much data they are using. By using the image?above, you can calculate how much data you’re going to need and find ways to reduce your data usage. However, rather than buying the cheapest plan available, it’s important to be realistic about your data usage and pick the plan that fits your data needs best. Once You’ve figured out, check out our products page for details on pocket Wifi rental options and data SIM cards.