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Best phone solution for RTW trip

I'm planning a RTW trip for a year with my family. I'll be working and will need to use a smart phone for calls, email, data and texting (WhatsApp etc). We'll be staying in metropolitan areas for at least 1-2 months at a time.

Any advice on the best phone (make/model) to use? I'd like to just buy one and be able to use it for the entire trip, presumably just switching out SIM cards in each location.

Also, any advice on mobile carriers or SIM card deals in each city (see tagged locations) is most welcome. Thanks!

10 Answers

top answer by
Margie from Jacksonville

Have you considered TMobile? I'd look at using them. They have an amazing international service plan that includes free Wi-Fi and text messages in many countries around the world. The plan also includes drastically reduced call rates back home. If you travel to a country where service isn't available, you can then purchase a SIM card in country and use that in the TMobile phone.

6 thanks

answered by

About 6 months ago, I switched to Tmobile (US) due to my difficulties with AT&T during international travel. My experience during the the 3 months abroad was quite good. I was in cities, had coverage, no data or text charges, and only $0.20 for each minute of phone call. So, I would recommend it for RTW travel. But more recently, I have such trouble with their network traveling within US that I am going to switch back to AT&T. Their coverage is very bad outside of cities.

3 thanks

answered by
Jacqui from London

Hi again Gabriel, 

you might be better using your current smart phone (assuming you already have one). You could get it unlocked from your provider and buy a prepaid Sim card with internet data included in each country you go to - but this would mean a different phone number. Also note, data can be expensive in some countries, but Wifi is readily available at most hotels and many restaurants. 

In London (or anywhere in the UK) you can get a prepaid Sim Card from Three mobile. You can use your credit to buy "top ups". For example, the £15 top up lasts 1 month and has unlimited data. Three have just introduced "feel at home countries" where you can use your existing calls and data in a select number of countries around Europe. 


2 thanks

answered by
Kemkem from Malaga

You would need an unlocked phone if you don't have one already. If you have a current contract, you can have it unlocked (except Sprint). Then when you get to whatever country, just pick up,a SIM card which are pretty cheap. Another thing you might consider doing is to get a phone number from Magicjack - Canada Inc online. It cost $20 for the year, but it might be worth it if you will be making lots of calls to the U.S via wifi. That way people can just call you and vice versa for free. I live in Spain, but still do business with the U.S and it's worked out very well, and has saved a ton of money. Happy travels.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Magicjack - Canada Inc (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Arnette from Los Angeles

When I went on my 19 month RTW I had an unlocked iPhone in which I would buy a SIM in the local destination. I could get sims easily in most countries. Three Mobile is the carrier I used in both the UK and HK. Iphones are great because if you can get into a wifi zone you can use iMessage/texting without using data or texts. Whatsapp is also great but it does drain the battery. 

If you are at the end of a contract with your current phone, I would seriously consider moving over to TMobile. I switched due to overseas travel and spending many months at a time in Canada. I don't have to switch SIMs and I get pretty decent high speed data. International data is included in the Simple Choice plan and there is no contract. 

1 thanks

answered by
Tanya from Dubai

If you are planning to visit Dubai, there are only 2 mobile carriers in the UAE (Du & Etisalat). You can buy a SIM card from either one. The cost will be around AED 50. As for the phone, I personally prefer a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 or 4. An Iphone will be ok as well. Hope I've been of help.

1 thanks

answered by
Mitali from Dehra Dun, India

Docomo may help you !

answered by
Liz from Winnetka, Illinois

I just went to a class on this  and have been trying the best solutions for my own trips.  I use AT&T and you should probably get an international package with them (voice or data depending on what you are doing).  I also try to find free wi-fi whenever possible, but I just purchased a hot spot from AT&T so I can have free wi-fi where ever I go.  This was $149, but you can also rent one. You might also get a disposable recharger.  The teacher of the class discouraged buying SIM cards because he thought they were unreliable. I have also heard about buying or renting a phone from the country you are visiting.  I would go to your cell phone carrier and see what they recommend.

answered by
Yuriê from Manguinhos, Espirito Santo, Brazil

In Brazil we have four mobile carriers (TIM, VIvo, Oi, Claro). Their have pre paid plans in witch you could buy a pre paid SIM card and use. In airport and in many street shops you could buy one of them

answered by
Rachel from Hong Kong

this is always the first thing i do once landed in hong kong, just go to any convenience store like 7-eleven or circle k, they sell prepaid phone cards so you just switch it and plug it in on your smart phone, you should be good to go!

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