How Do I Use My Phone in Another Country?

One question I have while preparing to travel to the Philippines (my first trip to a foreign country) is about using my mobile phone. I will be traveling with a friend, but we will be separated often as he will be spending time with his wife’s family. Therefore I will want to be able to contact him so we could reunite.

I will also want to use my phones map program to help find my way around, the internet for local research, and my phones camera (if I didn’t decide on something different, such as a GoPro) for photos and videos.

My research revealed two options. One, call my carrier and add on a foreign plan for the time of my visit. This option can become very costly. The other option was to purchase a  local SIM card to temporally replace my current card. This seems like the better option. I will be able to purchase a “local country” SIM card at the airport upon arrival. I’ve read, using the new card is easy. Just pop out the current card, pop in the new card, and register the phone. It may take a few hours for my phone to register to the local network.

This local card will give me a local number, which I will then to give to my friend.  I will need to be careful to safety store my current card so I can replace it once I return home. A tip I read, is to use a piece of tape to secure my SIM card to the card or package my “local” card comes in. Then place this in my wallet with my other cards for safe keeping.

It is important to note, that using a local SIM card in another country will only work if you phone is unlocked. Locked phones are designed to work on only one carriers service. But, phones can be unlocked. Your carrier can help you with this.

However, I discovered that AT&T requires a phone to be paid off, and there be no contract. However again, I discovered they would unlock my phone for a temporary time, if I was going out of the country. I Also realized while using the local SIM card, my current phone would not work for calls and texting. I would need to use other means to communicate with family and friends back home.

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