Best Sim Cards For Travelling to European Countries
Best Sim Cards For Travelling to Asian Countries
If you’re heading out for vacation this year, especially overseas, you might be wondering how you can take your phone with you, and without incurring some ridiculous number in costs. You’ve no doubt heard the horrible stories that come with roaming charges — taking your phone overseas, and then coming back home after a nice vacation with thousands of dollars in incurred charges.
You don’t want that — obviously — so you’re looking for a way that you can get cheaper service while abroad. You’ve heard of terms like prepaid and postpaid, and have likely used them before, but aren’t sure what those can offer you for traveling. That said, if you follow along with us below, we’ll show you the differences between the two different methods of service, and what you can do for traveling abroad.
What is Prepaid?
Prepaid is when you pay for a service in advance, and is commonly referred to as Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG). This is usually a credit you’ll pay for in advance over the Internet, or can be prepaid SIM cards or a data refill pack that you pick up in the store, commonly seen in retailers around the world like Walmart, Meijer, etc.
What is Postpaid?
Postpaid is completely the opposite of prepaid. A postpaid plan is a contract between a person and network operator, in which the service is provided by an agreement. The significance of this is that you don’t pay for your data or service up front — the user in this situation is billed for the user of their service at the end of each month, or at the end of each billing period (i.e. if you signed up on May 15, your bill wouldn’t be due until the end of the period, usually in 30 day increments).
Prepaid versus Postpaid
As you can see, there are a couple of major differences between prepaid and postpaid, but in the end, you’re usually getting pretty much the same service. Prepaid can end up being more expensive if you use your phone too much. Postpaid can be cheaper, because if you use your phone a lot — like a lot of calling, texting, and the other free benefits — that’s usually not something you have to pay for, whereas you would with prepaid.
What about for international travel?
Postpaid services just aren’t good for international travel. Most carriers don’t have “extras” that make using data in other countries affordable. That said, they put you on something called “roaming”, which is essentially the mobile phone being used outside the range of its home network, and then connects to another available cellular network, usually a local provider that has a partnership with your carrier.
Unfortunately, you’re charged ridiculous amounts for this, and usually end up coming home to a bill that’s anywhere between a few hundred dollars and thousands.
That’s why prepaid international sim cards and prepaid sim cards for travel are better options. You’re paying for only the data, talk, and text that you need, and at rates that are generally set by carriers with networks available in the countries that you’re traveling to. That usually means that you’re only paying only $20 – $50 for data while abroad, instead of the hundreds that your own carrier would charge you for roaming service.
What do I need for prepaid SIM cards?
There are only a couple of things for traveling abroad with an international sim card. You need a GSM phone, an unlocked GSM phone at that, and of course, your prepaid SIM card.
If you purchased your phone from AT&T or T-Mobile, you can safely be assured that you’re using a GSM phone. Phones from Verizon and Sprint can be the same, as they have full GSM compatibility on modern phones, but you’ll just need to double-check to be sure.
Next, you’ll need to make sure that your GSM phone is unlocked. These usually, by default, come locked, especially if you bought it on a device payment plan. You’ll need to contact your carrier to try and get your phone unlocked.
From there, it’s as simple as popping in the prepaid SIM cards of choice — you could even run with two if you have a dual-SIM phone — making sure the card is activated, and then you’re ready to use data in the country that you bought it for.
What phones are best for international travel?
As we mentioned, most GSM phones that are unlocked will work with prepaid sim cards, but we think the following three are some of the best phones that you can pick up today:
The OnePlus 7 is one of our favorite smartphones for daily use and with an international SIM card. Affordability is its motto, with OnePlus trying to offer a phone that not only has all of the top tier hardware inside, but at a price that is extremely competitive with other flagships today. That often means you’re getting a high-end device for $400 less than what brands like Samsung, LG, and Apple offer, though you don’t always get top tier design here. It does have a dual-SIM slot, however. A benefit here is that it comes Unlocked straight out of the box.
Samsung’s Galaxy S10 is another favorite as the latest entry into the Galaxy S line. It’s Samsung’s flagship for the year, and comes with an all-new design, powerful hardware — like the Snapragon 855 and 8GB of RAM — a big, powerful battery, and a massive display at a whole 6.1-inches. It also has a dual-SIM slot, which means you could use two prepaid SIM cards, if you wanted.
And finally, but certainly not least, we have the Moto G7. This is a competitive handset that you can use abroad. You’ll enjoy it thoroughly, due in part to its 6.2-inch Full HD+ display, 4GB of RAM, and fast Snapdragon 632 processor. It has a big 3,000mAh battery as well, and even comes with facial recognition. It comes Unlocked straight out of the box, too.
As you can see, the best method for traveling is to use prepaid SIM cards. Roaming just doesn’t offer you the affordability, let alone the data speeds while abroad. Paired with one of our favorite phones, an international SIM card will do excellent for providing you service on your next vacation.