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International Cell Phones, Coverage & Costs

Updated: Aug 30, 2018

Tuesday Travel Tips: One of the problems I always have/had when travelling internationally for programs is my US cell phone!


The Cost? The Coverage? The Overages? The Cell Data? The WiFi? Should I buy a local disposable cell phone? Should I buy a SIM card in the arrival airport?

So this is what I have found to be most effective in the last couple of trips - I hope it helps you on your next international program.


Longer Program - (Longer than a week)

For longer programs I bring my old cell phone (which is unlocked) and purchase a SIM card in the country I am going to. In the UK I usually purchase Vodafone (for 30 days it is only GBP 20). Ireland I go to the Carphone Warehouse and they have a variety of SIM only plans from about Euro30 for 30 days.

I also bring my regular US cell phone but I leave it on airplane mode but turn on WiFi and Bluetooth. I use WiFi for WhatsApp, FaceTime and you can set your iPhone for WiFi calling (Settings-cellular-WiFi calling - ON). I promise it will save you a fortune!


Quick Programs (a week or less)

For programs less than a week, I use my regular phone - I have AT&T and I add the International Day Pass Plan at $10 a day from AT&T. You can take your talk, text, and data plan to over 100 countries for $10 a day. Get unlimited calls within International Day Pass countries and back to the U.S. and unlimited texts to the world at no additional charge (www.att.com/offers/international-plans/day-pass.html). I think that other carriers like Verizon and others have similar plans, so it is worth checking out.



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