Having a foreign SIM card is a great idea for any traveller staying in Italy for a week or longer, it lets you call and text the group you’re traveling with, organize plans easier and takes away from the stress of being un-contactable. When you’re planning your trip, be aware that if you’re traveling internationally from America or Australia, the international plans with your home carrier will likely be very expensive and we all know that they come with those hidden costs that you weren’t expecting. When you buy an Italian SIM card, you are still getting all the services you would get from your carrier at home (calls, texts, and data usage), but an Italian carrier will be providing them. And the best part about it is… you can still use the phone you bought at home! For the majority of phones, a SIM card is easy to take in and out of your phone, and doing so does not affect any of your phone settings. The only thing that will change with a new SIM card is your phone number.And if you have a phone with space for 2 SIM card it’s even easier!
How to buy a SIM card in Italy
Although the thought of changing your SIM card can be intimidating at the start but don’t let that stop you, follow these tips and the process will be a breeze!
#1 Unlock your phone!
Before coming to Italy, make sure you have checked that your phone is unlocked from your home service provider. If you have purchase your phone with a specific provider they may have locked the SIM card to their provider. Therefore, before you travel, make sure to head over to your service provider and ask them to unlock your phone so that you can use it internationally.
#2 Check what plan you need
When you’re deciding what service provider you may need, you need to decide what plan you will need. Do you need 100 texts? Do you need to call internationally? You decide! In Italy the cell phone carriers provide a wide range of packages including specific travel packages so make sure you decide what package you need.
#3 Know the cell phone providers
In Italy there is a range of service providers including; Vodafone, WIND, TIM & Three who provide plans depending on your needs. Before you come to Italy make sure to check out the different plans that the companies provide so you know what company to visit once you get here.
#4 Find the service provider!
Welcome to Italy! Find the provider you have determined you will purchase a SIM card with – this is when your hard work plays off because you won’t have to visit the different stores. Pro tip: don’t buy a SIM card at the airport. Although it may seem like the easiest plan to buy your card when you arrive, don’t be fooled – the prices are normally much higher than you should pay. If you’re worried about getting to the city center – don’t worry! It’s extremely easy to get from the airport to Termini train station (Rome’s main train station) either by public transport or transfer service which will take away any of that stress.
Once you’re in Termini station, there are many service providers within the station on the first and second levels. Otherwise, when you’re in the city center, there are many stores on Via Del Corso (the main shopping street) and in the surrounding streets. Pop into the store and ask for the plan that you would like, but be sure you know what you’re paying for. Companies usually offer plans that allow you to “pay-as-you-go,” or pay a flat rate for a set amount of calls, texts, add data which makes it perfect for travelling.
#5 Put in your new SIM card:
The provider you purchased the SIM card with should be able to do this for you if you would like. Be mindful of the fact that it may take a few hours for your new SIM card to activate once it’s installed. It is VERY important that you keep your old SIM card somewhere safe as you may need it during your travels and of course you will need it once you return home!
Now you should be set with your fully functioning phone! No more worrying about getting lost in Rome’s busy streets, you will now have no problem in keeping in touch with everyone!