Travelling abroad? Here are some ‘sim’ple solutions

Travelling, experiencing various cultures and making new acquaintances are some of the reasons one goes to different places. You come back with so many memories and stories to relive and tell. But then you always leave behind relatives – mainly parents and siblings – who you want to stay in touch with when you travel.

While travelling within the country, you are easily accessible on your phone, but when you travel overseas, you will have to be careful and keep a tab on your phone bill as well.

During my first-ever overseas visit – to Hong Kong in 2017 – I got a matrix sim card from Bangalore for phone calls and internet. It cost me about INR 2,500. As a result, I did not bother to enquire about the local sim cards available at the Hong Kong International Airport.

Pramod at Galle Green Face, Colombo © Journo Travellers

On my next trip, which was to Sri Lanka, I opted for Airtel’s international roaming pack that cost me INR 3,000. But Sakshi upon our arrival at the Colombo airport snooped around a little bit and found very cheap sim cards.

She took the cheapest one that cost LKR 700 (Roughly INR 350) – it was more than a bargain. What’s more, is that her connection worked much better than mine and she didn’t hold back in rubbing it in every single time.

Hence, it is always advisable that you go to the airport and buy a sim card. If you travel there on international roaming, you will end up paying a bomb and if there are connectivity issues, it will add to your frustrations.

Here are some of the sim cards we tried during our trips abroad, which might help you as well:

Dialog, Sri Lanka: After you collect your baggage at the Bandaranaike International Airport, you will find many kiosks selling sim cards from different companies. After asking around, we found Dialog to be the most reasonable. We paid LKR 700, but we made sure that we got only the internet pack as we did not want to make phone calls.

Galle, Sri Lanka © Journo Travellers

With apps like WhatsApp and Viber you really don’t need to make phone calls, instead, you can take a larger data pack and use that to make phone calls through those apps.

The other widely bought sim card by travellers in Sri Lanka is Mobitel. You can check the latest plans here.

Tune Talk, Malaysia: Although we had pre-booked the sim through Klook app, by the time we landed in Langkawi, Malaysia, the kiosk was shut. As a result, we had to buy 5GB, 7 days pack MYR 25, which was a good rate.

We had a great connection throughout the trip and never faced any issues while surfing or also while booking a cab with the Grab app.

Kuala Lumpur Skyline © Journo Travellers

While Tune Talk remains one of the most reasonable options, the other providers that are famous among travellers in Malaysia are Maxis and Celcom.

Ooredoo, Maldives: This time we decided to take two sim cards with different plans. While I took the 17GB plan, costing 20 USD, Sakshi decided to take a USD 15 sim card, which had a data plan of 4GB. As it turned out, we didn’t even exhaust 4GB, despite Sakshi’s sister eating up a lot of data through hotspot.

The other service provider in the Maldives with the same kind of package is Dhiraagu. We were told that for a stay of like a couple of days, Dhiraagu’s data packages are better. For bigger data packages, you must opt for Ooredoo as it is more reasonable.

The ‘hotspot fight’s’ candidates © Journo Travllers

There are very few places on Maldivian local islands that will provide with Wi-FI. Even if they do, don’t expect the speed to be great. This stands intact for fancy resort islands as well. Hence, the internet in the country has been expensive, although it is believed to have gotten cheaper in the last year or so.

In order to save money, don’t wait to buy a local sim from Male or Hulhumale or the local islands, you great deals at the Velana International Aiport that has plenty of kiosks selling sim cards

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