Travelling abroad while staying connected to the internet has become a real need. Outside Europe, using 3G/4G via your national plan is an idea to forget. Having an international SIM card is therefore a preferred option to have a prepaid data plan when travelling abroad.
The International SIM Card: the best solution for these 2 countries!
While in some countries, a local SIM card can be bought in 2 minutes and operational in the same time, it is sometimes more complicated. This is particularly the case in Japan and to a lesser extent in Korea.
There is also the language barrier. In these 2 countries, unless you speak the language, the SIM will have to be installed / activated / recharged by the shop staff. Difficult to manage alone. Finally, there are sometimes “tourist” packages but the price is often inflated compared to the classic offers.
Japan and South Korea are therefore among the countries where having an international SIM card is a real plus. Check www.simoptions.com/ if you are interested in learning more about prepaid SIM cards. There are no risks on the spot and your prepaid data plan is operational the second you land in the country …
International SIM Card or Local SIM Card?
To connect to the Internet abroad, the 2 possible options are the international SIM card or the local SIM to be obtained in the country you are visiting. In both cases, you can get a prepaid data plan to stay connected to the internet abroad.
The idea of using your French SIM abroad (outside Europe at least) is absolutely forbidden. It is not uncommon to have a data cost close to 20 euros per MB when the country is far away.
In this part of the post on the interest of an international SIM card, I compare different points to consider when making your choice. It is important to know that depending on the country, the duration of the trip but also the number of countries visited, the best solution may be different. We will see here that, in many cases, the international SIM card has many advantages!
The Case Of Countries Where Getting A Local Tourist SIM Is Forbidden / Difficult
In some countries, getting a prepaid SIM card to connect to the internet is very easy and sometimes even very affordable. This may be the best solution if you have a basic command of English.
However, in other countries it is difficult, time consuming or even impossible to get a prepaid SIM card easily while you are a foreigner. I remember a trip to India for example where I had not managed to get one. Many documents are needed and the salesmen didn’t want to sell me a SIM 😉
In this case, having an international prepaid SIM card is the only solution to consider. And more generally, if you have a slightly larger budget, your trip is short and you don’t want to waste time, this is clearly the solution to prefer in my opinion.
Local SIM Card : Beware of “Tourist” Packages
More and more local operators are offering special tourist packages. A prepaid SIM card, a short description translated into English, a data package + sms + calls. On paper, everything is perfect. However, the prices of these packages are often inflated. Much less interesting than the classic offers of the operator.
Be wary of these packages. If you prefer to take a local SIM card rather than an international SIM, I recommend you to opt for the classic offers of the operator. They are often more numerous, you can opt for the prepaid package best suited to your needs: data only and / or with calls / SMS. And it will cost you less than the “tourist” packages.
International SIM Card: The Easiest Solution for Internet Access Abroad
Clearly, the international SIM card is the most convenient solution for staying connected to the internet abroad. You can choose the most suitable package for your trip: country(ies) visited, duration of the trip, …
Moreover, on the spot, if you rent a car or other, you have an operational internet connection right away. It is not necessarily possible to find a SIM directly at the airport.
Finally, if you have a stopover a few days before your final destination, you can potentially use your international SIM card to get internet via the prepaid data plan in both countries! Practical …