Traveling overseas for the holidays?
Staying connected while traveling abroad is a must these days, whether you need your phone for work, to call home or just to catch an Uber. Unless you’re on Safari in Africa where there’s little to no coverage (and you’re more likely focused on the beauty of the majestic creatures just steps away!) you’ll need voice, text and data services.
What are my options?
There are a number of options, including using your home carrier’s roaming service, purchasing a local SIM or getting an international prepaid SIM before making the trip overseas.
Planning to roam?
- Purchase an international plan in advance, as the pay-per-use rates are very expensive.
- It’s also a good idea to check with your carrier to make sure they're not blocking roaming for your account.
- And don’t forget to turn on data roaming in your phone!
Are you a prepaid customer?
- You probably can’t roam internationally so be sure to research how to choose a local or international SIM.
- Whatever you decide, be sure to check the carrier's coverage in the region you'll be visiting.
How much data voice, text and data will I need?
When in your home market your habits include using your Wi-Fi at home, in the office or perhaps at your favorite coffee shop. When you’re traveling, you might have Wi-Fi in the hotel, but you won’t have Wi-Fi on the road for Google maps and GPS. And you're probably taking more photos and videos than normal as well as sharing them through social media apps.
So you should expect to use more than your normal amount of data when traveling. It’s a good idea to download an app that will let you monitor your data usage. Also, keep in mind that most carriers provide discounts on the larger data bundles, so it’s usually cheaper to buy a little more than you end up needing as opposed to having to recharge and buy another bundle.
Make sure your phone is unlocked if you're going to use another SIM
Before you purchase a SIM for international travel you’ll want to confirm that your phone is unlocked and will function with another carrier's SIM card. Just as important, make sure your phone supports the frequencies of the other carrier’s network. If you don't know if you're phone is unlocked, here's how to find out.
Back up your phone and bring a spare charger!
Today we have a wealth of personal information on our phones, including our contacts, social media apps, email and financial information. Losing a phone, or having it stolen, is more than a minor inconvenience it can amount to a serious data breach! So be sure to back up your phone before you leave, and if you haven't done so already, enable your phone's security code feature to prevent others from accessing your phone.