While renting one of our impressive InReach units from Garmin, you'll be transmitting data to and/or from others via a satellite network. There is a charge for that data usage, in usage blocks of 1000 bytes. It's the way our subscription plans are set up on the units we rent, so this just passes that cost along based on your actual usage. There can be wide variances in data usage from user to user, but you are in full control of how much that is. We should estimate the amount of data needed based on your intended use, how much back and forth communication you need with home/office, and how long you are out on your trip.
You need to purchase X number of "bundles" of 1000 bytes of data ahead of your trip. On average, for most users "X" is 2-4 bundles, but there are are outliers all over the place. To help you get a better estimate, here are some typical average data byte counts for the most common usages:
Send a preset message - 13 bytes
Send or receive a custom message - about 1 byte per character - 80 bytes on average
Check for incoming messages - 13 bytes
Each tracking signal - 13 bytes
Example - Let's assume your rental includes a weekend trip for 3 days and two nights. You could send three preset messages you've added to your profile (such as "I'm OK; wish you were here") each day; plus send one custom text message and receive one reply each day; and then you check for incoming messages twice a day. That's a fairly common routine, and you would likely use less than a single bundle of bytes for your entire trip. But you need to run the math for your needs - if you're really "talkative" with folks back home; you send custom messages to multiple people; or you're out for a longer period, you'll probably need more. Fair warning - most renters use a lot more data than they planned. Guys get out in wilderness; in camp by 4pm; just sitting around; then think "hey, I know, I'll text my buddy and see what's happening at home!" Also note that data is used for message checks, tracking, weather alerts and when you receive messages.
If you go over your estimate, you won't run out, but you pay a higher rate on the back side for the overage because now we have to do accounting-type stuff, swap emails about the billing, etc - $12 a bundle if back-billed instead of just the $5 when bought ahead of time. So if you are budget-sensitive, take the time to make a good estimate and then minimize usage during the rental.
Some tips on minimizing data usage - use as many preset messages as you can instead of custom texts from the field; tell friends and family to keep replies back to you short and sweet; and don't needlessly send messages to multiple recipients. Turn off the tracking feature and automatic message checking. See details for DeLorme/Garmin InReach SE, or call us at 480-348-8917.