With the advent of the smartphone, travelers now have access to the internet and its endless information at their fingertips. Disabled travelers in particular benefit from this constant connectivity. Cellular internet access allows the disabled and wheelchair travelers to research accessibility while on the go and to look up directions for public transportation with the Google Maps app.
Unfortunately, when traveling abroad, the cost of this connectivity is outrageous. Using the internet for just a few days can cost hundreds of dollars in international roaming charges.
Mobile phone providers like AT&T and Verizon do not offer an affordable way for travelers to use their smartphones abroad. Thankfully, there is another option.
Every smartphone has a SIM card. The SIM card identifies your phone to the cell towers and is your key to accessing a data network. SIM cards can be easily removed and are interchangeable. If your phone is out of contract and has been unlocked, you can purchase a temporary SIM card upon arrival in the country you are visiting and access the data network from your phone at a fraction of the cost.
Data usage that might cost you hundreds of dollars roaming internationally with your AT&T SIM card could be had for less than $10 with a SIM card local to the country you are visiting.
Don't want to remove the SIM card from your cell phone? Still have an in-contract and locked device that won't accept other SIM cards? Purchase an unlocked mobile hotspot and load the temporary SIM card into that. Your cell phone can connect to the mobile hotspot using wi-fi.
For more information, consult the following helpful links:
- Directory of mobile SIM cards available abroad - Costs, instructions and where to purchase
- Amazon: Huawei E5220s-6 Unlocked Mobile Hotspot (Worldwide) - Our recommendation