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SIM for Germany-Austria-Switzerland road trip

Hi, I'm planning a European Delivery trip in July and plan on driving through Germany to Alpine resorts in Austria and Switzerland with my son. I'll be using my phone for GPS navigation while driving.

We both have unlocked iPhones so I would like to get SIM cards, primarily for data/texting, that will work in all three countries. Everything I've read is confusing as far as EU roaming, rules for buying, etc. We will start our trip in Germany, then head to Austria and Switzerland last. Is it more economical to get one SIM for Austria/Germany (EU) and a different one for Switzerland? Or is there one that would work for all three? We will be there for two weeks so $10/day x 2 AT&T roaming is pretty steep.

Posted by
8889 posts

Enquire when buying, but a German SIM card should work in Austria and Switzerland.
It will keep its German phone number at all times.

Posted by
4958 posts

The EU has done away with most roaming fees within the EU, so you can probably buy just one SIM in one country and roam in the others. However, Switzerland is not part of the EU. I assume EU mobile carriers may voluntarily allow free roaming in Switzerland, anyway, but ask about Switzerland before you buy. My Dutch Vodafone SIM allows this roaming in Switzerland (which I did not visit on my last trip to see for sure).

I bought my Dutch Vodafone SIM on eBay so I could have a working SIM when I landed in Italy - see my post on the tech forum below for details. It would work best if you don't need local calls - just data, as I did. (or use WhatsApp or Google Voice for texting). You can't buy a German or Austrian SIM ahead of time like this - you are required to register it in country with your passport. The Netherlands and the UK are two countries that don't (yet) have this restriction. But if you don't mind waiting until you get to Europe, just buy a SIM in the first country you visit.

Install Google Hangouts on your phones ahead of time if you want to make free voice calls home to the US, even to landlines, on WiFi or with mobile data. Add a +1 in front of US numbers to call from a phone in Europe that has a European SIM.

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks, Andrew and Chris. Sounds like I'll wait and get local SIMs in Germany when I arrive. If it gets too pricey to use in Switzerland, I guess I'll just pick up new ones there.