Taking an iPhone Abroad

Is it easier to take an Android phone abroad than it is to take an iPhone? That is mostly true. There are a couple of things that are going to be a little more complex when taking an iPhone. Especially if you are traveling to certain areas of the world where technology is not exactly a strong suit in the area. Also, it may be a little more expensive for you to do the things that you need to do. Buying SIM cards does not exactly fall under more expensive. It is just that some companies won’t have the type of SIM card that you need. If you have a clear plan on what you want to do it may not seem as hard or overly expensive. 

The idea then, behind this particle article is to let you know what you should be on the lookout for when you are taking an iPhone abroad. Just to make sure that you don’t end up overpaying for coverage and even gadgets. The dual feature in many of the newer versions of the iPhone can certainly be considered a huge upside. Since you are not going to have to switch out SIM cards. This situation though can be a two-edged sword. If you don’t deal with it properly you can end up paying big money on roaming fees. Obviously a major talking point within this entire site is to ensure that you are able to obtain the best deal possible on any plan or way to obtain data that you chose. With that in mind here are some of the common questions that we’ve gotten on the subject. 

  • Is getting a SIM card for an iPhone abroad difficult?
  • Is there a difference in the type of coverage that I could get on an iPhone abroad or Android phone? 
  • How to properly use an eSIM or double SIM feature
  • Do I need to buy any type of gadgets abroad?
  • How much can I realistically expect to pay for coverage abroad? 
  • Is it worth it to buy a travel iPhone abroad?       

Is getting a SIM card for an iPhone abroad difficult?

This is something that we have mentioned in other articles. It is not that it is overly difficult if you know where to look. Ideally, you will have everything worked about before you arrive at your destination. In a lot of ways trying to find the right SIM card on the street is going to be tough. When it comes to eSIMs those can be even more of a problem. Not all SIM card providing companies out there are going to be able to give you an eSIM. This is not going to be a problem if you travel to the UK or Japan, but it could be a problem in South America and other parts of Europe and Asia. We can point you in the right direction of course. Just as a tip it is probably a good idea to take care of this before you travel. That way you will be set up and ready to go once you arrive. 

Is it going to be easier for you to get a SIM card for an Android phone? The answer to this question is just definite yes. You are going to have a lot more wiggle room. As far as the number of service providers that you are going to be able to choose from. Again, this is something that is going to be especially true if you need an eSIM. At the time of writing, this article eSIMs are not offered by all of the service providers out there. Of course, this is something that is set to change over time. Especially if the entire cell phone industry starts going with eSIMs as the norm. At this particular point in time though, this can still be an issue. Therefore, it is something that is worth keeping in mind. Once again, the best thing that you can do is make sure you are all set before you get to your destination.   

Is there a difference in the type of coverage that I could get on an iPhone abroad or Android phone?

There should not be any difference between the type of coverage that you would be able to get. The only issue that could alter this would be going to a country whose, service providers do not offer a SIM card or eSIM that is compatible with your particular phone. This is something that is not all that likely. That would be the only issue though that could make a difference between the type of coverage that you would be able to obtain. It is usually not an issue though, that you would have to be overly worried about at any point.   

How to properly use an eSIM or double SIM feature

Having a phone that has the ability to hold multiple SIMs at any given time is a great blessing. Otherwise, what you would have to do is remove your “regular” SIM card to be able to put in a local one. What happens in these situations is that your regular phone is basically deactivated until you put that SIM card back in. With the dual SIM feature, you are able to field calls and texts from two phone numbers on the same phone. Of course, there are more benefits, but this is basically the main one. iPhones have really developed this feature to the point where you can pick and choose which SIM card is giving you the coverage at any given time. All of this probably seems pretty great right? There are a couple of problems that actually stem from one simple mistake. That can see you end up paying quite a bit of cash in the long run. 

The proper use of this feature is very simple. What you need is to make sure that you are getting your data from the right SIM. Most of the phones that offer a dual SIM feature may automatically switch over to the SIM that is able to provide the best coverage. If you just let your phone automatically switch though you could find yourself using the wrong data. Even doing this a couple of times a day can lead to roaming charges. Which, is basically what you are trying to avoid in the first place by getting a foreign SIM. All that you have to do is to make sure that you turn off data from your regular SIM and use the foreign SIM. When you get back home you can delete or remove the foreign SIM if you want. Just to make sure that you don’t get them mixed up. It is overly simple, but as was mentioned before a small mistake can cost you a lot of money. It is something that you should really keep in mind.      

Do I need to buy any type of gadgets abroad?

It is really going to depend on where you are going. If you are traveling within the American continent you are not going to have to buy any type of special gadgets. If on the other hand what you are doing involves crossing the pond, that is another story. Voltage converters are something that you are going to want to know about. Basically, with these gadgets you are going to be able to plug in your phone chargers. Without them, you really don’t have many choices. This can be a downside for taking an iPhone abroad. A lot of times in other articles we have talked about buying chargers abroad instead of using a voltage regulator. The thing is if you are using a gadget that regulates the voltage in the right manner you would not need to worry about a thing. If this regulator fails you can be in big trouble. That is why it may be a good idea to go ahead and buy a local charger. With an iPhone, it can be a tough call though. If you buy a cheap charger that could also end up damaging your phone. Buying an original new charger from the Apple store can be a bit expensive. 

