As a full-time traveler, staying connected is one of my biggest hassles around the world.
I always have to purchase a new SIM and a new data plan when I get to a new country. And then inevitably, I can't translate any of the texts they send me, use it all up, run out and am stuck without a map when I need it. Way to go, self.
The worst thing that's ever happened to me while running out of cell data was quite a disaster.
Once upon a time, I took a ride share from Milan to Geneva with some lovely French people who didn't speak English. And I apparently didn't speak enough French. I occupied myself by staring out the window and checking the map on my phone. Little did I know that I was burning data like nobody's business. So I eventually ran out. I also was running out of battery simultaneously. I was in the red zone. The danger zone. And, on top of that, my spare battery charger wasn't working. Because when it rains, it pours.
So, we're trying to communicate with Google Translate which decided to lose it's mind that day because it was utter nonsense. Then they randomly decide where the drop-off point is going to be and I stupidly assume that since I paid for this service to drop me off in Geneva, that's where it'll be. Well, no. Turns out it was on the side of the road in France. Not only the wrong city, the wrong country. On a Sunday. On a holiday. And, on a government holiday. No buses were running. Luckily one of the other stranded passengers had a ride that took us around the border of Switzerland and dropped us off in a small southern village. I then had to maneuver myself all the way north to Geneva with no maps, no local currency, and an appalling lack of French fluency. Just living the dream.
Moral of the story: Running out of cellular data when you're traveling can really get you in a pickle!
Which brings us to why I've been endlessly searching for a global SIM that you don't have to switch out in every country because it works everywhere. Can such a magical thing exist? And tadaa, Forbesfone appeared! "Change countries, not SIM cards."
There's a Talk Plan for calls, sms and internet all combined.
Heads up, I was provided the item for my review.
And a Data Plan for mobile internet only.
Also, they offer a mobile wifi zone called Pebble.
It's really easy to set up, it literally only takes a few minutes for you to log in and activate the SIM online. Then you just put it in your phone and it's good to go! Bonus: you can view your balance and add on however much money you want very easily as well.
I tried out this little miracle while traveling in very rural Turkey (literally on the beach) and it worked like a charm. I had 5 bars of cell service available in less than one second and lightning fast internet. Yay technology.
The website is very user-friendly and pretty sleek-looking. It's a breeze to log in, view your balance and top up. You can even utilize the auto top-up feature so your data will add itself on automagically so you'll never run out! Can't get much simpler than that. And you also have the option of switching from data to cellular and back again if you want - no need to buy a new sim, instead you just easily change your plan. It's all so simple!
Disclaimer: I was provided the service at no cost in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
The rates are pretty sweet at only $0.11 per megabyte. Granted, global data rates may be a tad more expensive than purchasing local SIMs, (as it is with all international plans), but you're paying for the convenience and ease of use as well. Not to mention safety, security and peace of mind. You can't even be sure a local SIM will work (trust me on that) and good luck trying to get any customer support on a pre-paid plan that you bought a month ago in another shop in another city. Really. You may as well talk to the wall.
ForbesFone has a live chat available so you can always get help if you need it. And they are really nice. Which makes me happy.
And, for those travel hackers out there, they even offer a FREE loyalty program where you can earn more credit with top ups and redeem the points with airlines and hotels. I know that makes some of you drool.