Do you need a satellite phone to explore outback Australia

If you are planning to explore down under, then you may be considering the need for a satellite phone.

There is a somewhat simple answer to this, and 9 times out of 10 for a standard motorhome hire, we’d suggest you don’t need one. It really does depend on the type of trip you are planning, the time of year and the location you are visiting, which will influence your decision.

If you are planning on hiring a 2WD vehicle (check out what options we have available here) you will need to stick to sealed roads. Where there are sealed roads, you can be sure you will most likely see other travellers like yourselves or pass through settlements en-route. The sealed roads around Australia tend to cover the most popular travel routes that the majority of our clients tend to explore, where you will most likely come across passing traffic and/or houses nearby. In these cases, most travellers do not feel the need to take a satellite phone.

However, we would suggest for those of you who may be suffering from ill health, or have ill family/friends back home, or maybe are generally concerned about whether you should take a satellite phone, to investigate hiring one (prices vary from around $20 per day + call costs). On our Gallivanting Oz Escorted Tours, we always carry a satellite phone with us for peace of mind as there are sections of sealed roads which do not have any mobile phone coverage. As we are travelling a large number of days each year, we find the cost justification is definitely worth it for peace of mind.

For those of you who are planning a very different kind of holiday and looking to go off grid into remote areas in a 4WD (check out our 4WD vehicles here) then we suggest it is a good idea to hire a satellite phone for obvious reasons!

To be honest with you, in our years of exploring Australia and being on the road as often as we are, you’ll find that if you don’t have a satellite phone and something does go wrong, you will find even in remote areas, fellow travellers and locals are very helpful.

You could also consider the option of turning your mobile phone into a satellite phone with an adaptor. Some phones can add a device to it that turns it into being capable of sending and receiving satellite calls – although it could be that they are astronomical in costs to activate and use – but if you find yourself in an emergency it could be better than nothing. We would strongly suggest though that if you go down this route to really check this option out with your service provider before you leave, especially if you are using a mobile phone from overseas.

To help plan your journey and to decide on whether you think you are going to need to take a satellite phone, check out our blog on mobile phone coverage around Australia. You may find that the areas you are planning on visiting have enough mobile phone coverage so that it doesn’t warrant the need for a satellite phone.

If you are in the delightful throws of planning your vacation down under, then get in touch and we can work out the best vehicle for you depending on where you are planning on going and for how long. In the meantime, check out our travel routes too to get an idea of the types of places you can visit in this remarkable country of ours!