If you’re going to be traveling internationally, you need to decide what to do about your cell service. Having an active phone is helpful in case of an emergency, to contact your family and to use social media. If you have no idea what to do about your cellphone, here are three of the best ways to keep service when you’re traveling outside the country.
1. Check International Plans
The very first thing you should do before your trip is to contact your cell provider and ask about their international plans. Most major companies will charge you a specific daily rate for texting and calls, while others charge only for what you use. Other carriers have plans for Canada and Mexico only, so you may need to find an alternative.
2. Buy a Foreign SIM Card
Another way to take advantage of phone service while you’re traveling is to switch to a foreign SIM card. However, this method only works if you have a phone that’s unlocked. An unlocked cellphone means it isn’t tied to a specific carrier, allowing you to select any provider you like.
If you and your traveling companions have contracts, your best bet is to buy used refurbished iPhone XR models and designate for travel only. When you arrive at your destination, visit a phone kiosk at the airport and have them install a SIM card. Make sure you pay for enough service for the duration of your trip. This is usually quite inexpensive.
Keep in mind that when you’re using a foreign SIM card, you’ll be issued a foreign phone number. You’ll need to let your contacts know, or use a texting app such as Whatsapp that they’ll need to install, too.
3. Rely on Wi-Fi Only
Depending on where you’re traveling, you may decide to forego cell service altogether and use Wi-Fi instead. This would be the case if an international plan is too expensive or if you’re going to be away for just a short time. Likewise, when traveling to a remote area, your hotel’s Wi-Fi may be all you need. Make sure you keep your phone in airplane mode until you have a Wifi connection and then text as usual.
If you’re going out of the country, make sure you explore your cellphone service options before you leave. By securing an international plan or buying a refurbished phone for travel, you’ll have all the service you need.