I’ve heard someone say, “You don’t know what you don’t know, until you know it.” It sounds philosophical, or just plain confusing. But it makes sense when you think of it this way:
I travel. I’ve traveled to over 30 countries, all before I turned 20. And yet, I never used an international SIM card. Instead, I relied solely on hotel and cafe WiFi to make phone calls and stay connected on social media. It’s a wonder why I didn’t think about traveling with an international SIM card. I guess I just didn’t know about it. (And also because I traveled with my family anyways, so no need to call them.)
Then one day I learned about Mobal’s International SIM cards and had the opportunity to test one out on my trip to London.
After the trip, I can safely say you shouldn’t travel without a Mobal SIM card. Here’s why:
1. It works in (almost) every country in the whole world!
If you already have your trip planned, or if you are planning one now, just check if the card will work wherever you are. I was in London and it worked throughout the city. I found that when I moved from one hotel to another, it did take a little time for the SIM card to adjust to the strongest network, but once connected, it did its job!
2. It’s so easy to use
Before purchasing a card, make sure your phone is unlocked. I used my unlocked iPhone and had to activate the SIM card before using it. Mobal recommends doing activating two to three days before traveling, so plan ahead! I did it about a week before, just in case as it was my first time using an international SIM.
I used the SIM card the week before I traveled to London back home in New York. Then after turning off airplane mode upon arriving at Heathrow Airport, my phone searched for local networks fairly quickly. Even before getting off the plane, I was able to use the phone as if I were using it back in New York.
3. You can share your amazing discoveries
This is the best part for me. I had the opportunity to take several tours while in London and of course, I had to share Instagram pictures and tweet what I was seeing and experiencing! With an international SIM, I had data too so I could use social media and post pictures of what I was doing as it was happening.
One of the cool things I did was while on my way to the Natural History Museum, I tweeted the museum (thanks to the Mobal SIM card) and was able to have a conversation with them about what was best to do in the museum with only one hour to spare. Then once I stepped inside the museum, I was ready to make the most of the hour.
4. Stay connected
I could consider London one of my first solo trips. My first solo trip ever was to Ecuador, but when arriving at Cuenca’s airport, I had my Ecuadorian ‘family’ waiting for me. So that doesn’t really count. This time in London, I was on my own to get around and explore apart from meeting up with my mom for two nights.
This is when the Mobal SIM card really came in handy. My mom also had a Mobal SIM card so we were able to communicate as if we had our usual SIM cards at home. Also, I felt better about traveling solo when I had a working phone just in case I had to make a phone call.
5. You’ll have a US phone number
As an intern at VisitBritain (the official tourist for Great Britain) based in New York City, I’ve had to make calls to the UK. It’s actually really complicated the first time around. I learned you need to dial the exit number (it’s 011 in case you were wondering) then find the area code in the UK and dial the number, but somewhere in there you need to omit a number. It’s easier now that I’ve made multiple phone calls, but needless to say, with an international SIM, you don’t need to worry about this because you’ll have a US number.
You’ll also avoid confusion when you give the phone number to friends and family to contact you when you’re overseas. I was at Sainsbury’s (a UK grocery store) and was wondering what kind of candy to bring back for my dad and brother. Except I didn’t really have to wonder. All I had to do was call and ask them. Or it wouldn’t have been hard for them to call me because I gave them the US phone number.
— Bethany Looi (@bethanylooi) May 1, 2016
Whether you’re convinced you need an international SIM card, all I know is now that I know I’m not traveling without it!
Please check out Mobal’s international SIM card on their website: https://www.mobal.com/