Making preparations to travel outside of the country can be overwhelming. Passports, possible inoculations, flight arrangements and deciding what to pack are all issues that travelers face. No matter if the trip is for business or pleasure, keeping in touch with family is an important aspect some forget to consider before leaving the ground.
Communications from overseas or just across the border is expensive and somewhat complicated. With technology right at our fingertips almost every minute of the day it is surprising to discover just how much keeping in touch can cost when away from home. Most of the cell phones used at home will be limited by either not working at all when traveling abroad or be extremely costly to use.
Whether it is phone calls to family, updating and posting pictures to social media sites or business communication; a subscriber identity module or SIM card can solve the issue of remaining connected when in a foreign country. An unlocked phone that is capable of operating on the GSM or Global System for Mobile Communications is necessary when using a SIM card. These GSM 900 and GSM 1800 phones provide international coverage in places like Europe, Africa, Australia and other countries. A GSM 1900 frequency phone will also include communication in Canada, portions of South America and the United States.
Changing phones is quick and convenient since SIM cards are removable and
interchangeable from one handset to another. The cards contain the phone number, messages sent and received by text, address books and other pertinent account holder information. Activation is easy and done by the cell service provider. These cards come in various sizes and can be secured with the use of a personal identification number. This way if the phone is lost or stolen; the personal information stored on the card cannot be accessed and the minutes cannot be utilized by someone without the proper code.
SIM cards that are pre-paid are useful when a long-term contract is not desirable. They may be purchased ahead of travel, but oftentimes are more budget-friendly if bought within the country you are headed to. If the plan is to stay in one country a local card is probably the best option since it will offer the best rates for calls within that country. However, shopping for the card after getting to that country can be problematic since the instructions will most likely be in the local language. Online purchasing before you leave will help avoid this issue. Communication with other countries or back home can also be expensive with higher roaming charges on a local card.
International SIM cards are offered that include service within a number of different countries. This way if you are traveling all across Europe for example, that one card will suffice for your communication needs. Phone calls to the United States are usually more reasonable than other cell plans, and purchasing an international card online is convenient and can be done before you depart on your trip. Since your cell number will not necessarily originate from the country you are visiting, local calls and texts may be more expensive with an international card as opposed to a local SIM card.
Some cards provide a way to add air-time online, but remember most SIM cards have an expiration date. Depending on the phone capability; plans can be purchased that include web surfing, downloading photographs or video to social media and options for forwarding calls or emails while abroad. To save money and lessen frustration, remember to include communication needs when planning a trip overseas by ensuring you have a GSM capable phone and a budget-friendly SIM card.