I struggled to write this post today. My brain is in a fog because I haven’t slept well the past few days since my phone was stolen. I can’t stop thinking about all the little tasks I need to complete before my new phone is sent out to me.
Fortunately, my phone was locked with a code and my thumbprint, so I’m considerably less concerned about my personal information being compromised. Also, T-Mobile was able to suspend my phone immediately after I reported it stolen. Even so, I’m monitoring my bank accounts closely!
Instead of buying a new phone in a shop here in Germany, I’m choosing the more difficult option of waiting to receive a phone from the States. Hopefully by the end of this week, T-Mobile will have sent out my replacement phone to my gem of a sister in the States (they don’t ship internationally) and then she can send my phone to Germany or Poland.
When I decided I’d be travelling full-time down the road, I researched the best phone carrier for nomads and discovered T-Mobile recommended across the board. This is because T-Mobile offers free and unlimited data and texting in over 140 countries. I quickly switched from AT&T to T-Mobile and have never looked back! The best part is that I don’t pay anything extra for these features, I just pay my monthly phone bill as usual.
Most phone carriers will charge you an arm and a leg to do anything on your phone while travelling outside the States. Typically you’d need to purchase an international data package before departing. Not only do you pay for this costly data package on top of your monthly bill, the data package is finite, meaning you are penalised heavily each time you use more data than the package allows. Unfortunately, this is very easy to do if you plan on posting photos to Instagram and rely on Google Maps to find your way around a new city. Phone carriers know this so they take advantage of it.
The other option is to keep your phone on ‘airplane mode’ and only use it over wi-fi. This isn’t practical to me because there are plenty of situations where I’ll be away from wi-fi and need access to my phone. Most of these situations are related to being lost and needing Google Maps, but I also enjoy being able to post to Instagram in a timely manner instead of waiting to get back to my room to upload a day’s worth of photos. I also like chatting with my boyfriend and friends throughout the day as I walk around. I like using the internet on my phone 24/7, no matter where I am.
As a T-Mobile customer with an American phone number, I’m able to use my phone abroad just as I would back in the States. I can use my phone to post to Facebook and Instagram, watch videos on YouTube, and send emails all day long if I really need to. All data use is free! Texting is also free, and calls are just 20 cents per minute.
While calls aren’t that expensive through T-Mobile, I prefer to use Skype if I need to make a call because Skype is even cheaper. (Thanks to my boyfriend for recommending it!) Skype credit costs $4.99 and calls to the US cost 2.8 cents per minute. I can call friends, family, and even landline numbers like my bank and insurance through the Skype app on my laptop for pennies.
With free and unlimited data and texting from T-Mobile and Skype credit, I’m able to travel anywhere and have the peace of mind that I can use my phone 24/7 without racking up exorbitant data usage fees.
If you have an American number and plan on travelling abroad often, I strongly recommend switching to T-Mobile before you depart. Just make sure to keep your phone in a secure location when out and about!