Telephone and Internet: how to communicate when travelling?

When travelling, you want to disconnect as much as possible from your old everyday life. However, from time to time, we want or need to keep in touch. Abroad, it is sometimes complicated and can be expensive. Here you will find useful information on all means of audio and video communication by telephone and Internet…

Classic calls with a mobile phone

Take a chip from a local operator

It is usually very easy to find a local chip without a subscription and buy the number of communication minutes (credits) you need. It is easy to top up with call credit.

It is very useful when you travel together to meet each other when you separate. Very practical also to keep in touch with local friends met on the spot.

Find out more about international call rates for calling in France, for example. Rates vary widely, from very expensive to very cheap, depending on the operators and countries. For example, from Thailand, the price per minute to France with a local chip is generally very low, but this is far from always the case.

Calls made from abroad (locally or internationally) with a SIM card from the issuing country are always cheaper than with a French chip.

International prepaid SIM cards

International SIMs is subscription-free prepaid SIM cards specifically sold for making calls from abroad. You have to order them on the Internet and wait to receive them. It is better to buy these cards before you leave. Check simoptions.com if you wish to learn more about buying an international prepaid SIM card.

During the trip, they have the advantage of being easy to recharge. We control our consumption since we are limited to the credit we have bought and, above all, we keep the same number regardless of the country in which we are located.

However, the tariffs are still very high, very comparable to those charged by French operators. Finally, they have little interest compared to a French SIM card with a two-euro package, and even less compared to a local pre-paid SIM card.

Choosing a smartphone or cheap phone?

Smartphones or good old cheap phones each have their own interests and advantages for a trip, it’s up to you.

The advantages of the good old cheap phone

That’s one less valuable thing to worry about. Basic phones are available for less than thirty euros. In case of loss or theft, it is not a big loss and it is easily replaceable. With an old phone, you don’t show your wealth to the poor in third world countries. It’s solid. Included: the flashlight option, bottle opener and most importantly, you can play snake!

The advantages of smartphones

In many cases, you can connect via Wi-Fi. It allows you to use many applications, sometimes very useful when travelling. GPS tracking can be used, which is very practical, although at the expense of a little something unexpected. And often the unexpected is a good thing, right?

Maps can be downloaded and subsequently accessed even without an Internet connection.

It is often possible to take pictures of quite good quality, which eventually makes it possible to do without a camera.

You can call and send messages free of charge over the Internet with Skype, Viber, WhatsApp and other applications. We also have access to his emails.

Carry a phone compatible with local frequencies

There are different GSM frequency standards depending on the country and continent.

It is important to check that your phone will work in the frequency used in the countries you are going to or take a tri-band or quad-band phone with you that are compatible with all standards.

Be careful, in Japan and South Korea, only 3G and 4G phones are available.

Unlock your phone

In most cases, when you buy a phone, it is blocked for use with only one operator. It is important to unlock your phone before leaving so that you can use it with SIM cards from other operators.

Have your phone unlocked after the legal period

If you have taken out a subscription with a commitment, then your contract specifies the legal duration during which the mobile phone will remain blocked. In general, it is between three and six months. Once this period has expired, to unlock the phone, simply request it from your operator. The easiest way is to go to a shop of your operator who will do it for free. You can also contact customer service.

Phones with multiple SIM cards slots

There are phones with several SIM card slots. This is very convenient as it allows you to use these SIM cards at the same time and receive and make calls from different operators.

For example, you can keep your French telephone card with the number associated with it and at the same time use a local card (of the country in which you are located) with a different number. One phone, several numbers!

How to make cheaper calls when travelling?
Prepaid SIM card: an alternative to the mobile plan