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Buying a SIM card in Split? Or don't need one?

We are flying into Split and will be in Croatia for two weeks. It seems everyone has WhatsApp so communication will be pretty easy. Do we still need to get a SIM card? And if so, is there a phone stand at the Split airport or where would be a convenient place to get one where they will put it in for us? (A phone store, not a souvenir store.)

Posted by
4700 posts

What kind of phone service do you have now? Does your service offer some sort of international roaming?

What kind of phone?

You can use WhatsApp on WiFI, and you don't mobile service or even a SIM card in the phone to use WiFI. But if you want to use the phone in places without WiFi, then you'll need mobile service.

Posted by
274 posts

I have an Iphone with Verizon service. Their international service is expensive, so if I need more than WhatsApp, I'll get a SIM card. I can't remember if I'd need a SIM card for data for using maps. Is that correct?

Posted by
4700 posts

I have an Iphone with Verizon service. Their international service is expensive, so if I need more than WhatsApp, I'll get a SIM card. I can't remember if I'd need a SIM card for data for using maps. Is that correct?

The GPS function itself does not require mobile data (or a SIM card of any sort), but to make GPS useful, you need to have the actual map to show and a way to figure out directions. Some mapping apps have "offline" modes to let you download the map info ahead of time. Google Maps has an "offline" mode but it is good only for driving directions, not walking or public transit directions. (But it will show you where you are on a map, even if it can't give you walking directions.) If you plan to drive with say Google Maps "offline," I'd try it at home first and get used to how it works.

Here's some info on prepaid mobile operators in Croatia.

https://prepaid-data-sim-card.fandom.com/wiki/Croatia

SIM cards are cheap - personally, I would just get one. Make sure your phone is unlocked. Verizon recently changed their locking policy; they used to lock none of their phones but now they may lock new phones for up to 60 days after activation on Verizon's network:

Bring a tool with you (a paperclip will do) to be able to remove the tray with your SIM card in it. Handy to have, even to put your Verizon SIM card back when you are done with the Croatian SIM.

Be sure to keep your tiny Verizon SIM card in a safe place so you don't lose it. I have a little plastic case used for camera memory cards that is almost a perfect size.

Posted by
4700 posts

If you will be traveling soon (before the end of the year), install Google Hangouts on your phone so you can call home to the US for free, even to landlines (nice so you can call anyone e.g. your bank or your airline, without worrying if they have WhatsApp). Google is retiring Hangouts later this year. The Google Voice app (not going away this year) already has most of the calling features that Hangouts has but is a little more complicated to set up. You can use WhatsApp too (very popular in Europe).

Just remember to add a +1 to the front of US numbers when calling from Europe.