How To: Make Your Phone Work Overseas

Traveling with your smartphone is possible, but most of us don’t know the first thing about how to do it. It requires monkeying with the SIM cards, contacting the manufacturer who made your phone, and more. With all that monkeying about, many people aren’t willing to put in the time (especially when there’s no 100% guarantee that your attempts will pay off). For these people, options like the NobelCom phone cards, available for nations from America to Ethiopia (and beyond) may be the best bet. Still, there are people who really want to be able to use their normal smartphone wherever in the world they happen to be. For these types of folks, here’s how it is done.


First, you’ve got to unlock your phone. In most cases your phone isn’t unlocked (able to be used with a different carrier) until you’ve paid it off completely. But you can make this request formally, and in many cases your cell phone manufacturer will just agree to do it. This request process is different with each manufacturer, so check around online to find out the best path ahead for you and your phone. If you manage to check this item off of your list (and in most cases, you will), you’ll have achieved the most challenging aspect of unlocking your phone for international travel.


Next, you’ll have to buy a foreign SIM card. Make sure to do your homework on fees and rates. The thing with the new SIM card is that it will give you a new phone number. You may be willing and able to share this with everyone you need to communicate with while you are overseas. But perhaps an easier way is to use a catch-all communication app that relies on data connection, not the infrastructure of a single carrier. This can allow you to unify your texts, Facebook messages, phone calls, and whatever else you do, to a single communication stream. That’ll make things pretty easy when you are overseas.


Finally, you may consider contacting your provider and working out an international roaming plan. This is the best option for people who are traveling in and between many countries during a single trip. In those cases, you might have to buy a different SIM card for every country, and those costs can add up fast. While the international roaming option isn’t going to be cheap, certainly, it will be the easiest and most convenient way to make your phone work like normal, no matter where in the world you happen to be standing.


In the future, we can all imagine that talking and texting will be easy, no matter where you are and no matter where the person you are talking to is. Today, it’s almost possible to do this, but it requires some extra attention and asking around on your part. Because today’s phone manufacturers and service providers want to keep your business (and because they definitely do have the infrastructure in place) they will more than likely be willing to make your plan happen.

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