Using your mobile phone abroad

Travelling abroad and telephoning is always a puzzle. However, it is essential to be able to use your mobile phone when you travel abroad, and Wi-Fi is usually unavailable at the most crucial moments (when you need to order an Uber, call your Airbnb contact, download your hotel address, consult Google Map, check the currency conversion rate, call your relatives…).

In short, it is still possible to do without your mobile abroad (how did we do it before?) but not comfortable for many travellers.

 Local SIM cards in the country you are visiting

You can also choose to purchase a local SIM card to make phone calls like the residents of the country you are visiting and to benefit from local internet access at a lower cost. But beware: this prepaid SIM card will only be used for your local calls and will not allow you to call outside the country at advantageous rates (to your family and friends). Visit www.simoptions.com for more about prepaid SIM cards.

However, it implies some steps on the spot, a change of phone number, some energy to devote to it and especially the change of SIM each time you change Country! It is therefore an excellent solution if you go abroad for several weeks outside Europe, but it is quite cumbersome if you frequently go abroad to different countries for short periods of time and you want to use your phone to call and be called from Europe.

In summary, the local country map is the best solution if you live in a country for a long time and you don’t want to call outside the country with this SIM card, because you obviously still have the possibility to call with Wi-Fi through an application like WhatsApp to make your calls to France and the rest of the World. But in case of an emergency call without Wi-Fi outside the country, it will cost you a lot of money!

As soon as you want to use your smartphone in a different country from your operator’s, you’re talking about “roaming”. Here’s everything you need to know about it, my advice to avoid unpleasant surprises abroad and to be well prepared to call and connect to the internet at a lower cost anywhere in the world.

What is “roaming”?

Roaming means using your mobile phone to make calls send and receive messages or connect to the Internet from abroad, via a different operator from the one you have subscribed to.

For example, if I am travelling in Croatia and I have an Orange subscription in France, my phone will no longer show “Orange F” as the mobile network but “T-Mobile” which will be the local network.

In order to make roaming possible, the main French operators (Orange, SFR, Free mobile and Bouygues telecom) have signed agreements with international operators, so that their users can use their mobile phone regardless of the country in which they are located.