Being online is vital for the planning and execution of this trip. It’s less about being able to make local phone calls. The essential thing is a strong 3G signal and a good data package.
It’s the first thing I try to get in a country, often at the airport. The phone companies have started to react to the demand – often you’ll find small stores or booths right after the exit, next to the rental cards.
Yes, there are free wifi’s in most countries, but it all varies… in some countries most wifi’s are free but password protected by the café…. and I don’t want to run into Starbuck’s all the time, buy a latte to get the code for 30 minutes of their wifi….
So in the end, the best solution is to get your local phone chip.
Over the time, I have amassed a number of SIM cards, micro and nano, for my phone and my iPad…
Mostly it’s easy to get them, but service varies from country to country.
Some are super complicated, in filling out forms (Brazil, India…) demanding passport pictures and addresses (India) demanding a police registration (Turkey) or demanding advanced language skills (Japan)….
Some countries are totally smooth and it takes less than 5 minutes to be registered and online (Australia, New Zealand, South Africa)
Some are impossible to recharge (Argentina, Chile…)
I wish the big companies like Vodaphone – my favorite – would come up with a global plan…. World Traveller… !
Select regional countries or a global coverage and connect instantly to the companies local network, no registration required. Recharge with your credit card…. If there’s no local branch, they could make a deal with a national partner network.
Boy, I would have seriously paid money for this! I have to go through my expenses on this trip and see how much I paid in total for phone and internet services.
I think it was around 50 Euro for a month and a decent data package of 1-3 GB.
And while in pretty much all countries the signal was good, even in remote places of India, I think how easy it is to get a phone chip up and running and be online is a pretty good indicator of their development and openness as a society.
Yes I know, terrorist threat and so on, but what good is it if the phone company in Brazil just fills out bullshit into a paper form that has nothing to do with me, and can’t even fill out the passport number correctly….?