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How To Choose The Right Mobile Plan If You’re Taking An Extended Trip Abroad

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International travel can be a lot of fun when you have everything you need. However, this means you’ll take the time to research the country/countries you plan to visit and how things work there so you can have access to basic necessities.

Your phone, for instance, is one of those necessities. You need it to keep in touch with loved ones back home, use Google Maps, get in touch with your hotel or friends waiting for you and keep you entertained on long rides. So, it would be a disaster to reach your destination country and notice your phone doesn’t work because you didn’t find the right mobile plan for it.

To avoid such a grim scenario, we put together a list of tips to help you and your phone have a great trip abroad.

Make Sure Your Phone is Unlocked

If you purchased your phone through your current provider, chances are it is locked only to accept their plans and network(s). This is done via a piece of software that can be removed if you ask for it, but you have to meet a few conditions.

Carriers lock phones as a method of protection to make sure you won’t be tempted to switch to another service before you’ve paid your phone off in full. It’s also a form of customer retention since unblocking is not always a smooth process.

But, if your phone is paid off and/or your contract has expired, you have the right to request your phone’s freedom. For this, you’ll need the following information and documents:

  • Name of the account holder’s name and the account number
  • Your device’s IMEI number (available in the original documentation)
  • Social Security number of the account holder
  • Your phone number
  • The completed contract and the device’s payment plan

As a side note, Apple unlocks your iPhone automatically as soon as you’re done with the payments. Also, military personnel can request phone unlocking before the contract’s expiration date if they present their overseas deployment papers.

Search for Mobile Plans at Your Chosen Destination

Getting yourself a pre-paid SIM card once you’re on new land is a viable option, but, depending on the country, it may be more expensive than a phone plan. Also, most prepaid cards don’t give you much access to mobile data, which is essential for your peace of mind.

The best way to solve this conundrum is to do a bit of research on the available phone plans at your destination. For instance, in Australia, you can see and compare the existing mobile phone plans while also learning additional information, such as the data allowance and how much of it you can spend on entertainment (in some countries, some carriers give you free TikTok traffic, for instance).

Things to Consider When Choosing a Mobile Plan Abroad

Most phone plans (whether it’s an offer from a local carrier or a foreign one) come with extra perks, but before you jump on the one that gives you the best possible phone, take a step back and consider the following things:

The time you’ll be away

If you’re going away for a couple of weeks, you can easily rely on a prepaid SIM card. You can easily get one from a local phone shop if you bring your passport. Also, if you already have a solid phone plan at home, check to see if you can get free roaming for the countries you’ll be visiting.

On the other hand, if you’ll be away for a longer period of time, it’s best to look for the best phone packages in your country of destination. Pay attention to each offer since data limits differ from one country to another.

Just like you make sure you have the right bag size for international travel, you should also make sure you have enough mobile data, messages, and phone calls to last for the time you’ll be away.

Compare the Costs

Many first-time travelers feel compelled to take an international phone plan from their carrier at home, but this doesn’t guarantee you’ll get a good signal. Plus, the costs are often astronomical if you don’t get free roaming.

So, make a cost comparison and see if it’s not cheaper to go for a local plan. Sure, this means you won’t have access to a network from the moment you land and up to the moment you buy your local plan, but it may be worth it. Plus, you may find a phone shop at the airport.

Key Takeaway

Choosing the right mobile plan for your time abroad can make or break your trip, so do your research and compare prices and benefits ahead of time. Also, don’t forget that you can always buy a cheap phone and a local phone plan once you get to your destination.

What do you think?

Written by Marcus Richards


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