How to Save Money by Using a Local SIM Card When Traveling

When traveling abroad it's often less expensive to use a local SIM card rather than pay hefty roaming charges from home. If you're going to spend time in another country it's good to have an in-country number so the locals (business partners, friends, your hotel, etc.) can easily and inexpensively contact you by phone. If you have a smart phone it's handy having mobile broadband on the go.


GSM is a global standard for mobile phones. The United States has only two major GSM carriers: AT&T Mobility and T-Mobile USA. In order to use a phone with a different SIM card, the phone must be unlocked. Call your carrier for assistance.


  • AT&T Mobility International Services can be reached +1 (800) 335-4685 or +1 (916) 843-4685.
  • T-Mobile USA can be reached at +1 (877) 453-1304.


Use caution when traveling with a smart phone. Either purchase a data plan or turn data off. Failure to do so will result in the phone using up airtime very quickly.


Non-GSM carriers such as Verizon and Sprint, etc. offer "world phones" that accept a SIM and can be used overseas. I have no experience with this. Contact your carrier for assistance.


If your carrier can't or won't unlock your phone you can pay a third-party to do it. I have used +GSMLiberty twice and have been happy with the results.


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