Are you one of those people that need to have your phone while you are traveling? Do you want to have Internet at all times and not only when there is WiFi? If you don’t have an international plan (which I don’t) you may still want to have Internet access while exploring. If so here are 5 tips for using your phone abroad that may come in handy.
1. Not all phones are unlocked
In order to use your phone while traveling to a different country make sure your phone is unlocked. Simply take it to your cell phone provider and have them check for you BEFORE you leave for your trip. You do not want to worry about getting your phone unlocked while you are traveling so please check this prior to leaving your home country.
2. SIM cards come in different sizes
When I was in Vietnam I went to buy a SIM card for my phone yet it was too big. The sales girl pulled out a device and trimmed it. Easy peasy! So if you happen to buy a SIM card that is too big ask if they can trim it.
3. You may not be able to stream movies
As of this blog post it isn’t possible to stream movies on Netflix, Hulu, or any other streaming service on your cell phone. Aw man! But don’t fret, check out #4 to find out how to get around this slight inconvenience.
4. You have to download a VPN app
What is a VPN? Virtual Private Network is an app you need to download in order to use your movie and TV streaming apps you may have on your phone. It basically tricks your service into thinking you are still in your home country which then allows your shows and movies to play. For example, when I was in Vietnam my VPN said my phone was in Los Angeles. Search your app store and find a free VPN app that works for you. Once you download the app and follow the instructions you will be golden!
5. You may have to add an APN
I have a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and I had to add an APN on my phone. Well, my friend Kia from blackmominvietnam.com added it because I had no idea how to do it. What is an APN? AndroidCentral.com says, ‘The Access Point Name is the name for the settings your phone reads to set up a connection to the gateway between your carrier’s cellular network and the public Internet.’ Blah blah blah. Look, just check that you have the correct APN on your phone in order for your sim card and minutes to work. Find out what APN is needed by checking your cell phone providers instructions.
One more thing, you probably have to buy minutes in order to use the Internet. I bought about $15 worth while I was in Vietnam. You can ask at your hotel, hostel, or apartment rental where you can purchase minutes.
Of course every country has different protocols but for the most part this list will be helpful in almost any country you visit. I hope this helps you!