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SIM card or not?

I know that this has been asked before, but would it be wise to get a SIM card when we get to Germany? We will be there for two weeks. Verizon is our carrier. We will be traveling with another couple and may split up on occasion, so we will need to be able to call each other to connect.

Posted by
6947 posts

My first preference would be to check with my carrier to see what coverage I can get, that is the simplest. The alternative would be to verify with them that the phone is unlocked, can accept a SIM, and what settings you might have to change.

Keep in mind, a SIM would mean your number changes, they would also need coverage to call them.

Probably not helpful in your case, but since I travel fairly often, I switched to a carrier that gives me seamless coverage nearly everywhere at no additional cost. I find it more and more difficult to get by without a phone and data.

Pro-Tip: If you use Google Maps, there is a feature called location sharing, using that, you can see their location in real time on the map. Great feature for meeting up with my wife as she wanders around.

Posted by
2153 posts

Lots of info if you search the forums to understand your options

Posted by
5163 posts

It depends on what you choose – cost or convenience. If you want convenience, go with Verizon. It’s pricey, but you don’t have to do anything except set your phone up with the international phone plan with Verizon carries. It will either be $10 a day or $100 for a month.

If you want cost, then an eSIM data plan or a Sim card will be much cheaper than the Verizon plan.

With regards to location sharing, Apple phones also have this feature. Your group may want to discuss setting us up (if you all have IOS phones) so that you know where the others are

Posted by
97 posts

We used e-sims from Airalo after reading Mardee's review (and others) and it worked great, and was $33 total for 5gb each for 3 people (in France, so prices vary by country/plan). We each used about 3 gb over the almost 2 weeks we were there. And we just used FaceTime calls or WhatsApp calls to get hold of each other if we split up (in addition to iMessage and WhatsApp chats). If you have the capability for e-sims, I highly recommend it. It was really easy.


Posted by
299 posts

i would say yes, though there are other options like an international sim purchased before leaving or using an e-sim if your phone is capable. i have never used these options but i am sure someone else will chime in. however, i did buy a prepaid vodaphone sim during my recent trip to germany. i bought it in a supermarket. part of the signing-in process involved establishing my identity. you can do it by visiting a post office to show your passport or online via live chat on the deutsche post app that you have to download. the instruction booklet had all the information but only in german. luckily i was visiting family and they helped translate. i suppose if i had visited a vodaphone store like i usually do, the online verification could have been avoided. i think the price was euro 15 for 5 gigabyte of data for a month. there is fine print about the total minutes and number of texts but i am always far below those limits. in italy, where i have traveled more often i always seek out a vodaphone store rather than buy from generic shops, especially near train stations. the salespeople have always been very helpful. however, having said all that i have encountered one big issue with switching out my verizon sim with a non-verizon sim. nothing to do with the phone companies but buying anything online with a credit card most often requires a verification code to be sent to the phone number listed with your cc company. in my case, my boa visa has my american number listed. therefore, in europe, i could never access the verification code to complete the transactions for trainitalia, uffizi and several other places where it was prudent to pre-book tickets. same with the rijksmuseum in amsterdam. i had to use my debit card in these cases. i spoke to boa and visa and they would not send the codes to my email. other than that i find local sims much more convenient and cheaper than using the $10/day verizon international plan. hope this helps.

Posted by
851 posts

I think on this site people probably think I am advertising for this company but I love that we are free to give our views on experiences and I will …..we always employ and they ship all of the equipment to our first hotel… locked/unlocked phones to worry about, no SIM cards to buy…… easy and usable no matter where we are in Europe…they just had a 15% off sale offered……we buy a gift card on their sale days and use it when we need to……pretty sure our last 16 day trip to France in May was about $100……….wifi in your pocket no matter where you are, 24-7……easy easy easy and very reliable…….

Posted by
2064 posts

No matter the WiFi, I'm still going with a cellular data SIM card for security reasons.

Posted by
100 posts

If you only need it to communicate with your travel partners, try Whatsapp. My son and I used it in Germany to communicate with each other when we weren't together and it worked well. I bought some roaming data before we left from my service provider and it ran out very quickly and was sort of expensive. So we ended up getting a SIM card in Germany. You can get them all over the place, including ALDI. You will have to show your passport.