Find the Best Study Abroad Cell Phone Plan – Whether at home or studying abroad, our phones are in our daily lives we’re constantly on them checking s
Find the Best Study Abroad Cell Phone Plan – Whether at home or studying abroad, our phones are in our daily lives we’re constantly on them checking social media, or communicating through phone calls and text messages
Studying abroad is a valuable and enriching experience, and a smartphone can be a very essential tool to have on hand while exploring a new country.
It can help translate languages, find the best places to eat or shop, and to stay in touch with family and friends back home, you’ll need a phone plan that works for your situation.
Technology offers abundant ways to stay in touch with family and friends while you’re studying abroad. But to stay connected, you are going to need a solid study abroad phone and study phone plan.
We’ve provided a brief guide that will help you find the best study abroad cell phone plan.
How to Find the Best Study Abroad Cell Phone Plan
1. Top-up Plans
These SIMs are pay-by-use, meaning you can put on as much money as you’d like, and each time a text or phone call is made, the rate per minute will be deducted from that amount.
Usually, these services will send you a text message after you have made a call or text telling you how much your balance is after the deduction.
There are different ways to recharge your phone when you run out of credit. The English Vodafone site (which is one of the more popular carriers in Europe, the UK in particular) has a good explanation of how you can top up your credit, but generally, it’s done in a store, on the web, at an ATM, or through text.
2. Unlock Your Study Abroad Phone for Best Results
Don’t wait until you’re stranded in a foreign country feeling lonely to check if your phone will work abroad.
While you’ve got your provider on the phone, ask them if they can unlock your Phone for study abroad.
Most telecom providers offer this service for free if you contact them before leaving the country.
3. Locked out? Launch Plan B: Study Abroad Cell Phone.
If your usual phone is not going to work abroad (or will cost you an arm and a leg), it’s time to implement Plan B: Buy a study abroad phone in your destination.
This is solid advice for most materials involved in your life abroad: If the one from home’s not broken, don’t fix it. If the one from home doesn’t work, find a local alternative.
Some students decide to go for the two-phone approach: If you’re stuck with a locked Phone for study abroad, you’ll still be able to connect to Wi-Fi and use internet-based services.
So, use your tried-and-true home phone for general internet.
4. It’s All About Timing When it Comes to Studying Abroad Phone Plans.
Are you studying abroad for a week, a semester, As long as you possibly can? The right studying abroad cell phone options for you will depend on where you’re going and how long you’ll be there.
Generally speaking, the longer you’re gone, the more it makes sense to opt for a local study abroad cell phone and study abroad phone plans.
If you’re only going to be away for a week, you can probably stick with what your home phone provider offers as an international phone plan.
On a semester-long program, it’s worth the hassle of finding a good study abroad phone plan that works for you and those you want to stay in touch with.
When in doubt, talk to your study abroad program provider to see what they recommend.
They’ll be able to tell you what past participants have done and give you an idea of what you should budget for study abroad phone plans in your destination.
5. Get a Local Phone Plan
If you’re studying abroad for at least a few weeks, do yourself a favor, and buy a local SIM card and study abroad phone plan.
Local phone service providers will vary by country, so ask your program leader or a local friend who offers the best coverage and packages for short-term study abroad phone plans.
Vodafone is a popular option in many countries around the world, and Orange is common across Europe.
Smaller, local providers may have more favorable rates, but bigger companies often have better coverage.
6. Consider Your Destination.
Not all study abroad phone plans are created equal. The cost of phones and phone plans will vary significantly based on where you’re headed.
The U.S., New Zealand, Canada, Australia, and the UK are likewise known for big price tags for phones and plans for short-term travelers that cannot commit to an extended contract.
Pay-as-you-go study abroad phone plans in Asia, Eastern Europe, and most of Africa and Latin America are comparatively more affordable.
7. Yes, you should have a phone while studying abroad.
At this point, you may be wondering if international communication is even worth the effort of getting a phone while studying abroad.
After an hour on hold on the Verizon customer service line, it’s only natural to get whimsical about throwing your phone out the window for a semester and just living in the moment.
You’re not wrong. Maybe you’re “not a phone person”, and that’s cool.
But having a phone while studying abroad is an undeniable advantage because a study abroad cell phone is useful not only for you but also for all of the people near and far who want to communicate with you.
A phone allows you to: stay in touch with local friends you met often, calls an Uber when you miss your bus or check in with your host family if you are running late. Plus, it gives your dear mother a hotline to confirm that you’re alive.
8. Apps Are Your Friend
By far the best options for communication while you’re studying abroad are apps like Skype, Viber, and Whatsapp.
With a decent internet connection, these free apps allow you to call, text, and video chat to your heart’s content with contacts around the world.
For the Luddites in your life, you can also use Skype and Viber to call directly to a landline, though this is a paid service.
For chatting with local friends, ask around about popular messaging apps in the region. In Russia and Eastern Europe, you’ll find most people use VK instead of Facebook; WeChat is China’s favorite messaging app, and Thais prefer Line over Whatsapp.
9. Be Ready for 3G. Gulp
If you’ve been pampered on 4G and rocket-speed internet, be prepared for slower surfing overseas.
In the global internet speed race, Scandinavia and South Korea lead the pack, followed by the US, Canada, Russia, and most of Europe.
If you’re headed elsewhere, expect page load times to move at their own pace.
10. Don’t Get Hung Up on Bad Connections
We’ve all had those days where wires get crossed and the wifi refuses to cooperate with our ambitious communication plans.
It happens. The best thing to do in these situations is to accept your fate before you’re driven to throw your phone out the window in a blind rage.
For moments like this, it’s great to have a communication back-up, so you can shoot your mom a quick message to say it’s nothing personal, you’re just having a bad wifi day.
If your connection seems particularly bad for days in a row, try contacting your local or home network provider to investigate.
11. B-A-L-A-N-C-E: Look Up From Your Phone Once in a While
Technology is addicting. Between keeping up with old friends and dazzling your family members with your international adventures, it can feel like the phone is permanently glued to your ear.
These conversations are important ways to share your experiences and feel connected but make sure they don’t become a crutch that prevents you from being present where you are.
Drop the line sometimes, so you can focus on all of the new sights and smells and things you’re learning while abroad.
Follow these Guides on How to Find the Best Study Abroad Cell Phone Plan and It could be of help to you.