Last updated on May 12, 2024 by Stefano Ferro, founder of MEL365, following extensive travelling in Sydney

Tech-Savvy In The City: How To Stay Connected When Travelling To Sydney

As Australia’s commercial capital, there’s plenty to see and do in and around the city of Sydney. From experiencing some of Australia’s most iconic tourist and cultural attractions up close to enjoying all the fine-dining options and other leisurely weekend haunts, planning a trip to Sydney is definitely going to see you put together a jam-packed itinerary.

For international visitors, our team of Sydney experts highly recommend sharing your trip itinerary with friends and loved ones back home. But what are the best methods for communicating with your loved ones back home when travelling to Sydney? Although it’s fairly easy to find Wi-Fi access wherever you go, there are easier (not to mention safer) ways to stay connected in this big city.

Today, we’ll be sharing our best tried and tested methods for enjoying safe, fast, and secure connectivity during your next trip to Sydney.

Registration at the iconic City2Surf
Registration at the iconic City2Surf

Use a secure network connection

A trip away is one of the best times to take advantage of a VPN free trial for either your mobile or any other personal devices. This is because installing a VPN on your phone or laptop can help provide your network connection with an extra layer of security, reducing the risk of malicious third parties being able to tap into your network connection and view your activities online.

Having a VPN installed on your devices can help reduce the risks of you falling victim to cyber attacks when travelling. With cases of phishing on the rise both in Australia and across the globe, using VPNs and other cyber security measures are rapidly being regarded as must-haves to keep yourselves safe when accessing the web.

Although using a VPN is recommended for virtually all device users across the globe, this cyber security measure is particularly essential for tech-savvy travellers who may have to use public Wi-Fi networks or even privately managed Wi-Fi networks that may likely be lacking in security. Even if your hotel network requires a password to gain access, there’s no guarantee that that network hasn’t been compromised, as passwords are handed out to dozens of guests on a daily basis. With such a large number of users accessing that network every day, an evil twin attack would be very easy to set up for even hobby hackers.

The Sydney CBD, view from the Opera House
The Sydney CBD, view from the Opera House

Grab some calling cards

Figuring out how best to call your family and loved ones when travelling abroad has likely been a big concern for all of us during our travel experiences. Although you can rack up some savings by securing yourself a mobile data plan when travelling to make internet calls through WhatsApp, Skype, or other apps, these calls can be subject to spottiness, poor sound quality, and other concerns due to network connectivity issues in the inner city.

Thankfully, there is an abundance of public payphones all around Sydney that accept calling cards to make international calls without having to pay extravagant rates per minute. You can purchase calling cards for select regions or countries at petrol stations and corner stores all over the Sydney CBD and even in Sydney’s metro suburbs.

As an added bonus, tourists and Sydney locals alike can also now enjoy free national calls when they use any Telstra payphones. So any tourists who are looking to connect with friends in Australia, rest assured that you’ll be able to reach them without even having to dig through your wallet for coins.

Get yourself an Opal card

As for physical connectivity, Sydney’s impressive infrastructure spans so much further than just digital assets like payphones and Wi-Fi networks. Sydney is also home to one of Australia’s most interconnected public transport networks, offering bus, train, light rail, and even ferry services to ticket holders.

For those looking to take advantage of Sydney’s expansive public transport network during their stay, the first thing you’ll want to do is buy yourself an Opal travel card. These cards will allow you to tap and pay for your journey when travelling on any buses, trains, and light rails in and around the Sydney metropolitan region, as well as in the Illawarra, Hunter Valley, and Blue Mountains regions in New South Wales.

Opal cards are available as physical cards for your wallet or even as a contactless card to be stored in your digital wallet. If your credit or debit card is contactless-enabled, you can even use these personal payment cards directly on Opal card readers rather than having to purchase an Opal card just for the duration of your stay!

One of my favourite top spotd for landscape photography in Sydney
One of my favourite top spotd for landscape photography in Sydney

Hire a car for your trip

Finally, although Sydney’s public transport network is pretty easy to navigate when you’re staying in the city’s metro region, those who are looking to travel across the greater Sydney area and around wider New South Wales during their stay are encouraged to secure a hire car. There are plenty of hire car providers available in Sydney, with many positioned in close proximity to Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport, making it easy for international visitors to pick up and drop off their hire car at the beginning and end of their trip.

If you’re travelling during Sydney’s peak travel period (from December to early April), we highly recommend booking your hire car in advance if you can, just to ensure that you get first pick when it comes to vehicle models. Booking in advance is particularly important for larger families or groups who may require a people mover to seat your entire travel party.

You’ll also want to sort out your international driving permit well before you’re set to fly out. The last thing you need in the lead-up to an international trip is a headache surrounding paperwork and waiting in queues.

The Observatory corner
The Observatory corner

As you can see, you don’t necessarily have to take a lot of photos in order to share your Sydney trip with your loved ones back home. With all these connectivity considerations made, chances are you’ll be able to enjoy your time in Sydney with your friends and family present every step of the way, even if they may not be travelling with you!

Just be sure to keep your safety and security in mind whenever you use any digital devices or network connections, both in Sydney and abroad.

Stefano Ferro - MEL365.com Founder and Editor

About the Author

Stefano is a seasoned travel expert and the visionary founder of MEL365.com, a leading travel website with traffic across 6 continents. With a rich background in the travel industry, Stefano spent four pivotal years at Amadeus Travel Distribution System, gaining invaluable insights into travel technologies and distribution.

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