Smartphones have become useful companions for tourists wanting to snap pictures, take videos, use Google Maps, Skype, purchase train and museum tickets and more. However, since not all data plans are created equal, your smartphone can turn your dream vacation into a cell phone bill nightmare without proper planning.
Most travelers to Italy of course cannot speak Italian and, even those that can, typically do not want to eat into their vacation time by having to hunt down a cell phone store or to figure out what cellular options they need for their trip. Most travel experts, such as Rick Steves, recommend you prepare yourself prior to departure and get an Italian cellular plan or Wi Fi plan before you go. For those reading this the same day you plan to travel, here is a short but quick Italian lesson for you: “sim card” in Italy is a “carta sim”, and a cell phone is called “cellulare.” If you already have an Italian SIM card and just need to add call credit, go to a tab and ask for a “ricarica.” Be sure to tell them who the provider is, otherwise, it is like going to a magazine stand and saying, “I need a magazine.”
What’s the best plan for your trip?
That is a great question and, like most great questions, there is no simple answer. The answer is, “it depends on what you need.” Some travelers need to stay in touch with their friends or the owners of their apartment. Some travelers need to stay in touch with their office back home and some travelers just need data service so they can use Google Maps. Others need a combination of all of this to one degree or another. The good news is that Cellular Abroad offers solutions for all of this and more. While it can be confusing, Cellular Abroad has been providing service to travelers since 2002 and are experts in finding the best solution for your personal needs. Therefore, if you are confused or stuck, just call us or chat with us online.
Some Typical Scenarios
Again, many travelers have unique needs and situations (I will be traveling to Italy and need to use data so I can check my emails on my phone but I will also be going to other countries for the weekends) so, while we cannot possibly address all of the possible scenarios, here are several of the top ones.
1. I am traveling to Italy and just need an emergency phone.
The solution is to either get a SIM card for your phone – if it is unlocked – or to rent or buy a cell phone for your trip. The decision whether to rent or buy depends on the length of the trip. If it is short, you should rent. Otherwise, you can buy an Italian from Cellular Abroad if your trip is a month or more.
2. We are traveling with a group and we all need a solution. In this case, what usually is most cost effective is to rent a wireless hotspot. That way, anyone can connect to the internet regardless of the device they are using. While this service is limited to data, nowadays, there are many apps that allow you to place a call.
3. I have a Verizon cell phone. Verizon told me that it is unlocked. What should I do?
This is easy, just get a SIM card for your phone. That way, you can continue to use your iPhone 6 or Samsung Galaxy but instead of paying Verizon’s roaming fees, with an Italian SIM card you get more features (like an Italian number and a US number if you want), better service and lower rates than roaming with Verizon.
4. I just need to be able to use my iPad but I want to watch videos and not worry about huge bills.
We also offer data only services. If you only have one device, just rent a data SIM card instead of renting a mobile hotspot.
5. We are shooting a documentary and need to send our footage back for editing in the United States.
OK, this is not a likely scenario…but we just had to throw in this example to demonstrate that here too we have a solution. You want data? We got data, and plenty of it. In fact, we can provide you 100GB of LTE data or even more if you need.
Still confused about what you need to do for your trip? You are not alone as there are plenty of other scenarios for cellular and data service that travelers need. Feel free to browse our site or to contact us. Cellular Abroad can safely say that there is no other company in the United States, including Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile or others that can offer the wide array of services at low prices that we can.