Most of us can't live without email or web these days. But what happens if you're going somewhere that doesn't have an internet connection? Fear not, we've got some handy hints that will ensure that you can still read emails and surf, you just have to plan ahead.

The web has become a staple in our everyday lives. But what happens when you go somewhere that doesn't have an internet connection, such as a plane for example?

If you're about to hyperventilate at the thought of a few hours without email or web browsing, fear not. You can still partake in these online activities, you just need to be prepared ahead of time.


You obviously can't send or receive email without an internet connection. But you can read messages you've already received and compose replies and new messages; those last two will simply wait patiently until you're online again.

Before you leave

If you use just one PC for email, and if you access all your accounts using POP, your incoming messages are automatically downloaded to your computer. If you set your email client to skip or partially retrieve large messages, you should change that before you go offline.

If you have one or more IMAP accounts, your email client is still likely to download local copies of your messages - but you should check a few settings to be sure. If you adjust your mail client's settings, your email will automatically sync your server-based mail folders with their local counterparts. Still, it doesn't hurt to check your email manually one last time just before leaving.

Google Gears for Gmail

If you use Google's Gmail and prefer to access your email using a web browser rather than a stand-alone email client, you can still get offline access to your saved mail and queue new messages to be sent later. You must first install Google Gears, which lets you work with Google apps offline.

Once you've downloaded Google Gears follow the instructions to install it. Then, log in to your Gmail account, click on the Settings link at the top of the page, and click on the Labs link. Look for the Offline option, select its Enable button, and then click on Save Changes. Now click on the Offline link at the top of the window. Click on Next to confirm you want to install offline access. If you want an optional shortcut, click on Yes.

Now wait while your mail synchs; this can take several minutes. Depending on the volume of mail you store, Gmail may download only a portion of it. When the synch is finished, you can safely go offline.

NEXT PAGE: Checking your email while on the road

  1. It's all in the preparation
  2. Checking your email while on the road
  3. Browsing the web without an internet connection