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Bon Voyage: The US Traveler’s Guide to Travel SIM cards Abroad

How InMotion Can Get You Connected with a Travel SIM Before Leaving the US

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Bon Voyage: The US Traveler’s Guide to Travel SIM cards Abroad

By InMotion
April 18, 2019

Traveling abroad is both an exciting and nerve-wracking adventure. You’ve spent several weeks preparing for your trip and packing all your essentials. You’re ready to explore a new culture and plenty of foreign landscapes, adventuring through some of the most beautiful parts of the world One of the most frustrating aspects of traveling internationally, however, is making sure your cell phone works and you can stay connected with family and friends back at home. Luckily, the experts at InMotion - the largest airport-based tech retailer in the US - have travel SIM card options to make sure that as soon as you arrive, you’re able to stay connected to loved ones. What are the benefits of using a travel SIM, and what are your options? We’re here to break it down for you.

Why do I Need a Travel SIM Card?

man on cell phone

While traveling, you’ll want to stay connected to loved ones to share stories of your adventures or stay connected to your office. But bringing a cell phone with a carrier from another country abroad typically involves a variety of roadblocks and issues with functionality, including:

  • Expensive Calls & Data: making calls and using data while abroad is expensive! Carriers charge increased rates when in a foreign country and may not have all the essential functions. If you’re someone who constantly stays in touch with friends and family at home, you’re sure to run up a massive phone bill without a travel SIM.
  • Lacking Data: Not only will your data be expensive, but it will be next to impossible to use the essential functions of your phone while traveling without a consistent internet connection, including GPS, music, and social media.

In other words, if your US carrier is supported in the country you’re traveling to, it will likely cost you a good chunk of change to stay connected with loved ones while abroad. A tourist SIM, however, keeps your service at a flat rate and allows you to stay connected when you need it most.

How do I Prepare for Traveling with a Travel SIM?

Travel Sim

About a week before leaving, it’s important to make sure your phone is compatible with a Travel SIM card and that you have everything you need to stay functional once you arrive.

  • Check Your Device Type: Depending on your carrier, you may or may not be able to use a Travel SIM with your existing device. All cell phones are either GSM (Global Systems Mobile) or CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) compatible. GSM-compatible phones are typically capable of using travel SIM cards because it involves the simple act of switching your existing SIM card with a Travel SIM car. CDMA devices, however, do not use SIM cards, and you will likely have to purchase a phone to bring abroad to stay connected.
  • Ensure Device is Unlocked: Many carriers lock their phones onto their own services to prevent you from leaving their services or stealing a phone that is on a payment plan. This is different than unlocking with a passcode and often involves calling your carrier and requesting that they unlock it. You can also contact a local business that offers device unlocking, which they typically do for a small fee.
  • Save Important Numbers and Passwords: If you’re using the same phone as you did in the United States, your social media and email passwords should be saved on your device. Whether you’re using your own phone or buying a new one, we recommend keeping track of important phone numbers and passwords in a notebook -- just in case.
  • Download WhatsApp: WhatsApp is a talk and messaging app that works with wifi to avoid SMS fees when traveling abroad. Available for both Apple and Android devices, WhatsApp has a variety of messaging features that make it easy to stay connected.

Which Travel SIM do we Recommend?

Image result for UltraMobile $39-Ultra Talk and Text Sim Dom-Intl

While catching your flight, stop in at InMotion - the largest airport-based tech retailer in the US - to grab a Travel SIM and a variety of other tech accessories you may need for your trip. Perfect for going abroad, InMotion carries the UltraMobile $39-Ultra Talk and Text Sim Dom-Intl. This travel SIM provides unlimited talk to more than 80 different destinations across the globe in addition to unlimited global and domestic text. If this doesn’t quite fit your needs, an additional 1,250 bonus minutes are available at 39 uTalk destinations, making the UltraMobile $39-Ultra Talk and Text Sim Dom-Intl perfect for anyone who finds him or herself frequently communicating with friends and family back home in the US. The UltraMobile $39-Ultra Talk and Text Sim Dom-Intl includes 5GB of 4G LTE. If you run over the 5GB of LTE, unlimited data is provided at a slower speed for no additional cost. Best of all, the UltraMobile $39-Ultra Talk and Text Sim Dom-Intl is mobile hotspot capable, allowing you to stay connected on any device while traveling.

What Should I Do Once I Arrive at my Destination?

Removing a Sim Card from an iPhone
Image Source: https://www.pcmag.com

If you discovered that a travel SIM was the right choice for you, you will need to install your travel SIM once you arrive. To do this, remove the case from your device (if you have one) and location the SIM card port. Using an end of a paper clip, insert the clip into the small hole on the outside of the SIM card slot. Once open, remove the SIM card - storing it somewhere safe like a pill bottle for the rest of your tip - and insert the new SIM card. Restart your phone and voila! You are now able to stay connected while abroad.


Making sure you can stay connected while abroad it one of the biggest stressors for US travelers. Before catching your flight, stop in at InMotion for all the tech you need for your adventure. Our expert associates can help answer any questions you may have to make your trip run as smoothly as possible.

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