11 Reasons To Get A Local SIM Card For Your Smartphone When You Travel

Kerwin McKenzie Travel Tools 25 Comments

Vodafone Yes Optus Australia Local SimOne of the frequent questions I see being asked by Passriders is whether or not they should get a SIM card for their phone when they travel. As such, I had written this post with seven steps to follow when traveling so you can continue to communicate as if you are home.

It seems like its not enough, so I’ve now written the following 11 reasons why you should definitely get a local SIM card for your smartphone when you travel. Sure you can use local Wifi, but that’s not always available and it keeps you restricted to only one place at a time:

  1. You can text your friends and family using several free texting Apps
  2. International phone rates are really expensive, not to mention data rates
  3. You can call a local number to check flight loads and/or list for your flight
  4. You can use the mapping Apps to navigate your trip
  5. You can use the mapping Apps to get the schedule for local public transportation
  6. You can quickly re-list yourself if necessary when you get bumped
  7. You can research and book hotels when you arrive at your destination at the last minute
  8. You can check the standby list/loads while waiting to be cleared at the airport
  9. You can keep in touch with your friends and family from almost anywhere
  10. You can email or post on social media pictures of you enjoying your trip
  11. You can use mobile check-in for your flight

 

What would you like to add? Please leave a comment below. Plus share with your fellow Passriders.

Comments 25

  1. You can call your newly made local conquests at local call rates (with a local caller ID) and, can give your new friends a local phone number to call you back on.  

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  2. You can call your newly made local conquests at local call rates (with a local caller ID) and, can give your new friends a local phone number to call you back on.  

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  3. Our phones are not Gsm phones which use SIM cards as only T-Mobile and some expensive smart phones in the USA have SIM cards and we are a CDMA country. However, we buy cheap GSM phones on the  internet that use SIM cards and are enabled to be used on any company’s system. Then we buy the cards when we get to our destination and buy more minutes as necessary. This way we have a phone even if it does not have the full functions of a smart phone. 

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      Author
  4. Our phones are not Gsm phones which use SIM cards as only T-Mobile and some expensive smart phones in the USA have SIM cards and we are a CDMA country. However, we buy cheap GSM phones on the  internet that use SIM cards and are enabled to be used on any company’s system. Then we buy the cards when we get to our destination and buy more minutes as necessary. This way we have a phone even if it does not have the full functions of a smart phone. 

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      Author
  5. perhaps 2 years ago this would have been accurate. T-Mobile offers free data worldwide, and calls are cheap. I use my phone worldwide as an airline pilot, and can finally stop worrying about sim cards. The data is slow, and I have not paid to upgrade to faster international service. Id say it is comparable to dial up speeds. so no network streaming of anything. That is where wifi comes in. The data is fast enough for emails, texts, and most importantly (to me), Maps!

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      Hi Tommy,
      Thank you for your note and thanks for flying those long trips while I kickback usually in Economy class :-).

      Points well taken about the T-Mobile plan, but here’s why I don’t use the T-Mobile plan (I’m a current T-Mobile customer BTW).
      1). the calls are 20c/minute; I don’t want to pay that as people call me all the time, especially my mom :-).
      2). My local friends have to call/text a U.S. number to reach me. They mostly text; I’m not sure of the international text rate with the t-Mobile International Plan.
      3). I’m a creature of habits :-).
      4). I can tether/Wifi hotspot my phone when I’m international, T-Mobile won’t let me do it unless I change my plan; although I need to check if the International plan allows it.

      I’ve had mostly good experiences with data speeds internationally. Yes, some countries are terrible, but I’ve had great service in Norway, Jamaica, the U.K., Germany, Ireland to name a few. Note that T-Mobile will contract with these same local providers to provide you the international service. So sometimes you are as good as the provider they choose.

      I’ll agree that it is uber convenient to not have to change SIM cards on arrival, but I’m so accustomed to it by now.

      Yes, Maps are a biggie for me too, but having a local number is perhaps the biggest reason as its more convenient for my local friends and I have a Skype number so my U.S. number gets forwarded to that number and I’m good to go.

      It’s really a matter of what works best for the individual and remember not everyone is on T-Mobile :-). Tommy, I truly appreciate the fact that you took the time to drop a note here and thanks for keeping me aloft and supporting the site.

      Kerwin
      http://www.Passrider.com
      http://www.Facebook.com/Passrider

  6. perhaps 2 years ago this would have been accurate. T-Mobile offers free data worldwide, and calls are cheap. I use my phone worldwide as an airline pilot, and can finally stop worrying about sim cards. The data is slow, and I have not paid to upgrade to faster international service. Id say it is comparable to dial up speeds. so no network streaming of anything. That is where wifi comes in. The data is fast enough for emails, texts, and most importantly (to me), Maps!

    1. Hi Tommy,
      Thank you for your note and thanks for flying those long trips while I kickback usually in Economy class :-).

      Points well taken about the T-Mobile plan, but here’s why I don’t use the T-Mobile plan (I’m a current T-Mobile customer BTW).
      1). the calls are 20c/minute; I don’t want to pay that as people call me all the time, especially my mom :-).
      2). My local friends have to call/text a U.S. number to reach me. They mostly text; I’m not sure of the international text rate with the t-Mobile International Plan.
      3). I’m a creature of habits :-).
      4). I can tether/Wifi hotspot my phone when I’m international, T-Mobile won’t let me do it unless I change my plan; although I need to check if the International plan allows it.

      I’ve had mostly good experiences with data speeds internationally. Yes, some countries are terrible, but I’ve had great service in Norway, Jamaica, the U.K., Germany, Ireland to name a few. Note that T-Mobile will contract with these same local providers to provide you the international service. So sometimes you are as good as the provider they choose.

      I’ll agree that it is uber convenient to not have to change SIM cards on arrival, but I’m so accustomed to it by now.

      Yes, Maps are a biggie for me too, but having a local number is perhaps the biggest reason as its more convenient for my local friends and I have a Skype number so my U.S. number gets forwarded to that number and I’m good to go.

      It’s really a matter of what works best for the individual and remember not everyone is on T-Mobile :-). Tommy, I truly appreciate the fact that you took the time to drop a note here and thanks for keeping me aloft and supporting the site.

      Kerwin
      http://www.Passrider.com
      http://www.Facebook.com/Passrider

    1. Post
      Author
  7. I would also add that phones that support the LTE connection can’t be locked by the carrier, so people with phones that are under contract should still be able to by a SIM internationally to use in their phone.

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