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Sim vs Global plan to connect with fellow travelers.

I am going to be spending three weeks in France, Switzerland and Italy and want data and phone service on my Samsung Galaxy 5 (I have Verizon coverage).

Halfway through the trip I'll be meeting up with two friends in Italy at different times but eventually we'll all be tavelling together. We all want to be connected via phone so we can have some independence. I think we all have different domestic carriers and phones. If we each have global plans but try to call or text each other while over there will that end up being an international call back to the USA each time? Is each getting a Sim card the way to go? What is the best way to stay connected via phone within the country?

I know this is answered elsewhere but what are the best cards for Italy out there?

Posted by
154 posts

International plans from your current provider have gotten a lot better but still not perfect. You can check Verizon's options but if you plan to call or text each other a lot you may find that costs will add up very fast. These plans are usually great for people who plan to use their phone sparingly when they aren't connected to Wi-Fi. If you want the freedom to call and text each other a lot I do recommend getting a sim-card once you are there. Sometimes finding out if your phone is unlocked can be a bit of a run-around but worst case option is you buy inexpensive simple phones there too.

Posted by
8162 posts

I am not sure how Verizon works, but here is what I get from ATT:
For $30 (1 month) I get unlimited text messages, 120 mb of data, and phone calls are $1 a minute (sending or receiving)
If you can all find something similar from your providers and keep in touch primarily through texts, it should work out quite well.

I like the fact that I can get and send unlimited texts. I travel with my sister and it makes it easy to keep in touch if we are off on separate adventures for the day. I also like the fact that should any emergency occur back home, they simply have to call the usual number to get me. $30 is well worth the convenience and piece of mind.

Posted by
3115 posts

Carol, with the AT&T plan, do you keep your usual USA cellphone number? Or, if you have to have a different number, are you able to know ahead of time what that number is so you can give it to hotels, family members, etc.?

Posted by
32159 posts


If using a roaming plan with your home cellular network you will use your regular number, which is both a good and not-so-good thing. With that method, if your friends and family want to contact you all they have to do is dial your number as usual, and the network will find you wherever you are. However, you will be paying for each incoming call, usually billed to the nearest minute. The other disadvantage is that even after being told to "check the time difference", there's always some moron that doesn't bother to do that, and calls you in the wee hours of the morning while you're sleeping. Turning the phone off at night doesn't always help that situation, as calls routed to voice mail are sometimes also charged.

Posted by
3 posts

This is in response to Carol's comment. While ATT global passport allows you to send unlimited texts and multimedia (photos and video), however you are charged for all incoming texts ($.50/text) and multimedia ($1.30). So you need to be careful how many texts you are sending to each other. without the plan all calls are $1.50/minute and texts for $.50/sent and received. This uses your regular phone number. but be aware that anyone who calls you, you will be charged for.

Check online and over the phone with someone at your carrier to verify all charges and choices before making any decisions and you need to sign up for any special plans before you leave, otherwise you will be charged even higher rates, if you use your phone/texting a lot. for only a few calls or texts, it might be cheaper to not add the international plan.

I was told that the best way to communicate was via facetime and imessage, when I had wifi access, but this only works if everyone involved has an iphone.

Also, we are using the Global passport plan through ATT on our current phones and I have called our carrier to unlock our old phones as we are taking those to use in Europe -- Sweden, France, and Switzerland with Sim cards. This way we will be able to communicate with family at home as needed but will also have calling/data ability within Europe. I am still trying to find out info on the best deal. this might help others who need to keep in contact with their US number, but also need to make lots of calls/texts while traveling.

Posted by
8334 posts

Yes, you keep the same number. One advantage is that all your contacts stay accessible without needing to enter country codes.