When we travel abroad, I think our biggest anguish is finally to say “I hope there will be Wi-Fi”. Come on, admit it, it’s no secret, we’re all addicted to our phones and maybe even more so when we travel. Look for good deals on these apps, post our photos on social networks, and call our friends and family to give them news… We usually all need to have our phone and an internet connection, but here we are as soon as we leave France our server starts roaming and if we don’t want to come back with a multi-digit invoice we should immediately deactivate our SIM card. So how can you get the phone and internet while travelling? I’ll give you my tips!
Buy a local prepaid SIM card
This is the option I take to be able to phone and have the Internet when I travel as soon as I leave somewhere for a long time or if I really plan to use the Internet to access tourist information. The only requirement to be able to buy a local SIM card abroad is to have an unlocked phone. You can check https://www.simoptions.com/ for more information about a prepaid SIM card. That is to say, it accepts data from a card of another operator than its own. I therefore advise you to check with your operator to avoid discovering that your phone is blocked when you are already on the road. Once in the country, all you have to do is find a telephone shop, a supermarket or even an airport shop (although prices are often much higher for the same service) that sell prepaid cards offering internet + calls and/or SMS. Above all, ask a salesperson to help you and install it directly on your phone. If it is a language you do not master like Vietnamese for example, his help will be invaluable!
The advantage of a prepaid card is that you will have a good internet connection wherever you are but also the possibility to make calls in the country but, be careful, not abroad. This can be very useful when talking with a local agency, guides, taxi driver, hotel… To communicate with France I recommend once again downloading the WhatsApp application, really very practical!
How much does a local prepaid SIM cost?
This obviously depends on the country and the operator you choose. To give you an idea, here are two examples of SIM card prices in Europe and Asia.
Price of a SIM card in Germany: When I lived in Germany I bought a prepaid SIM card for sale at Aldi, I paid a credit of 10€/month to have internet, send SMS and make calls. The good thing was that I didn’t pay anything to send messages or make calls to people with the same plan as me. Then I just had to call a number to reload my card.
Price of a prepaid SIM card in Vietnam: When I lived in Hanoi I had a SIM card from the operator Mobiphone that I had bought and that I reloaded every month in one of thegioididong.com stores. I paid 50 000d or 2€/month to have unlimited internet, make calls and send SMS. For this price, you might as well not bother! For information the same card, bought at the airport costs 200 000d, so 8€, 4 times more expensive than in the shop!
Use the free Wi-Fi zones
This is the easiest option for having the Internet when travelling for a short period of time. Of course if you travel to a remote area there is little chance you will find Wi-Fi. However, nowadays most accommodation, restaurants, bars, airports and train stations offer free Wi-Fi. Just ask if the code is not directly mentioned. It is therefore quite easy to connect in one of these places. As for sending SMS or making a call, I strongly recommend that you download the WhatsApp application. It is a totally free application, available for Apple and Android and it allows you to phone and send free SMS messages to our contacts that also use the application. However, for it to work you need an internet connection. Personally I never part with it when I travel and it also allows me to keep in touch with my foreign friends when I am in France.