When you are looking to take a trip anywhere outside of your regular country of residence there are a couple of things that you ought not to forget. There are the typical things if we could call them that. Things like not forgetting your plane tickets, your passport or other types of documents that you are probably going to need. There are other things that you have to keep in mind though when asking can I use my phone overseas. Many of them have to do with using the typical gadgets that you use abroad. These days people spend more time looking at their phones than they ever did in front of a TV. That is saying something! Yet, using your phone abroad can get difficult if you don’t know a couple of tricks of the trade.
With that in mind, we have tried to answer some of the frequent questions that people ask about using their phones abroad. That way you can have a better idea of what to expect. Also, at certain times what you may need to do in order to actually get your phone to work.
- Does my plan include coverage abroad?
- Is buying a sim card from a local phone company a good idea?
- Making sure that you bring the right gadgets to charge your phone
- What will happen to my phone if I put a new sim card in
- How To Use My Phone Overseas?: Is Buying a new phone abroad an option?
- Are prepaid plans better than long term contracts?
- Apps to call or receive calls abroad
Does my plan include coverage abroad?
This is probably the first question that everyone has on this subject. The easy answer would be to say to call your phone service provider and ask them “can I use my phone overseas directly”. The thing with that solution is that a lot of times some of the main phone service providers are going to give you the half-truth. This is actually something that is very “dangerous” if you will. What they will do is tell that sure x number of minutes to make calls or whatnot. That may be true you are going to be able to make a call, but you may not be able to receive calls. On the other hand, you may have the ability to make a call, but you won’t be able to use data abroad. For a lot of folks that are pretty much the most important part of their average cell phone use.
AT&T International Day Pass
One of the options that you are going to have as an AT&T subscriber is the ability to request a day pass. This is one of the better options as far as coverage goes. That is because you are literally going to get good coverage you are going to have data abroad. Which, is something that you are probably not going to be able to obtain otherwise. The problem with this option though could end up being the price tag. If you are going to spend two weeks abroad you could expect a 150 dollar increase on your phone bill.
Verizon Travel Pass
The Verizon travel pass pretty much works the same exact way that AT&T one does. You can activate relatively easily. The thing is you are going to have to pay 10 dollars a day per line, plus any charges that these companies typically like to make. In short, it is again an expensive ordeal. Does it work though? Yes, it works fine, if you happen to have a phone that is configured to work overseas. That is another issue that you are going to have to deal with.
Sprint and T-Mobile actually offer better international plans. Yet, they are not the most popular carriers on a national level. If you want to know more about the way that these phone carriers work be sure to check out the specific article that we already wrote on the subject.
Is buying a sim card from a local phone company a good idea?
This is certainly one of the better options out there as far as the price goes. You are going to be able to obtain a prepaid plan from some of the top companies in Europe for a pretty decent fee. Just like these Vodaphone deals for 9.50 pounds a month. There are certainly a wide variety of options in this particular case. You actually buy a sim card on Amazon from some of the top mobile providers. The problem is that there are a lot of numbers across the screen. There are options such as GigSky where 100MB 10 pounds. Depending on how much you use your phone at these rates you may even be better off just buying the daily plan from your regular service provider.
That is really what it is going to come down to. How much are you going to use your phone abroad? If you switch out to local wifi whenever you can it could be a great way to make buying a sim card a better option. If you know that you are going to burn through data the 10-dollar unlimited plan may not be the worse idea. If you are traveling to Mexico or Central America things change. You can get a sim card and data for a whole month for around 12 dollars. So, in this case, it could be a better deal.
Making sure that you bring the right gadgets to charge your phone
This is another one of those things that a lot of people get wrong. Actually getting this wrong could have a lot of consequences in the end. You have to be sure that the converter that you buy is going to be able to handle the type of use you are going to give it. The first thing that people do is just go out and buy those cheap ones that you can get directly on the plane. The thing with current converters is that a cheap one could serve you well for a full month. At the same time, it could burn out in 5 minutes. If you are just using it to charge your phone you could be fine.
The reality is though, that you may need for more than that. If you are going to need to charge other gadgets you could be in trouble. The worst thing that you can do is to try and power blower dryers and pretty much anything that is electric related to hair. This is literally going to leave you with 2 main options. You are either going to invest some good money on a top of the line current converter or you just buy your hair dryer once you arrive. You don’t have to buy something that is overly expensive. The thing is, with the number of gadgets that a normal person travels with these days the cheap converters are not going to cut it. Chances out they are going to burn out quickly. This could actually have a negative effect on your devices.
There is another issue with sim cards that was not talked about before. Most of the new devices that are out on the market today are going to be locked by your service provider. This means that just taking out one sim card and putting in another is not going to be as easy as you would have liked. Phone unlocking is widely seen as a sort of sketchy tactic. In a sense, it is a basic form of hacking. What you can do before you put in a new sim card is get your phone unlocked. A lot of the people that are selling cell phone gadgets at malls are going to be able to get that done for you. If that does not seem like something that you are going to be ok with there is another option.
At times actually you are going to be able to have your phone unlocked by the people that are working at the store where you buy the new sim card. So let’s say for argument sake that you are looking for a Vodaphone sim card. If you go to the store chances are an employee there is going to be able to unlock your phone. Once you do that then you are going to be able to insert the sim card.
