One of our most frequently questions is in regards to mobile phones and how to use your own in Europe. Luckily, technology has advanced from the days of prepaid long-distance phone cards and there are options for everybody. Even for people like me, the lady who's increasingly searching out the youngest person in the room for help with anything vaguely new in technology because young people know these things!
Our favorite option for using your phone in the EU is a digital sim card. We like Airalo for how easy it is to install and how great the connection is. The sim card gets downloaded into your unlocked phone and connects to local networks. We rely on this heavily for navigation and keeping in contact with everybody. While connected to the EU network, you won't be able to use your regular messenger or phone number but you can use WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger for calls and texts. Once you get back to WIFI you can hop back on your regular number to make internet calls and check your messages. Airalo is not only easy, but it's inexpensive. Data packs start at just $4.50 for a week's worth of data!
Another option for travelers is to contact your mobile carrier and find out what they have to offer for international data plans. We used to do this but we were using too much data and it wasn't very fast or reliable. Using google maps or the internet to look up restaurants really puts a dent in the data-budget and we found we were purchasing more data and the cost was over $100 in the end.
If your phone is a bit older, you may be in need of a physical sim card. You can purchase one before you go (a bit more expensive) or find one once you arrive (sometimes a bit of a hassle.) The nice young people at the store help to install it and get you going (Priceless!).
Since I've started writing this post I'm guessing everything mentioned in it is already obsolete. If you have any updated methods or advice for using your cell phone in Italy, please share in the comments. (I'm looking at you, young people of the world!)
(To the left are a few of the amazing places our data and gps have taken us to!)