**Update- see update info at the end.
When traveling to Europe, I’ve used pay-as-you-go SIM cards before. It is so much better than paying those horrible inflated roaming fees the US carriers charge. The pay-as-you-go SIMs work very nicely and are easy and affordable when you are in just one country. And, when traveling, it is added fun if you can upload photos to share with family and friends as you go. However, the question goes, “What do you do when you are visiting multiple countries?” I ran across an online article on Engadget, just at I was preparing for a multiple city European trip, about a company that rents SIM cards for just that purpose.
The company, iPhoneTrip, sends you a SIM card after you purchase one of their plans, along with set-up passwords etc. Although their name says iPhone, you can use any unlocked phone that uses SIM cards. They do have special SIM cards for AT&T customers. They also send you a backup SIM, in case the main one is defective. You can save the backup SIM for another trip and not be charged any shipping costs. Once you arrive in the country on the day your plan starts, you just pop the SIM in your unlocked phone or tablet, enter a bit of information, and you’re off.
They offer a variety of products such as a single country SIM, Europe SIM, Asia SIM or even a Global SIM. As far as a single country – In my opinion that is a waste of money since you can easily pop into a local store in what ever country you’ll be in and get a local SIM. Asia, is a bit different, but Europe is quite simple and very affordable – in London I paid around $40 US for a week’s worth of unlimited data, 3000 minutes of voice calls and 3000 text messages. In Paris I paid even less, around $30 US for a great talk/text/data plan. But if you do this for multiple countries, it can get expensive and for me when traveling, I tend to only use data and not voice. If I do need voice, I can always use WiFi calling on my phone.
This recent trip entailed me visiting Toulon, Monaco, and Nice, France. Then I was off to Florence, Rome, and Naples Italy. With this being more than one country, and with little time to hunt down mobile stores, iPhoneTrip seemed the better value.
As you can see from the image below, you can get plans giving you 50mb per day up to 100mb per day. The prices are not the cheapest, but it is so much better than paying TMobile’s $15/mb international roaming data rates. When adding more than one country, you can begin to save even more as a 5 day trip at $10 a day is cheaper than two countries at around $30 each. iPhoneTrip rents cell phones and tablets as well.
For some people, 50 megabytes of data may not seem like that much. If you are constantly on your phone downloading music/video, listening to Panda Radio, uploading pictures to Facebook – you may need more data. I only surfed the Internet, used Google Maps, used Yelp, and uploaded photos to Facebook on my multiple-city trip and never exceeded the daily limit.I got the Europe version of the SIM card and when I arrived in London’s Heathrow Airport, I simply inserted the SIM and entered a bit of data and I was off and surfing. After reading and sending some emergency emails I was back on a jet to Nice. Upon my arrival, I started up my phone and voila, she was purring like a kitten retrieving all of my emails – I had 2. I paid $9.99 a day for 50 megabytes of data for 5 days.
I had fast data connections in every city I visited and the only time I didn’t was at the top of Mt. Vesuvius at crater’s edge. If you don’t want to deal with hunting down mobile phone stores on your trip and you are visiting multiple countries, I can highly recommend iPhoneTrip. Not only did it enhance my vacation being able to share my experiences with family and friends, it literally saved me from losing out on one of the few open seats at university.
You have to do a bit of research to make sure this service is the right one for you. For me, it was perfect.
The company is located in California with an Israeli branch. http://www.iphonetrip.com
*****UPDATE***** This company has since changed its name to not seem tied to a single phone (iPhone) since it does work with all sim phones. The new name is KeepGo*** Disclaimer – Journey With Josh nor anyone associated with this blog has any affiliation with iPhoneTrip. The opinions expressed are my own from my own experiences and do not guarantee the same for anyone else.