Whether you’re a first time traveler or you’ve logged thousands of miles traversing the globe, most people still find themselves frustrated with the high costs using their mobile devices when traveling abroad. A quick search of top travel or money-saving sites will reveal cost-saving tips that include turning off data roaming, turning off all cellular data or micromanaging data access for each app, and hyper-tracking how much data you’re using. Sounds easy enough right?
Perhaps in theory, but in practice it can be frustrating, limiting and – especially in the case of international travel – wildly disconcerting to forego easy access to information and connectivity. When you consider that, on average, we look at our phones every 12 minutes and 78% of us never even turn them off, the idea of taking a trip without full mobile access feels downright primitive.
The Mobile Miscalculation
So what options do you have? The obvious solution may be to add an international plan to your existing mobile service, but that can be fraught with hidden costs and limited data options that count every email, text and social media post against you. Not to mention, you can’t always guarantee the quality of the connection – many times you find yourself stuck on a 2G signal when you need a 4G response.
If you think a traditional plan is a must for maintaining access to your phone number or to talk to loved ones back home, think again. Thanks to a myriad of apps, the addition of eSIM on mobile devices and the benefits of data-only international plans, it’s easier than ever to keep your phone service seamless while maintaining a tight grip on your expenses.
Best Apps for Communicating Abroad
These apps use data-only, and allow you to call friends, family and colleagues using voice over IP (VoIP) connection.
- WhatsApp – it may have started out as a text messaging app, and many people still primarily use it that way, however it’s also a great resource for making phone calls.
- Skype – A go-to application for calls, Skype makes it easy to call a fellow user or dial any number direct through its app. What’s more, while a Microsoft-owned product it works seamlessly with iOS and Android, making it a smart decision no matter your device.
- Facebook Messenger – Facebook is a quick and easy way to stay in touch with friends and family, and the application allows you to do everything from message to talk to share video or send money.
- Slack – ideal for those of you who still have to communicate with your colleagues, Slack is a great app for sending files, messaging with groups or making direct calls.
- If security is a concern, Signal or Telegram are both great options to encrypt calls and messages.
The Power of eSIM
You may have noticed that Apple made a big deal of eSIM last year when it launched its newest iPhones, the XS, XR and XS Max. This is because eSIM is considered a breakthrough in mobile technology, allowing mobile users a “virtual” SIM option which means they can use multiple carriers without changing their phone number. This is particularly exciting news for travelers, as you can continue to have your home-based carrier’s service (and accompanying phone number) while taking advantage of another data plan. In addition to iPhones, eSIM is available on iPad Pros and, as of 2019, all new iPad devices.
Android phone users can also enjoy eSIM. The newest Google Pixel 3 phones feature eSIM and other device manufacturers, such as Samsung, are expected to unveil eSIM enabled devices soon. GigSky will soon be offering eSIM options for Android as well. In the meantime, GigSky is also available through a physical SIM that works in all smartphones, offering data-based plans for most anywhere you travel in the world.
But what about the cost?
No matter how exciting the technology or how easy the apps are to use, for most of us choosing a mobile plan comes down to one critical factor: cost. Here’s the good news: data-only plans from GigSky, whether traditional SIM or eSIM, start at just $10/day for 800MB of data in most locations, and go up to $50 for 5GB across 30 days of service. Other international mobile plans can’t compare – either they charge more, can only promise 2G service or are limited to certain locations.
GigSky data-only service is available in over 190 countries and can be purchased right from the app, using Apple Pay if you prefer. You can tailor your data needs to your travel plans, and control how much you use, ensuring your data and your money never go to waste. The best part? No surprise sticker-shock bills when you come back home.
So what are you waiting for? You’ve planned your trip down to the last detail, now’s the perfect time to make smart choices about how you stay connected. Download the GigSky app today in the Apple Store or in Google Play and take advantage of our summer data deals. iPad users don’t need the GigSky app to activate a GigSky data plan on eSIM enabled iPad. Learn more here.
NEW CUSTOMERS – Use Promo Code and get $5.00 off
New customers get $5 (USD) off your first data plan purchase! Download the GigSky app for iOS or Android and enter GSDATA in the promo code field when you sign-up. This will give you $5.oo (USD) of credit toward your first purchase.
Thanks and Happy Travels!