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Phone Travel Options: SIM Cards, International Roaming & Hotspots

So, you are looking for ways to save money on phone costs when traveling around the world? Well, you have come to the right place! Here are some tips to save money on traveling with your phone.

Local Prepaid SIM Cards – The Cheapest Way to Stay Connected

Buying a local prepaid SIM card is the best way to stay connected when traveling abroad because it is (almost always) much cheaper than international roaming. Luckily, I cover local prepaid SIM cards extensively on this site.

I have many local SIM card buying guides on this site. There are also video versions of them, which you can watch in this playlist.

Local Prepaid SIM Card Reviews – Tested Extensively by Adu

I cannot just talk and write about local prepaid SIM cards without trying them. Well, I do try them. In fact, I try all SIM cards a country has to offer (or as many as I am legally allowed to because of laws) whenever I visit a new destination.

I recommend reading the reviews, as I talk about SIM card prices, the packages offered by the operators, mobile coverage, and always do a speed test so that you can have an idea what speeds to expect with the SIM card.

Here is an example of my Celcom Xpax review (a Malaysian operator with the best 4G/LTE coverage in the country).

Often, the review is accompanied by a video review for those who prefer to watch things. Here is a playlist of all the SIM card reviews I have done so far.

International Roaming With Your Operator – Most Convenient Way to Stay Connected

Although international roaming may sound scary because you may have read headlines of people getting a bill in the thousands, it is the most convenient way to stay connected when travel.

You do not have to switch SIM cards, and people at home can reach you at the phone number they are familiar with. You may want to learn how international roaming works.

International roaming does not always have to be super expensive. Luckily, I analyze the roaming options of many operators around the world so that you can decide whether you want to roam or not.

Here is also a playlist of international roaming video guides I have made so far.

International SIM Cards & Travel SIM Cards – Smartest Way to Stay Connected for Frequent Travelers

With an international SIM card, you do not have to buy a local prepaid SIM card for each country you visit (which can be time-consuming and annoying if visiting multiple destinations in one trip). Plus, they often have better rates than international roaming.

They can be used in many countries around the world, like Surfroam in 200+ destinations starting from €0.01/MB. Some charge you per action (pay-as-you-go), while others require you to buy a bundle (which is usually a bad deal). Some allow you to make calls, but most international SIM cards are data-only nowadays.

Travel SIM cards, on the other hand, are often short-term SIM cards that can be used in a single destination or various destinations in a particular region (like Europe, Asia, or South America).

SimOptions and SimCorner sell amazing travel SIM cards covering every corner of the world.

Unlike international SIM cards, they often cannot be extended and have a short validity. However, they are often cheaper than international SIM cards.

Mobile Hotspots (Pocket Wifi) – Handy Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Groups

Mobile hotspots, also known as pocket WIFI, are battery-powered wireless router that allows you to connect your phone, laptop, or tablet without needing multiple SIM cards for those devices to be connected to the internet. They are excellent for those traveling in groups, like friends or family.

You can purchase mobile hotspots, like the ones I cover in this article, or rent them from Skyroam.

For solo travelers, mobile hotspots are not really a good deal. You would be better of turning your phone into a hotspot (through tethering) instead of getting a dedicated hotspot.

However, if you are traveling in a large group, mobile hotspots can save a lot of money.

Phone Travel Tips, Tricks, News, and Hacks – Become Smarter

There is so much to learn about traveling with your phone. That is why I give you tips, tricks, and hacks to save even more money. For example, some travelers did not know that eSIMs work abroad or how roaming on planes works. Below is a playlist.

Every now and then, I cover important news related to traveling with your phone or cover topics that will be relevant to you.