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How To Travel Internationally Without Cell Phone Service
I am cheap when it comes to spending money on my cell phone or cell phone plan. I carried an iPhone 4S for a few years too long and just recently upgraded from an iPhone 6. The reason I resist changing them is because they still work fine, so why pay more for something that isn’t broke? That is my thinking at least. That is the reason that I have always traveled internationally without cell service or purchasing a local sim card etc. I wanted to share some tips with you on how to travel internationally without cell phone service or a local SIM card. It can be done with a little bit of planning.
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Steps Needed To Make This Work
As I am sure you have all guessed by now but WiFi hot spots will be your friend. Your hotel should have you covered plus many restaurants, bars, museums, shops etc. you stop at will offer it as well. I will share with you steps you need to take in order for your phone to accomplish everything you need it to, even without cell service.
How to “Call” Home
Once you have WiFi there are two ways you can stay in contact with those you left behind in the homeland. If our kids are hanging out at Oma or Mimi’s house while we are overseas we like to call them every day or two.
This is where FaceTime comes in handy. You only need a WiFi connection to use FaceTime, you don’t need cell service. So we are able to chat with the kids, and see their beautiful faces, while traveling abroad. If you don’t have an iPhone you could download Skype or something similar for your phone.
If you just want to do a quick check in iMessaging works with just WiFi as well. This is essentially text messaging but over the internet. If have Android then you could use WhatsApp or something similar. You could also use Facebook Messenger for this.
But I Need My Maps!
Nothing is better than getting turn by turn directions in an unfamiliar city. Don’t worry Google Maps has you covered! You can download the map for a city while you have internet connection and then use them offline.
And you can search for restaurants, museums, tourist hot spots by name just like you would with an internet connection. You don’t need to write down a ton of addresses to make this work. It will then give you turn by turn directions and GPS just like it would when you are online.
Plan Ahead A Little Bit For Everything Else
I usually plan out a few things I want to hit for the day. Then as I hear about other places to check out I research them when I am eating or at one of the other spots on my list that has WiFi. If a bar or restaurant has really good WiFi we may stay for an extra drink or two while we are researching our next stop.
I was even able to do this in Amsterdam while sitting at a park with this view!
There will be times when you wish you could use your phone and couldn’t. A such instant was when we were meeting our BlaBlaCar driver. But with proper planning you should be able to keep these things to a minimum.
It is also nice to be sort of “disconnected” for a few days. Although you can still post pictures to social media etc. You just won’t be doing it all the time which is a good thing. It forces you to put down your phone and actually experience the environment you are in. Plus it saves you a few bucks if you are a cheapskate like me.
Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.