Traveling in Europe - How to stay connected?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by macquariumguy, Mar 12, 2015.

  1. macquariumguy macrumors 6502a

    Jan 7, 2002
    Sarasota FL
    I hope this is a reasonable place to ask this question. My wife and I are taking a long European vacation this summer. We have a few communications needs that I'd like to know how I'll deal with long before we get there.

    What we want.
    - to be able to 'phone home'
    - to have cellular internet access
    - to have GPS

    What we've got right now are a couple iPhone 6 handsets (under contract to AT&T), but I was thinking of buying a new iPad Air2 w/cellular. If I do that, will I be able to buy a SIM once we're there, pop it in my iPad, and have internet that also could be used for Skype and GPS maps? Am I correct in thinking our phones are effectively locked out for the trip when there's no WiFi?

    We are going to mostly be in France, but also a week in Florence and a week in Austria and several days in England at the beginning and end. Will have a rental car for a few weeks in the middle so need the GPS.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. leenak macrumors 68020

    Mar 10, 2011
    So this is something you should ask your cellular provider. Looks like AT&T has some info here:

    I went to Italy last year and set up an international plan with Verizon and basically I had all the functionality of my phone that I have at home. You could also do something similar with your iPad but not sure how that'd work (we also bought an iPad mini specifically for the trip, it was great, I had stored maps and info on it)
  3. webbuzz macrumors 68000


    Jul 24, 2010

    At the very least, you should have International roaming activated on your iPhones. That doesn't mean you have to use your iPhones, but they will at least work.

    If you want to use your iPhones for voice and data, ask if AT&T will unlock them, then use a prepaid SIM. doubt they will, but it never hurts to ask.

    If you want to use your iPhones with Wi-Fi only:
    -turn off cellular roaming
    -turn off cellular data
    -to be extra certain, enable airplane mode, then turn Wi-Fi on.

    iPad Air 2
    The good news is iPads are not locked to to a carrier, you have two options.

    1) Pay for roaming with AT&T (expensive)
    2) Buy prepaid SIM, which is what I would do.

    I did the same as leenak and have used my iPhone using AT&T's International plan.
  4. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    GPS is free so you don't need to worry about that. You can download offline maps if you were data stuck.

    I'd recommend you buy a UK SIM card with the network Three and use your iPad as a hotspot. They allow free roaming (data, voice, minutes) in many places aronud Europe (and the world) including France, Austria and Italy.

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3 March 12, 2015