A Comprehensive Guide to Taking Your Smartphone Abroad for Cheap

Don’t even take into consideration leaving your smartphone at house this summer time in case you are touring to a overseas nation.

As a lot as we despise our attachment to our telephones, we are able to’t deny it’s an indispensable journey companion that solves many issues, from exhibiting us maps after we get misplaced to displaying restaurant suggestions after we are hungry.

So what are the routes to having the ability to use your smartphone whereas out of the country, on condition that your wi-fi service doesn’t typically prolong to worldwide journey?

To lower to the chase: There is an affordable approach, which entails plenty of work. Or there may be a better methodology that may most certainly value you a fairly penny.

Modern Verizon phones are generally unlocked by default. AT&T, however, requires customers on an installment plan to finish paying off their phones before the carrier will unlock the device.

Whichever phone provider you use, it’s best to play it safe. Double-check with your carrier that your phone is unlocked and ready for taking abroad. AT&T customers can use a web tool to check their unlock status and to request an unlock. Verizon subscribers can call the carrier’s support line to confirm that their devices are unrestricted. Or, of course, you could just take your phone to a carrier store.

After confirming your phone lacks carrier restrictions, it’s time for the tougher part: buying a foreign SIM card for your phone.

There are two main approaches to buying a foreign SIM card, each with pros and cons:

  • Before your trip, you can order a SIM card online and have it shipped home. First, do a web search on the top-rated networks in the destination country. Then on a digital retailer like Amazon, search for SIM cards offered by one of those brands. When you land, follow the instructions included with the phone card to set it up.

    The advantage to this approach is that when you arrive, you can start your vacation right away without having to search for a SIM card. The downside is that if you pick a SIM card from a subpar brand, there is a risk that the service might not work when you arrive.

  • You can buy a SIM card at a wireless store at your destination. First, search for a wireless store near your hotel. After checking in, go to the store and tell the representative that you are a tourist looking to buy a SIM card for the duration of your trip. The store representative will help you pick a data allotment and set up the phone for you. The advantage to this approach is getting help from a service representative; the downside is that a potential language barrier could make it difficult to express what you want.

I’ve tried both methods. Going to a wireless store is probably your safest bet to ensure the cellular service will work properly.

How much data to buy? It depends on the length of your trip and how you use your phone. If you use your phone for lightweight tasks like pulling up maps and looking up activities and restaurants, one gigabyte a week should suffice. If you plan on incessantly posting on social media to induce FOMO for your friends, go for two gigs a week.

Before you depart, pack and download everything you will need ahead of time for your phone. Here are some must-dos:

  • Pack a SIM card ejector and some tape. When you arrive at your destination, use a SIM card ejector, which is a small metal pin, to eject your SIM card tray and replace yours with the foreign one. When you arrive home, you will have to eject the tray again to swap back to your domestic SIM. The ejector is tiny, so use a piece of tape to stick it to your wallet or passport holder.

This all sounds like a lot of work, but I promise that after you try it once, traveling with a smartphone gets easier with every trip. And there’s a bonus: The money you save can be spent on food or gifts.

Source link Nytimes.com

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