Should I buy prepaid SIM card when I travel or pay for data roaming?

Should I buy prepaid SIM card when I travel or pay for data roaming?
PHOTO: Pixabay

Have you ever spent a fortune on data roaming while travelling? Use this guide to make a wiser choice next time you travel.

DATA ROAMING OR PREPAID SIM CARD FOR TRAVEL: WHICH ONE SHOULD YOU GET? 

THE GIST 

Staying updated on social media and connected to the internet has already become part of our beings. The line between necessity and luxury has turned into a blur. This fact doesn't change or even more so emphasised when travelling.

But, there is another truth that comes with this - a sad one. HUGE phone bills as a result of keeping data roaming turned on with overseas (or forgetting to turn it off).

Luckily, there are diverse and cheaper options to stay online while travelling for Singaporeans. Let's consider a few popular ones.

PREPAID SIM CARD FROM OVERSEAS 

Buying a local SIM card in the country we're travelling to is an easy and sensible choice. Prepaid SIM cards now have allotted data allowance for a designated number of days and this is a good option when you are travelling for an extended period of time in a country.

You can research options prior to your flight. Or, you can ask counters at the airport for the best telcos with offers that suit the duration of your stay and the activities you planned.

Asian telcos, actually, have pretty affordable promos for travellers.

Photo: Shopback

5 THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN PURCHASING PREPAID SIM CARDS IN OTHER COUNTRIES 

1. Take note of the SIM card size your phone uses: nano or micro.

2. Remember where you place your Singaporean telco SIM card to avoid the hassle of having to deal with paperwork.

3. Most smartphones these days require a pin to unlock the SIM tray. Not all prepaid SIM packages include them (especially in Asia), so remember to carry when you travel.

4. Be prepared to wait in line at the airport as there will be other tourists who opt for local prepaid SIM cards as well. You can also purchase online but claiming your reservation at the airport stall may require queuing up, too.

WiFi ROUTER FROM CHANGI AIRPORT 

Renting a WiFi router when travelling overseas is the best option for families and those travelling in groups. It can connect multiple devices, and you can split the bill for the rental and usage fees.

Changi Airport's WiFi router rental is priced at $5 to $12 daily.

You can check your bank and favourite merchants for partnerships with Changi Airport WiFi Router rental promo codes.

DATA ROAMING PACKAGES FROM SINGAPOREAN TELCOS

This option is the easiest to set up because avoids the hassle of having to set up a new SIM card.

Photo: Shopback

1. M1: DATA PASSPORT

M1 allows users to deduct from their local data plans when travelling with Data Passport. It is paid with an $2 activation fee and a monthly fee:

  • $10 for single destinations to countries like Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, and Hong Kong
  • $25 for single destinations to countries Italy, Japan, South Korea, and China
  • $50 for 29 countries in Europe
  • $50 for 23 countries in Asia

2. STARHUB: DATATRAVEL

StarHub's DataTravel Plan works in New Zealand, Australia, Philippines, Hong Kong, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia, China, Japan, and Macau:

  • $15 for DataTravel 2GB, valid for 30 days
  • $20 for DataTravel 3GB, valid for 30 days
  • $9 to $50 per day for DataTravel Unlimited plan, available for 120 countries

3. STARHUB: HAPPY ROAM 

This is the option for those using other postpaid service providers. Happy Roam Data Plan is available in prepaid SIM cards priced at $15, $30, and $50. It can be loaded depending on need:

  • $5 for 1GB, valid for 3 days
  • $7 for 1GB, valid for 7 days
  • $10 for 1.2GB, valid for 30 days
  • $15 for 2.4GB, valid for 30 days
  • $20 for 3.6GB, valid for 30 days

4. SINGTEL: DATAROAM UNLIMITED DAILY 

DataRoam from Singtel charges $19 to $29 daily for unlimited data roaming.

5. SINGTEL: READYROAM 

A flat fee from $12 to $35 gets you 1GB of data roaming for 30 days in multiple countries with Singtel's ReadyRoam plan. It may not be too much but it could be a good option for backpackers.

There you have them - your data plan options for your travel endeavours. Now, it's your choice! There's nothing stopping you from staying updated and connected when you're overseas.

This article was first published in Shopback

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