How Much Data Do You Need When You’re Traveling?


Is 1GB data roaming enough for you when you’re abroad? Some people think it is not enough. But consumer data show otherwise.


User Behavior & Data Consumption Abroad


We tend to get questions about how much data does a traveler need when going abroad? For instance, we get this statement very often: 1GB is not enough. However, according to data consumption reports from industry leaders, this is what user behavior looks like when travelling:

  1. Data show that travelers are more concerned about not having data than about having the ability to make phone calls or sent text messages
  2. Travelers exhibit mainly similar behavior which can be categorizes as: smart/economical travelers, business travelers, and reckless traveler
  3. More than 70% of travelers need to use the internet while on the road – others don’t mind waiting to get back to their hotels or where they stay

So What Do They Use The Internet (Data Roaming) For?

  • It has been reported that more than 70% of travelers need data roaming to keep themselves equipped with information related to their trip
  • More than 60% of travelers need data roaming to check on their itinerary: checking-in, hotel booking, and other details
  • More than half of travelers use data roaming for browsing
  • On average, travelers tend to use around 1.5GB per month OR 50mbs per day

Remember, this is how much a person uses when travelling. Now, what about streaming music, listening to podcasts, watching YouTube and/or anything similar – WHILE TRAVELING?

Here is a summary for streaming services data consumptions:


  • Spotify premium: 72MB – 115MB every hour
  • Apple Music: 28MB – 55.5MB per hour
  • Podcast streaming: average of 60MB for 50 – 60 minutes podcast
  • Watching YouTube: 100MB – 500MB per hour

Apps With High Data Consumption:

  • Facebook scrolling: 100MB per hour
  • Instagram scrolling: 100MB per hour
  • Web browsing: 60MB per hour
  • Twitter scrolling: 45MB per hour
  • One hour of Skype call: 45MB

Apps With Economic Data Consumption:

  • WhatsApp Call: 12MB – 45MB per hour (Depending on the service quality – 2G, 3G, 4G)
  • Facebook Messenger Call: 19MB per hour (Depending on the service quality – 2G, 3G, 4G)
  • Waze usage: 5 – 15MB per hour
  • Google Maps usage: 36MB Per hour

So, how much do you really need when you travel?  Keep in mind, hotel internet can be useful if you want to download music, videos, or anything for entertainment purposes. And keep your data for the most important things – ROAMING ON THE ROAD.


Now, what’s the usage average for NON-ROAMING mobile data – I know, I said don’t compare – but you know it will happen anyway!

Average Data Consumption In The EU


According to GlobalData Report published on Dec 4th, we have some interesting numbers regarding the usage of data across the EU. The report states that citizens and residents of the EU consumed on average 2.4GB of mobile data per SIM monthly.

The highest end of the spectrum has mainly 4 countries: Finland takes the lead in data consumption among all Europeans with an average of 13.3GB per SIM per month. Austria comes in second place with an average monthly data usage of 5.7GB per SIM. Poland’s monthly usage average is 3.7GB and Russians use 3.5GB per SIM per month.

The other end of the spectrum, the Ukraine, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Germany represent the lowest amount of average usage of mobile data with an average of less than 1GB per month per SIM.

In 2016, Finland used nearly 11GB in mobile data per SIM per month, Austria used 6.3GB per SIM per month, and slight fluctuation in other EU countries.

Data Usage In The US


Across the Atlantic, in the US specifically, average monthly data usage is between 2GB and 5GB per smartphone, according to major reports.’s report states that the average mobile data usage per subscriber in the United States was roughly 3.9 GB per month, which suggests a strong lean towards the higher end of the user range.

When compared to 2013, the data usage has almost double as it was below 2GB per month, according to Verizon. breaks down the data usage by age group – in the US:

  • 18-24 years: 3.2GB
  • 25-34 years: 3.6GB
  • 35-44 years: 2.9GB
  • 45-54 years: 2.2GB
  • 55-64 years: 1.4GB
  • 65 years and older: 0.9GB

This isn’t a trend limited to the EU and the US. In fact, CISCO reported that global mobile data traffic has increased 63% and will continue to grow. Additionally, global mobile data usage has increased 18 folds since 2011.

Data Usage Projection 2021 – NON-ROAMING


By 2021, we will see an explosion in data usage for various reasons. An average mobile phone user will be consuming nearly 6.8GB of mobile data per month per SIM. But that is not all.

Here are some important figures:

  • Mobile data usage will increase by nearly 50% as of 2021
  • The numbers of mobile devices per capita will increase (1.5 mobile devices per capita)
  • Connection speed will increase 3 folds from its current status (20.4mbs)
  • 53% of all connections will be via 4G – but this will account for nearly 80% of total data traffic
  • 5G will be rolled out but will continue to be limited to nearly 25 million users
  • 73% of all connected mobile devices could support IPv6 mobile network connections
  • More than 75% of data consumption will be on video streaming