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World’s most and least smartphone-friendly travel destinations

World's most and least smartphone-friendly travel destinations
World's most and least smartphone-friendly travel destinations
Written by Harry Johnson

Modern travel means having every convenience at your fingertips, from checking into hotels to navigating a new country

Digital detox holidays are everywhere, but what if you’re more Insta-happy (or just want to use Google Maps abroad)?

Modern travel means having every convenience at your fingertips, from checking into hotels to navigating a new country as you hunt for its hidden gems.

That said, not all holiday destinations have caught up with the ways of modern traveling.

Travel industry experts have just released new research detailing the cheapest, easiest and most all-round phone-friendly destinations.

The researchers measured 17 top travel destinations against 11 metrics to find out which countries are best to take on holiday.

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The index measured factors such as 4G availability and 5G speeds, cost of data, average mobile internet speed, number of Wi-Fi hotspots, local SIM card availability for tourists, number of Instagram posts, cybersecurity and censorship.

The best countries to take your phone on holiday are the USA, the Netherlands and Italy

  • The United States of America is a clear winner, scoring a total of 87 out of 110. It scores big for 4G availability – the highest amongst all 17 countries – SIM card availability, cybersecurity and number of free public Wi-Fi spots.
  • Although in second place, The Netherlands trails considerably behind with a total score of 75. Its top scores include higher 5G speeds than any other country, great 4G availability and internet penetration rate, and promising online censorship scores.
  • Italy is in third place with a score of 67, thanks to its low data costs and being the most popular country based on Instagram posts.

Hungary, Mexico and Greece do worst for traveling with your phone

At the lower end of the scale are Hungary, Mexico and Greece.

  • Hungary gets 44 out of 110 mostly due to low popularity on social media, low number of free Wi-Fi spots and a poor rate of contactless payments.
  • Mexico scores 46 thanks to low 4G availability, few contactless payments, low cybersecurity measures.
  • Greece also scores 46, with its low number of free Wi-F spots and a poor contactless payments rate.

Turkey is the best place to save cash on your data usage

Looking specifically at price and phone usage, Turkey is where it’s cheapest to use your phone when considering the number of free Wi-Fi spots, costs of mobile data (based on 1GB of data) and mobile internet penetration rates. The top 5 holiday destinations for data usage are:

  1. Turkey low data rate at $0.65 per 1GB of data, 82% internet penetration, 278,376 free Wi-Fi spots.
  1. United States – one of the highest data rates ($7.28/GB) but also the greatest number of free Wi-Fi spots (409,185).
  2. Spain – high internet penetration rates (94%) and low cost of data ($1.64), low number of free Wi-Fi spots (93,225).
  3. France – 93% internet penetration, low cost of data ($0.80), low number of free Wi-Fi spots (57,381).
  4. United Kingdom – incredibly high internet penetration rates (98%), low data costs ($1.26), low number of free Wi-Fi spots (53,077).
  5. Italy – lowest data costs across all 17 countries ($0.38), 84% internet penetration rate, low number of free Wi-Fi spots (72,680).
  6. Thailand – decent internet penetration rates (77.8%), low cost of data ($1.11), low number of free Wi-Fi spots (121,978).
  7. Denmark – incredibly high internet penetration rate (99%), very low data costs ($0.72), second-lowest number of free Wi-Fi spots (7,151).
  8. Austria – high internet penetration rates (93%), low data costs ($0.98), low number of free Wi-Fi spots (10,616).
  9. United Arab Emirates – incredibly high internet penetration rate (99%), comparatively high data costs ($3.43), low number of free Wi-Fi spots (68,930).

Croatia’s the top destination for feeling safe when using your phone on holiday

While cybersecurity and censorship might not be top of mind while you’re on holiday, using your phone abroad can bring with it certain risks. Some countries may severely restrict the type of content you can access via the internet while others may not have online security measures in place. A low internet penetration rate could also mean it’s difficult to contact someone in an emergency. So, in which country are you most safe online?

  1. Croatia is the best destination for keeping you safe while using your phone on holiday, with good cybersecurity (92.53) and online censorship scores (1) and a high internet penetration rate (92).
  1. The United Kingdom gets second place, scoring 99.54 for cybersecurity, 2 for online censorship and has a near-perfect 99% internet penetration rate (the highest of all countries measured).
  2. The United States is in third place with a Global Cybersecurity Index Score of 100, a score of 2 for online censorship and a 98% internet penetration rate.
  3. Fourth place Italy also scores 2 for online censorship, alongside 96.13 for cybersecurity and 96% for internet penetration.
  4. The Netherlands rounds off the top five, with a score of 2 for online censorship, 97.05 for cybersecurity and 94% for internet penetration.

Showing off to friends at home

One of the perks of being on holiday is posting your travel snaps on social media knowing it’ll make your friends jealous. So, where is it easiest to both access social media and post your photos and videos in real-time? Looking at internet penetration rate, 4G coverage, average mobile internet speed and the countries that get the most posts on social media, the United States comes out on top.

About the author

Harry Johnson

Harry Johnson has been the assignment editor for eTurboNews for mroe than 20 years. He lives in Honolulu, Hawaii, and is originally from Europe. He enjoys writing and covering the news.

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