should you get a local simcard?
Updated: Aug 18, 2020
This was probably one of my first questions when I started travelling! Roaming costs from the UK are often a literal fortune so I’d always recommend making sure your phone is unlocked to all networks a month or two before you go, and getting local sim cards.
A sim card definitely isn’t necessary! You can get around easily enough without one, but if you’re solo travelling or like knowing you have access to the internet for peace of mind in case of emergencies, then sim cards are cheap enough to buy.
The price of sim cards really varies from country to country! Most are cheap as chips like in India where I paid just less than £5.00 for 31 days of internet with 1GB per day allowance. However, some, like in Thailand, cost me a bloody fortune! In Thailand I paid around £30.00 for 30 days of internet with a total of around 25GB of data.
In most countries there are different options for sim cards depending on how long you’re in the country and how much data you want. You can often get 5 day sims, 2 week sims or 1 month sims with varying amounts of data ranging from 5GB-30GB.
WHERE TO GET ONE
I always think the easiest place to get one is at the airport when you arrive at your destination. There are nearly always stands/shops just outside the arrivals hall and they’re usually pretty quick and efficient at getting you set up.
They test it for you then and there so you know it works, and prices never varied much compared to getting a sim on the street.
If you don’t want to get one at the airport, you’ll find plenty of shops advertising sim cards but be warned, a lot of these signs are out of date and the shops no longer sell them so you may have to hunt around for a while.
If you have the spare money I’d say to get a local sim for sure - it’s worth it to have access to online maps rather than offline ones, plus it’s great for keeping in contact and just general browsing and stuff. If you’re not arsed about all that then don’t bother!