Whether to buy a SIM from you destination country or using local SIM with international roaming

Are you planning to visit abroad? But don't know which is the better way to stay connected with your home country - buying a local SIM from your destination or using a plan with international roaming. Let's read this article to find out more about both options.

Your travel itinerary may include many tasks and things you must consider before embarking on an international trip. In other words, planning a long international trip may be a hectic experience and there are chances that you may miss out on many important things during the planning. While some of the things are done way in advance like months before, you can prepare a checklist for many others to make sure they are done with plenty of time to spare. We understand that frequent fliers stand a great chance of not missing out on important things. But, things may not be the same for the new travelers.

Just imagine you have just landed at the airport and want to use your mobile to make a call just to get a call-barred notice. This is when you go through your checklist in mind again, which is when you get a jolt. Yes, you should have also cleared it out in the very beginning if you wanted to use your phone abroad to stay connected with your dear ones. For this, you need to make a clear choice between several options like using your local SIM with international roaming or considering getting a SIM card swap out at your destination. Checking your plans is necessary if you want to use the same sim so that you don't get heavily surprised by the hefty bills after returning from your trip. However, if you think the plans are expensive, you can plan otherwise. Other than this there are a few more options like International SIM and eSIMs to use in a foreign country.

Determine Your Needs

Your usage and travel plans will determine what you need. You may find that purchasing a SIM card from the country you are visiting will be more cost-effective if you intend to use your phone frequently and for an extended period. Alternatively, if you plan to use your phone occasionally or for a short period roaming packages may be a better option due to their convenience and familiarity. You should check with your service provider what options they have available and compare the cost before choosing the right option for you.

SIM Cards With International Roaming

Using an international roaming plan gives you access to both your phone number and your phone when you are abroad. Conversely, the data limit will likely be much lower for international roaming and the price tag will likely be higher. It is common for companies to charge you for data usage by the day and traveling for only a few days can leave you with a massive bill.

Earlier roaming was commonly charged per minute for calls, per message, and megabytes per second for data. But, increasing competition has resulted in major mobile carriers offering more cost-effective international roaming plans. It is simple to add international roaming for your time abroad by asking your current carrier for an International Roaming Plan. There are usually 30-day add-on roaming plans which can be renewed for another month. If you do not want to deal with unlocking your phone and looking for a local SIM these plans can be worth a sudden trip abroad. But, if you are not a T-Mobile customer these plans would prove far too expensive to use for anything other than a few months abroad. There is no additional charge for international roaming on T-Mobile.

However, there is a catch, if your carrier doesn't have roaming agreements with local carriers in some countries you may not be covered even with an international roaming plan. Also, it is possible to end up with a huge bill if you go over your allocated amount.

Local SIM Cards

Buying local SIMs at your destination can be considered a very cheap and easy option during your international visits. As a first step, you can buy a local SIM card from a local vendor when arrive in a foreign country. It's common to find them at airports but the process of buying a SIM can be different in every country. But, a phone company kiosk can usually be found in most international airports. As soon as you land go straight to a local SIM store if you need one. Some countries, however, don't offer this facility because they ask you for residential proof. There are advantages to buying a local SIM in countries where these cards are available since they are usually cheaper.

However, there are also some key things you need to keep in your mind before using a local SIM. First of all a network shop is the best place to buy local SIMs to avoid scams and faulty SIMs. For like, you should check the SIM properly before leaving the outlet and save all your contacts for future reference. And, you may need to store your permanent SIM carefully if you have swapped out one. It is also necessary to add local emergency numbers since they are not at your fingertips and you may need them at any time in a new nation. Also, don't forget to change the local language in your phone to English once you start using the local SIM.

Apart from this, there are some drawbacks as well like you will have to update everyone or your near ones with your local new number. Incoming calls from your home country on your local SIM will also cost some extra bucks to those trying to reach you.

For some, the process of changing multiple SIM cards while traveling from one location to another can be a hassle. Depending on your location, you may not be permitted to use certain services and use apps like Zoom and Skype due to local internet restitution. In such a case International SIM cards and eSIMs can also be an easier way to stay connected. eSIMs are well worth considering if you are using the latest iPhone or other compatible device.

Why Having an International SIM Card Can Also Be a Better Option?

Another great option can be having an international SIM card for those who fly frequently for business purposes or others. Local cards operate only on one network and region whereas international sim cards operate across multiple networks. Global sim cards work on more than one network worldwide, unlike a local one. Still, it might not be the first thing on your mind to purchase an international SIM card if you are traveling abroad for the first time or if you are not a frequent flyer. There is even the possibility that you may be willing to use your local SIM card instead of getting an international one. However, you may find several benefits of using an International SIM card. Furthermore, you can use these cards to connect to international networks without being charged. Usually, carriers provide customer access to telecommunication networks across the globe by entering into bilateral agreements with other companies in advance.

More importantly, it becomes easier for you to avoid excessive roaming fees with the usage of international sim cards by switching between domestic and foreign numbers. Thus it is an excellent option for frequent travelers to have an international sim card since it is flexible and appropriate.

The cost of an international SIM card is almost always lower. They indeed offer reasonable data rates around the globe. Further, you won't have to inform anyone of your new number during your visits.

Bottom Line

What should you do if you plan to travel overseas soon? Do you need a local SIM card or an international roaming plan? The answer lies in your requirements. There are several options available to you when it comes to using your phone abroad. But what matters is that it's imperative to stay connected back home while traveling regardless of what method you use. And, if you want to switch on your vacation mode and want to enjoy it without any interruptions it's better to shut your phone off.

More articles: International travel


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