Ask The Producer: International Phone Usage

I’m traveling overseas for a shoot in Europe and Asia. What should I do about a phone? The international plan for my existing cell phone plan is just too expensive! 

I recommend using a second phone with local SIM cards for each of the countries you will visiting and keeping your primary phone with you for your trip. 

Ideally, you have an old iPhone that you can unlock (warning, this voids any warranty you may have on the device), but if not, you can also buy an inexpensive dual band phone that is factory-unlocked. I have an old iPhone 4 that I have unlocked for this purpose, but also have a trusty unfashionable, but very reliable Nokia with a battery that lasts for days. It’s not a sleek smartphone, but it gets the job done.  A few providers offer SIM cards that work with local numbers for multiple countries, so you may not even need to buy multiple SIM cards.

By having a second phone unlocked for international usage, you can keep your primary phone on for phone calls from your existing clients and contacts. Remember to turn off your cellular data to avoid exorbitant charges. Check with your mobile provider to see what international rates they offer, so you can be prepared for $2.00/min charges on in-coming calls and $.50 text messages.

Make sure to order your SIM cards before you leave the country, so you can activate them immediately upon landing.

Bon Voyage!

Additional Tip: Although it’s cheaper than a phone call, remember that text messages are not guaranteed, so don’t rely on texts for important communication.  That’s my policy on text messages in general - important info goes in an email or is communicated directly by conversation.