Traveling in Europe

My wife and I are going to Italy and Spain in April (we reside in the US) and I am trying to weigh the options on paying for the daily “international plan” from our carrier (Verizon in the US for $10 a day; or trying to get a SIM card when we land. We both have an iPhone 7. In the past, I’ve just used an older phone and gotten a local SIM card though we are not traveling with our young kids and there is allure/value in the peace of mind and non-hassle in just paying our current provider. Anyone have any experience using this service and/or recommendations on another service etc. Thanks in advance.

$10 a day!?!?!?!

Buy a local SIM card. ~€20 (or even less) for several GB of data. Last week I saw a 1GB for €2. Pre-paid cards might not have EU-roaming, so just buy one in Italy and one in Spain.

Just googled: Lycamobile in Spain will charge €15 for 25GB with EU-roaming. If you need a lot of international calls (why, if you have Skype/WhatsApp/Facetime?), it will cost more. But not even near $10 a day. That’s a rip-off.

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Thanks. I realize the cost is $$$ for the plan via our carrier. I have used Lycamobile in the past and it worked well. I don’t think we’ll be making many calls etc. Since I am traveling with my kids I wanted to make sure we COULD call if something happened etc.

I travel a lot and in every country I managed to get a local SIM. Even in Pakistan. If I recall correctly, Uganda and Kenia were a hassle (registration with passport, took 1 hour), and kind of difficult in Ethiopia. And in almost every country you get them right at the airport. Just make sure you are not getting some weird “international special service” but a local phone provider. Just google them.
Italy and Spain: easy enough. European data plans are also very cheap.


Local SIM prices are always a better value.

That being said, when I switched to Tmobile, I get international data roaming now too, albeit at 2G speeds. Don’t love Tmobile, but that’s a perk.

I’ve been using GigSky for my trips to the ‘States: It’s not the cheapest and it’s data-only, but neither of those things have been dealbreakers for me. Local SIMs are probably even cheaper, but I’m not finding a lot of choices for those in the US.

Hi All,

I realize it has been awhile though I wanted to say thanks for all your advice on traveling to Europe this past spring re: SIM cards.

The trip happened and we went with a local SIM card and then we also paid for the internal service via our US carrier. Given the cost of getting the SIM card it ended up being about the same cost to do both (we could have probably gotten a cheaper deal on the SIM card once we got to Europe, but we wanted to save some time post-landing). The Sim we got was from UK 3 for $20 for effectively a months worth of data (given our normal usage).

From a cost perspective, the new SIM is a better deal though there certainly a ease of use aspect for the international plan that keeps your same phone number and it simply works abroad. I think it really depends on length of trip and how you use your device once you land.

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