The best ways to Keep in Touch Overseas
Keeping in Touch overseas can be an expensive exercise, consider these options
Phone and Wifi when Travelling Overseas
When travelling it is nice to stay in touch, but not so nice when you get the bill and discover it has cost a fortune. Here are some recommendations on how to stay in touch and keep your costs down.
Your Own Phone
You can use your own mobile phone overseas on another international mobile network and are billed through your regular phone company. The charges are called International Mobile Roaming Charges and they are expensive! They also take a little while to come through on your bill.
Check if your provider offers a discounted international mobile roaming plan for your mobile. Confirm with them on costs for calls (incoming and outgoing) and data.
This is useful if you want access to your contacts, use data overseas (maps) or just need to make calls.
If you don’t want to use your mobile phone service overseas, go into your Settings and turn off mobile roaming.
Switching Sim Cards
If your phone is unlocked (check with your provider) you can take the SIM card out of your phone and replace it with a local prepaid SIM card which you will need to purchase on arrival. Check call rates for local calls, international calls and data. There will be an initial amount you purchase on the card, you will then need to reload as you use the credit. Good for making local calls. Find a SIM Card which offers data, this way you can access the internet for maps, activities and to surf the web.
If you have a smartphone you may need the tool to get the sim out.
Language issues can occur when reloading, check if the SIM is in your native language.
Purchase a temporary phone
Purchasing a phone on arrival may be a good option if you have a locked phone. You will need to purchase a sim with it and you will be given a new number, check the call rates for international and data.
Make sure the language settings are set up for your native language.
There are two types of phone cards. Those that you use through a landline (a phone plugged into a line) or phone box. These are generally good for remote or regional areas where access to any mobile phone coverage is limited. They can be expensive for international calls, check the rates with the provider. You purchase the phone card and then use the instructions to make calls through a landline.
Phonecard/calling cards offer extremely reasonable rates to call international destinations. These are good if you want to keep in touch with family (they can’t call you though). You will need to buy a card on arrival. You generally use a landline or phone box and follow the prompts. If you use a mobile extra charges may apply from your provider.
Check on the language settings.
Wifi is now worldwide and available in most hotels, tourist bureaus, cafes (McDonalds Cafes generally offer it for free) and at Wifi Hotspots. You will need a smartphone or tablet to access Wifi. Make sure on your Device that Data (Roaming) is off and your Wifi on.
You may need to sign up with an email to access some Free wifi.
You may also be able to hire or purchase a Wifi device on arrival.
Message Services using Wifi
All these apps or services are available to use through Wifi and are generally FREE. They all offer a message service.
These work well when the wifi connection is good.
Make sure your mobile phone and data roaming is off and Wifi is on.
Other Communication Options
If you are travelling where phone and internet coverage is intermittent and won’t be far from your companions, try a two way radio to keep in touch. (Great for cruises) Or hire a Satellite phone.
Major Telephone Providers Worldwide
Below is a list of the major telephone providers for each continent, consider one of these companies when purchasing a sim card.
- MTN Group
- Qatar Telecom
- China Mobile
- China Unicom
- Virgin Mobile
- Deutske Telecom (Germany)
- Telephonica (Spain)
- Vodaphone (UK)
- Orange (France)
- T- Mobile
- Qatar Telecom
- T- Mobile
- Spark (New Zealand)