When you’re traveling internationally one added expense is the use of your cell phone to call back home. Your cell phone network will typically charge you an arm and a leg for international roaming. Luckily for you there is a money saving alternative to those pesky international roaming fees. You can make your phone work in another country by purchasing a prepaid sim card.
Same Phone, New SIM
While you may not realize it, there is a good chance that your phone can work in almost every country in the world. The major issue that you need to consider is your sim card. Many travelers are unaware their phone even has a sim card or that it is replaceable. If you replace your SIM card your incoming calls will be free and your outgoing calls will be cheaper than the international roaming fees are.
New Phone Number
The drawback of changing your SIM card is that you will have a new phone number now. A phone doesn’t hold your number, it’s the sim card that holds it. This doesn’t mean that you’ll lose your number forever though. Just keep your existing sim card and pop it back in after you’re done with your travels. You will then need to forward calls from your existing number to your new number to ensure you don’t miss any calls.
It’s a Lot Cheaper Over Time
Naturally, buying a prepaid sim card is not going to be free. Just like everything else in life, there is some degree of cost involved in the matter. However, this is a cost that you will easily make up as your trip progresses. Think about how much international phone rates tend to be and you will understand that making a one time purchase can save you tremendously on what you would otherwise spend. After only a few short conversations you can begin to rack up some serious savings.
VOIP, or voice over IP, is a completely free way to make phone calls as long as you’re on a wifi network. The most popular service is the Microsoft-owned Skype service. By using Skype, you can use your smartphone (or computer) to make unlimited calls for free to other Skype users. The fees are reasonable to make calls to non-Skype users. The downside of course is that you won’t have wifi when you’re out and about. You’ll be limited to making calls while at your hotel (if it has wifi) or at public hot spots.
Something to note though is that you must have a phone that is unlocked. Some phones can only be used with your carrier. Other phones don’t even have a sim card, but you can find out simply by looking inside your phone, checking the manual or typing in your phones model into Google. If you plan ahead, do your research and get a prepaid sim card instead of the one that came with your phone originally, you’ll make your next vacation a less costly one.