Many ‘Boomers’ love to travel but have an awful dilemma as to how to deal with cell phone issues. Most of the time we default to what our carrier tells us to do. Usually it is to buy an international package with roaming. This sounds fine but it usually very expensive and not the best choice. If you have a smart phone you have other choices. Even without a smart phone you have choices.
Depending on how long you will be gone for and whether you need to call back home will help in your decision making. If you will be staying for a few weeks or more and have an unlocked phone it makes sense to buy a SIM CARD in the country you will be and put it into your phone. All you need is a paper clip to insert the Sim card, or any phone store will do it for you. This way you are on the local carrier. You can then buy minutes to use in that country or buy a prepaid sim card. In many countries receiving calls on a cell phone is also free. You can also just turn off your phone completely and buy a cheap local phone with a Sim card and have it whenever you come to that country. It will set you back about $100 but you will have the phone for future travel.
Another option is to use your Skype account which allows you to call cell phones and land lines all over the world for about .02 a minutes. You will just need to download Skype into your smart phone and add minutes to your free account. If you have a Wi-Fi or 4G connection people can call you from all over the world wherever you have a connection. You can also set up a Skype premium account which gives you a discounted yearly account and also video conference calling. This is great if you will be gone for an extended period of time.
Another choice is to set up a Skype phone number and people will be calling a local number (from country of your choice) and you would answer it on your smart phone or computer anywhere in the world. You must have a local address in your ‘home country’.
You can also download WhatsApp which is another free application with many advantages like being able to talk, video call and send large files.
There are many opinions and I would like to open this discussion up to others to see what you have found to work best for you while traveling.