CT phone home? A question of roaming SIM cards

Did you see what I did there? In the title? CT? ET? Well I thought it was pretty good anyway.

My mum is a worrier, a champion worrier. If there was an award for worrying she’d have it. If she hears sirens on her way to work, for example, she calls me up to check i’m not dead. It’s sweet really, however breaking the news that I’d be braving the streets of Europe on my bike didn’t strike her as the greatest thing ever.

The very least I can do is be contactable but if you’ve ever used your phone overseas you’ll know how much phone companies like to fist you for using your phone whilst roaming.

The best option is to get a dedicated roaming SIM but there are loads to choose from, the biggest and most popular being Travel Talk, WorldSIM and Tru. The way these SIM cards work is that they are always Roaming so it doesn’t matter what country you’re in, they just latch on to any available signal. Whilst the call rates are higher than a Local sim, they are much much cheaper than calling overseas with a roaming SIM.

I only put this here for lolz

“Hello operator?”

So which one to choose?

The first thing I did was find reviews from people who had used the SIMs for themselves whilst travelling. Immediately the Travel Talk SIM got really bad reviews (along with spam from the company themselves countering the bad review). WorldSIM also received some poor reviews however tended to be a mix of good and bad with people often reporting calls failing to get through. Tru SIM received much more favorable reviews however isn’t as cheap as others, costing 25p per minute to call the UK from Europe and receiving a call from the UK costing 7p per minute.

Then I came across the Telestial Passport SIM, which was PCMag.com editors choice for roaming SIMs. Whilst outgoing calls cost more at 55p for Mobiles and 32p for landlines, it offers free incoming calls for most European countries. It also offers a free online travel journal which once activated, tracks which cities you’re in once a day, you can also text it messages and update your journal in much the same way you can text Twitter. The only downside is that it’s quite confusing to operate the travel journal, and their website isn’t the most user friendly thing ever.

It costs $20 (£13.20) comes with $10 credit and unlike some of the other roaming SIMs, you can request a Micro or Nano SIM to fit many of the latest gen smartphones.

So what else? For any of these roaming SIMs to work you’ll need a phone that is unlocked on any network. Either get your current phone unlocked or buy a cheap phone that’s already unlocked. I bought a Nokia 101 dual SIM phone for £18 from Amazon. This is covered further in this post.

Roaming SIM cards are a good way to keep connected on the road, hopefully my mum will worry a little less now knowing she can keep in touch without it costing an arm and a leg.

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One response to “CT phone home? A question of roaming SIM cards

  1. Pingback: Our on the road tech! | Cycle Tramps·

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