One of the negative aspects of this is that potentially, data could be lost from your phone. The best thing that you can do is make sure that you have all of your pictures and things of that nature backed up or in a cloud-based platform. That way you won’t have to worry too much about potentially losing data. Which, is certainly something that a lot of people are worried about these days.
How To Use My Phone Overseas?: Is Buying a new phone abroad an option?
This actually should not be the worse idea out there. There are phones that you are going to be able to get at very decent prices. When you buy a local phone you are going to get a charge that works with the local voltage. This means that you are not going to have a need to put in a converter. Which, is as we talked about something that can get complicated if you are not using them correctly or if you buy something that is cheap. The reality of the situation is that a lot of price on these things is going to depend on how you use your data. If you are able to use your data wisely then you are going to be able to buy a phone and a prepaid plan that are going to allow you to have sort of this emergency phone if you will.
The same type of advice is going to apply. When you can, you should use a wifi connection. Whether it be at a hotel or at another venue where you may be stationed. Especially if you are using a prepaid plan that has a limited amount of data. This can turn out to be a pretty difficult task for all of those people that are used to unlimited data. There is really no sense of buying a plan abroad with unlimited data unless you are planning to be there for at least a year or so. Especially if you plan to keep the regular plan that you have from the United States.
Are prepaid plans better than long term contracts?
There is kind of a lot of layers to this particular question. So, we are going to want to break these down bit by bit. As far as what we were just talking about it safe to say that buying a plan from a mobile service provider a broad may not be a great idea. There is just one reason for that. A lot of these plans have forced durations. This means that you could still be paying for your plan even months after you have returned home. Even if you are able to find this “perfect” plan that is going to allow you to have a local phone it is probably because you just haven’t read the fine print yet.
In most of these situations, you may be able to get out of your plan after one month. Yet, you are going to have to pay a fee to do so. Is that going to be less expensive for you than paying the 10 dollars a day fee that Verizon and AT&T charge? That is actually debatable. The fact is to be able to hold a plan at least in the UK they have to run your credit. This really could be something that you don’t want to get into. Even if it seems that sort of at the end of the day you are going to be saving money.
Local Prepaid Plans With An American Phone On A Prepaid Plan
Now, if the question is based on local plans and their coverage abroad that could change the whole landscape completely. The big deal with most of the domestic prepaid plans that the US service providers offer is that you can’t receive calls abroad. Your data also ends up being very limited. Yet, this is something that people in other countries do if they need to have a US number. For the most part, though it is safe to say that prepaid plans from American service providers are not exactly a great deal if you want to take your phone abroad.
You are probably going to be able to get very limited coverage. Actually, if you have a prepaid plan in America your best bet may be to not make any payments at all to that phone for the particular time that you are abroad. You are going to be able to use the phone while being connected to the local wifi. Usually, these phones that are used for prepaid plans are already unlocked. So, your best bet may be to actually just grab a prepaid plan abroad. You can pretty much shift the payment that you would make to your regular plan out to your new service provider. The issue that could face is that your phone number may end up changing. It is actually going to change if you buy a sim card from another country of course. You are going to get a phone number from that particular place. That is basically what a SIM card does in the simplest of terms. Once you want to go back to your regular American SIM you may lose your number. That is one of the dangers if you will of going through with this particular process.
I Have A Long-term Plan In America
If you have a long term plan in America you are going to have a couple of options to choose from. The number one option is literally to just use your phone on local wifi. This is going to save you a lot of money on roaming fees. There is obviously a major downside to this particular option. Which, is the fact that you are going to be disconnected from the world when you have no wifi. This could turn out to be a liberating experience though! It is also going to be the most inexpensive and easy-to-do option.
The other idea is to just pay the 10 dollar fee. Yes, it may be by far even the most expensive of all of the options that you are going to have. That is just the fact, but it is also a hassle-free option. Do you really want to be at a mobile phone store or something like that on your trip trying to figure out what you can do? If the answer is no then, these last two options are by far the best two. Especially when we are talking about traveling to Europe. As was mentioned before, if you are traveling to other parts of the world where these types of services are cheap you are going to be able to get a phone and a sim card for under 25 dollars.
Apps to call or receive calls abroad
If you are looking to save as much money as you can while abroad on your phone bill your best bet is going to be to use one of these apps. In this day and age, the fact is, there is a lot of apps that you can use to hold phone calls. Texting is not as easy in other countries as it is in the United States. Abroad a lot of people use Whatsapp to chat with their friends. This can be your option to be able to text and call friends. All that you are going to have to do is have your friends and family download it as well. You are going to be able to call and text when you have a wifi connection abroad.
If you are going to need to make calls for more a business approach there are actually two main apps that you can use. One of them is Google hangouts. You are going to be able to contact basically everyone in your Gmail, mailing list. The app allows you to send quick text messages. So you don’t have to hit someone up with multiple emails just to say watts up. If you are using Hotmail, Outlook or whatever it is that you are calling it these days Skype is still the go-to option. Downloading the app is super easy and again you can basically contact anyone on your mailing list.
How To Use My Phone Overseas: Conclusion
As you can see a lot of times the question of “can I use my phone overseas” is not one that can be answered with just a yes or a no. There are a wide variety of elements that you would do well to consider before ultimatly taking a trip. There are times where you could potentially find yourself evauating prices, and comparing coverage speeds. Ideally in doing so you’ll be able to find something that works for you.