When you take into account some of the other gadgets that you need to take on the trip, like your tablet or laptop the bill can pile up quickly. That is why maybe the best plan is to make sure that you buy a good voltage converter or regulator. That will ideally allow you to plug in numerous items at any given time. Another thing that is a constant throughout the site is warning people about staying away from cheap voltage converters. Think of it this way they are the only thing standing between an electric current that could damage your phone or any object. If they fail it can certainly spell bad news for you. So, it is not one of those things that are worth trying to save a lot of money on.    

How much can I realistically expect to pay for coverage abroad and extra costs?

This is a situation that we have tackled in many other articles on the site. We want to go over a special part here though. To talk about some of the extra costs that you could come across while taking your iPhone abroad. Things like buying a charger or any other gadget that you could need. So that if and when you decide to do this you have a chance to see what it is going to cost you in the end. 

Let’s say that you need to buy a USB-C Power Adapter. This is literally just the part that plugs into the wall so that you can charge your phone without having to use a voltage converter. That tiny piece of equipment is going to cost you 30 British pounds. Which is going to be roughly around 37 dollars. Depending of course on how currencies adapt to these changing times. This cost does not even include the lighting to USB cable. The shortest version of this cable costs 20 British pounds. Of course, if you have an iPhone you are already going to have this cable. So this is not a must buy. In comparison, you can get a Samsung Android charger with a cable for around 12 pounds. 

We are not just throwing these numbers out to deter you from taking your iPhone abroad. If you own any Apple product you know better than most that you are going to be paying that premium price. To be honest, we tend to recommend buying the power adapter. It is one of those things that is going to give you the peace of mind that your phone is not in danger or it may not charge properly. Many people would lose it with a dead phone in the middle of the day and really no way to charge it. It is an investment that you are only going to be making one time around. Yet, it can literally serve you for any future trip that you may take. Also, this is only something that you are going to need if you are traveling to Europe. 

Now, What Are You Actually Going To Spend on Coverage

Sorry about the detour, now, here is the real quick breakdown of the costs of actual coverage abroad. If you are traveling to Mexico or Canada you can get special rates from US service providers. A lot of them carry packages that allow you to use your iPhone with the same number and pretty much in the same manner as you would at home while visiting these countries. T-Mobile gives you the option to pay around 15 dollars extra per month of your prepaid plan to pretty transfer the same type of coverage that you would get at home. If you add 15 dollars to what you normally that could seem like a bit. Especially if you are paying for more than one line. At the end of the day though, it just makes things a lot easier. You pay and you go about your life as usual. 

Buying a SIM card in Mexico, as we have said before can be overly cheap. With around 10 dollars you can get a monthly prepaid plan on your Mexican SIM card. Candian rates are usually 30 and up with very limited coverage. Obviously, as you go up the pay scale you expect more data and texts. In this particular case though, those 15 dollars sound like a great deal! 

As far as Europe and basically the rest of the world goes, at this point in time, there are no deals that are as friendly as the Mexico and Canada deal. You can probably expect to pay around 24 to 30 dollars for a SIM card with decent benefits. There is a 50 dollar SIM card from Orange with 20GB that is pretty decent. You can expect to pay around 30 to 50 dollars for monthly coverage. With usually limited texts and calls. Don’t expect a very low price for an unlimited option. Sticking with your own service provider in Europe or most of the other places across the globe is going to cost you the famous 10 dollars a day fee. That we have talked a lot about on the site. That is pretty much the most expensive option.      

Is it worth it to buy a travel iPhone abroad?

If you happen to have an old version of an iPhone just lying around and you want to turn it into your travel phone that is great. If you actually want to upgrade to a newer iPhone version because of the dual SIM benefits that would actually make sense. Especially if you are someone who happens to travel a lot. You are one of those people that has a collection of SIM cards from all across the globe. Go for it, honestly, this new technology really benefits travelers. Some developers that use an Android system have their own phones with dual SIM capabilities. At least at this point though, the iPhone version seems to be pretty easy to operate. If you want to make your life easier in that particular situation it does make sense to upgrade. 

On the other hand, if you are just going to go out and buy a new iPhone to make it your travel phone it does not make a lot of sense financially. You are going to buy a new phone that is just picking up dust while you are not traveling? Buying add ons for this phone is also something that is going to be more expensive. You are going to be spending more money. There is really no doubt about that. Plus, you are going to have to deal with the compatibility issues that are a staple of Apple products. This could mean having to buy that 37 dollar power adapter. Then again, if money is not a concern and you are a loyal Apple customer go right ahead. There is no denying the fact that they know how to build quality products.