And we’ve all thought to ourselves after booking a flight abroad: can I use my mobile phone overseas?
Well, the short answer is, yes you can! There are lots of ways using your phone overseas can work; by purchasing a pre-paid SIM before you leave, picking up a local one at your destination, or simply turning off that sneaky roaming data button and using the available WiFi instead.
To avoid going bankrupt due to crippling global roaming charges and expensive international phone calls, read Skyscanner Australia’s guide on the best and cheapest ways to use your mobile phone overseas.
1. Buy a pre-paid SIM in Australia.
If you’re doing a bit of a tour, and visiting more than one country like, say, France and then Italy, then buying a pre-paid SIM before you leave might be the answer. This is for travellers who definitely want to make calls and receive texts on their mobile overseas.
So a couple of weeks before you hop aboard your flight, order a pre-paid SIM card from a company such as Go-Sim or TravelSIM. A Go-Sim SIM card costs $19 including $10 credit for the SIM alone with data packages starting at $12 and rising to $237.
TravelSIM SIM card offers numerous data packages from $25-100 depending. Both options allow online and thru-app top-ups. Your phone needs to be unlocked to use any of these services.
Buy a local SIM at your destination.
This is probably one of the best ways to use your mobile overseas especially if you’re visiting just one country, such as the United Kingdom. You won’t be subject to the dreaded hidden roaming fees, and you can choose between pay-as-you-go options, or a flat rate for a set period of time.
You can also usually buy SIM cards at airports, supermarkets, and the odd corner store, making it handy for anyone who isn’t big on forward planning.
However, if you do you travel to another country, you won’t be able to use that SIM card without turning on global roaming. The other slight hang-up is that if you choose to use a local SIM, you could find yourself having to text and call people to let them know your number once you’re abroad (though luckily, if they have apps like Whatsapp, this shouldn’t be a problem).
Again, your phone needs to be unlocked for this option.