Imagine wandering the streets of a foreign land without Google Maps, WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook and Trip Advisor, without any way of looking up information or hailing a cab – without mobile data roaming.
But without an internet connection, you might as well not have your phone — and the last thing you want to do is scurry around from place to place praying for a public Wi-Fi hotspot.
So mobile data is crucial when you travel. Unfortunately, horror stories abound of people who used their phones abroad and realised the resulting phone bill cost more than their vacation. To help you avoid bill shock, here are some smarter ways to stay connected on the road and some of the cheapest options.
Option 1: Buy a local SIM Card
One simple way of saving on data roaming costs is to purchase a local SIM card.
PRO: Data packs on prepaid plans are usually affordable, and there’s the added benefit of having a local phone number to make and receive calls if needed.
CON: However, SIM cards may not be available at every airport, or you might arrive at an odd hour when all the shops are closed. You could probably buy one outside the airport at a convenience store, but this may be tricky in a country where English is not widely spoken. Moreover, it’s a bad idea to explore a foreign country without data, so do your research carefully if you intend to take this option.
Finally, buying a SIM card at the airport upon arrival needs no prior planning, but just be careful to check if it’s even possible at your destination.
You can order local SIM cards here and have them delivered to your home before you travel.
Option 2: Subscribe to a mobile data roaming plan from your telco
Your regular telco is likely to offer a mobile data roaming plan which allows you to use your home country SIM card overseas for a fixed price.
PRO: This means you can remain contactable at your local number, and although you won’t want to be answering too many calls overseas, it’s convenient to be able to receive SMS messages (e.g OTPs) for free.
CON: To subscribe for a data package with your existing telco is perhaps the most convenient option. But… this convenience comes at a price: it can be expensive to roam in countries where your telco has less preferential rates.
Option 3: Rent a Mobile Hotspot Wi-Fi router
Instead of buying a separate SIM card or activating a special data plan, you can opt to rent a mobile hotspot Wi-Fi router instead.
PRO: The main benefit is that the connection can be shared with multiple users, and you can stay contactable on your number while overseas. The downside is that whoever carries the router effectively becomes the anchor- it’s hard to split up and wander independently.
CON: Renting a Wi-Fi router is cheap and allows for multiple connections, but you could always do that with the hotspot function on your phone anyway, plus it limits the mobility of your group.
Option 4: Buy Alertify roaming SIM card
It’s possible to purchase a “roaming SIM” with generous mobile data allowances and have it delivered to your home before you travel. Upon reaching your destination, simply pop it into your phone and enjoy data from the moment you land.
A roaming SIM can offer fantastic rates, but you’ll need to invest some time doing research to find the best deal for your location. We can save you some time…
Get your Alertify international sim card here for just €9.90; simply select the destination, effective date, duration..and save up to 70% of the roaming charges. Once you arrive at your destination, the data package will be effective immediately.
Roaming costs keep on falling, which can only be good news for travellers. With the options available, there’s no reason to ever be off the grid…