Traveling to Europe with iPhone

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by musiclvr, Jul 7, 2014.

  1. musiclvr macrumors member

    Oct 4, 2011
    Going to Europe (Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, France) for 3 weeks in September and trying to decide on the best data plan for my phone.

    I was going to do the SIM card thing but from what I've been seeing, the AT&T global add-on plans are just as cheap (maybe even cheaper than an international SIM). And a LOT less hassle with not having to switch SIM cards in every country.

    From what I can tell, using the international SIM card from telestial, data costs $0.39/MB. With the AT&T Global Add-on plan, I can get 800MB for $120 which comes out to $0.15/MB. Does that seem right or am I missing something?

    Then I can get 30 travel minutes for $30 and 50 messages for $10. Getting all of that for $160 seems like a pretty decent deal to me...what do you think? Is this a better option than getting an international SIM card?

    The only thing I'm worried about is going over the 800MB limit. I plan to use the data sparingly..mainly for directions (Google maps, Viamichelin, etc) and possibly a few emails to contact hotels, etc. Do you think 800MB is enough for 3 weeks?
  2. EDH667 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 25, 2009
    Northern California
    My wife and I rarely use more than 300mb total on a mobile share plan each month. If you are carful and watch your data counter 800MB should be fine for three weeks.
  3. palmerc2 macrumors 68000


    Feb 29, 2008
    Los Angeles
    Ironically, I too am going to Europe in September for 3 1/2 weeks.....England, Sweden, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Austria, and Germany. I personally am going to backpack it.

    I don't have an answer for you, as when I travel I like to be disconnected from my devices. I'm fine with just connecting to wifi here and there mainly just to keep family in the know of what I'm doing. Rick Steves has good information on the best way to communicate in Europe.

    As a travel side note, I'd recommend checking out general travel tips by Rick Steves. I'd recommend getting a book and / or looking at his website with videos....he's a wealth of information. I've found a lot of good info in his book "Europe Through The Back Door"

    Have fun on your trip :D
  4. Globug macrumors 6502


    Mar 16, 2012
    Brisbane Australia
    if you've got 160$ to chuck out go for it. Usually a sim card in europe costs like 20$ and has at least 1 gig data on it, and unlimited texting and calling. It would work across countries as well. But hey, i could be wrong, but that is usually what i do when i travel in europe.
  5. jafingi macrumors 65816


    Apr 3, 2009
    If you're using data, you'd probably be better of buying a prepaid card with data in each country. $120 for 800MB is expensive IMO. I live in Denmark, Europe, and get 10GB data, unlimited texting and 3 hour calling for $14/mo.

    Data is pretty cheap in Europe, and if you buy it in the specific country, it will cost you about $14 for 1GB data. There are many deals out there. Just go to a tele store when arriving (I have good experience with O2), and you can also get some cheap sims with international calling and texting.
  6. mich070 macrumors regular

    Oct 22, 2013
    He is completly right man! In Europe data is really cheap, I am from Luxembourg and I travelled also through a lot of countries for monthes and i was always buying there their cards woth special deals. I was mostly more lucky woth vodafone, and it s not really worth in my opinion to pay 120 bucks for this.. Quiet expensive in my opinion :/. But u have to know :), in a lot of places u even have wifi, and the with these deals u can come alonge with their data plans + text messages and calling!
  7. bigchrisfgb macrumors 65816

    Jan 24, 2010
    Why didn't you take the advice that was given to you on your first thread?
  8. Martin81 macrumors regular


    Oct 14, 2013
    Depending on your iPhone buying a local Prepaid card would be much cheaper. If you need a nano sim it's a bit tricky. You usually can't buy them in the supermarket.

    In Germany you get 500MB for 10€ (duration: 30 days, speed: 7.2MB/s 3G) with both leading carrier.
    An idea could be to use this local sim card and use Roaming in the other EU countries. As of July 1st 2014 there are new Roaming prices. If you choose to use no data package and ''pay as you use'', it costs 0.23€ per MB.
    Only problem: some german carriers prohibit roaming in the first 6 weeks after activating a new sim card.
  9. catean macrumors 6502


    Jun 16, 2013
    Timisoara, Romania
    From my oppinion (living in UK an traveling a lot in europe every month) just take the 160$ offer and enjoy the fact that you can easily change countries and networks without hasle. 160$ is about 100 Pound and that is reasonable for 3 weeks roaming on another continent. 800 MB will be more than enough if you used it from you phone and don't tether or stream music/videos.
  10. b.c. macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2008
    I just came back from 1 week in Germany + 1 week in Austria. I have an unlocked iPhone 5. FYI here is my experience with prepaid local SIMs in those 2 countries:

    1) Germany -
    I bought a pre-paid SIM from an electronics store (Capi) in the Munich airport upon arrival. 19.99 euro for a starter kit which included SIM card and preloaded 9.99 credit. has a 9.90euro "Internet flat 1GB"/30days prepaid data plan which the store clerk (supposedly) set up for me, by entering a bunch of codes via SMS. They only had a micro-SIM card in the kit, so the store clerk used a cutter to provide a nanoSIM. Voice calls cost 9cent/min, and 9cent/SMS, but in my case I was only interested in the prepaid data package.

    Note: has no English info on their website or in any of their documentation. All the activation info done via phone or SMS is in German. I couldn't have activated the 1GB plan by myself, and frankly the guy in the store seemed rushed and not so helpful. So I ran into a problem after leaving the store - it seems I didn't wait long enough for activation to go through before starting to use wireless data. So my initial data usage was charged pay-per-MB (1st 10MB free, but 0.24c/MB thereafter), and I accidentally used up a few cents of my original 9.99 credit. When it came time for the 9.90 plan to get deducted, my prepaid balance was just below 9.90! so the plan couldn't activate and instead I got an error message via SMS.

    Later I realized I needed to top-up to have enough credit balance to activate the 9.90 1GB plan, and with help of the hotel front-desk clerk I was able to do so (unfortunately this mistake cost me an additional top-up, 15euro was the smallest I could find at the nearby grocery store). After that, I was online with 1GB data. I have to say however that even in Munich, wireless coverage on blau sometimes seemed spotty, I would sometimes drop to Edge speeds on the blau network.

    anyhow, if you are careful to wait for activation to go through properly and have someone help you set up the plan, 19.90 gets you SIM card plus 1GB of data that's good for 30 days. I didn't have my laptop with me on this trip otherwise I probably could have used Chrome and auto-translation to do everything via the website.

    2) Austria - A1
    things went a LOT smoother in Austria. In Vienna I went to an A1 shop (there seem to be many, many retail A1 shops, everywhere). For 9.90 euro I got the "" welcome package with 1GB free data preloaded (valid 12 months) on a nano-SIM. There is a similar voice+sms+data welcome package, but I got the internet data-only version.

    it was a simple matter to install the SIM, enter the SIM PIN code and then I was up and running with 1GB of data, no other special configuration needed. speeds on A1 in Austria were much better than I experienced with blau in Germany (speeds on A1 were also better than my hotel's wifi!)

    in summary, ignoring my mistake requiring an extra 15euro top-up on, the cost for 2GB data in the 2 countries was 28.89euro - about U$40. very, very convenient and worthwhile.

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