Missing Cell Service - Traveling without Cell Phone Data

First World problems and all of that, the reality is that sometimes we miss having cell service. We live in an amazing age of smartphones and free high speed WiFi. It makes travel so much easier! But it also makes us very dependent on instant communication and directions at our fingertips.

So far we haven't had to get a local sim card for a data plan. We have unlocked phones just in case, but we've been making do with free wi-fi at restaurants, cafes, and airports. It's made checking into AirBnB's or calling an uber a little more challenging, but we've been doing okay. Many airports have free WiFi if you sign up and give them your name and email address. I also have a Priority Pass through my Chase Sapphire Reserve card, so we're able to go to lounges and use the WiFi provided.

Back home, I rarely used my phone to call but I did use it a lot for driving directions and traffic updates–especially in Orlando near I4! When we check into our AirBnB's our hosts have been telling us to call them if we have any questions or need help. When we let them know that we don't have a local number and can only contact while on WiFi, they've seemed surprised. I guess a lot of people must get a local plan when they're traveling.

Update November 14, 2018

After a few months in, we ended up getting our first local sim card in Italy. Pre-paid plans have been fairly reasonable, and some plans have sign-up bonuses which include additional free data. It is definitely doable to travel without a local sim card – people were traveling the world long before GPS or smartphones were around. We ended up needing the data to help with our business, but have enjoyed the ease of using it navigate each new city we visit.

What do you do when you travel? Let us know in the comments!


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