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How to Save Money Overseas with a Traveller SIM card

Using your phone overseas with the Tellink Traveller SIM

Holiday hangover

I’m not talking the alcohol variety here but the financial kind. Have you ever been on holiday and come back to a nasty phone bill? How about £260 from Tunisia or £95 from India? Pretty painful isn’t it? Maybe you thought those few texts wouldn’t cost much but you could be surprised by how much those innocent little messages to your pals mount up to.

If you don’t want another big bill, you may want to consider a Traveller SIM card as an alternative to using your normal SIM.

Introducing the TELLINK Traveller SIM Card

The Tellink Traveller SIM offers a service which aims to save on international roaming charges whether it be text, phone or data.

To create savings, Tellink use a callback technology which replaces the outgoing call by an incoming call to your phone which then connects you with your dialled number.

The Traveller SIM also offers discounted text and data facilities compared to roaming on your normal plan, plus a number of other benefits as follows.

The benefits

  • Up to 90% off global roaming charges
  • Free incoming calls in over 60 countries (remember when roaming on your contract you would normally pay a fee simply for receiving a call. No such charge applies using the Traveller SIM card)
  • Free incoming SMS worldwide
  • Cost management as the card is pre-paid so no unexpected bills

Getting set up

To get started using the SIM you need to follow a number of steps.

Step one: unlock your phone

Most importantly, you need to make sure that you unlock your phone before travelling. If you are on a contract, most providers will lock the phone to prevent you switching the SIM. Cynics amongst us might say it is a ploy to rip us off on overseas charges. In fact, what the hell, what other reason could it be?

To unlock, you can contact your telephony company to investigate costs or there are a ton of companies online who will do this for you. I used Giffgaff to unlock an old blackberry paying just £4.52. You will need your IMIE number to do this and good eyesight or a magnifying glass. That number is the tiniest lettering EVER and is usually found on the back of your device or under the battery.

Step two: set up internet data roaming

You will need to set up access to internet roaming by inserting the details provided in the instruction booklet. In short, in the APN settings, you insert the following details:

  • Mobile network: mobinternet.be
  • User Name: leave empty
  • Password: leave empty

If you struggle to find the APN settings as we did, I recommend simply googling APN and your phone model to find out how to change the settings. The instructions do not (understandably) provide an explanation for every phone type.

In our case, we simply entered ‘Changing the APN settings on Blackberry Curve’ and this returned a video that we used to change the settings to allow text and Internet access.

Step three: change your phone settings

Next you need to decide whether to allow roaming when not connected to wifi. In this day and age, when virtually every hotel, coffee bar, McDonald’s, bar and restaurant offers free internet, I find it unnecessary to allow data roaming when mobile.

Obviously, it is your choice but you will clearly burn through your credit quicker if you do allow roaming unprompted. We disabled roaming given that we were in Canada and were never far from a hotspot. Tough as it might be, I really can cope without Twitter or Facebook for a few hours (admittedly with a few withdrawal symptoms at first!).

Canadian communications

If you still need convincing as to why you should purchase a Traveller SIM, let me share with you how we made use of the Traveller SIM whilst trialling the card on our recent trip to Canada.

Getting around

We were travelling between multiple locations in Quebec province and have a consistent habit of getting lost on our road trips. Frankly I prefer to avoid driving around in circles as it makes me grumpy and there is simply no need in the 21st century with the plethora of available apps to guide you.

You can use Google Maps or similiar to give you real time directions akin to using a sat nav by instead using your phone. In my experience, most car rental companies do not offer in built sat nav preferring instead to sell you rental of a device which can be pricey. We were offered one for $8 (around £4) a day which doesn’t sound much but add it up for the duration of our trip and it’s over £60. I could buy one for less than that!

Using roaming options and your Traveller SIM card, you can self navigate for €0.57 cents per MB in Canada. Travelling from Tremblant to our spa resort in Esterel we once again managed to get lost, so out came the phone, on came the roaming and we managed to successfully navigate to our destination.

Making phone calls

Ok, so even apps are not infallible and we somehow still managed to get lost on another woodland journey. In our defence, we were driving through an unlit forest, on icy roads in the pitch black, without the comfort of a 4WD. I am capable of reading a map…honest!

Sometimes you just have to call, and when the conversation is along the lines of, ‘can you give me some directions but I don’t actually know where I am…‘ it might not be a quick call.

Of course, there’s tons of reasons you might need to make a call. You may want to confirm a reservation, book a dinner slot or tour, make arrangements with friends or simply keep in touch with loved ones and you don’t want to be hit with huge charges on your return. That’s when having a Traveller SIM is pretty reassuring!

Texting

I generally find that I keep in touch with family back home mainly by texting or Facebook messenger. However, not everyone I know is on Facebook and for some of our family, text is the only way to stay in touch. Even text costs can soon add up though, particularly as many contracts even charge you to receive a text!

Below are some typical costs of a text for UK residents travelling in Canada:

3 Mobile – 35p

Orange – 50p

O2 – 49p

Source: Which

Using the Tellink Traveller SIM, the cost works out as follows.

Costs for the Tellink Traveller SIM
Costs for the Tellink Traveller SIM
Just a flat €0.35 per text!
The website also offers you an handy tool to work out the costs for your planned destinations using the Traveller SIM calculator.
Calculate your roaming charges with the Tellink Traveller SIM

Social media

I couldn’t possibly write this post and not mention social media. After all, you millennials only EVER seem to communicate using social media (why do you message your pals on social media whilst you are actually with them?!) but even us ‘oldies’ are getting in on the act, if only to brag about where we are enjoying a cocktail/beer/wine on our latest holiday.

If you are taken by the urge to update your Facebook or Twitter and simply cannot wait until you get back to your room, then this roaming card will be a godsend. If your parents are paying your bill, they will also be grateful for the SIM card. That way you young uns’ simply have to stick to your communication budget.

As you can see above, the data charges are as low as €0.59 per MB from Thailand or €0.79 from Canada. I don’t really recommend using the card like this for the reasons already mentioned but if you cannot resist the urge, go ahead.

The lowdown

So what are the start-up costs? To obtain your SIM you pay a one off charge of €25 which includes an amazing €10 of credit. This compares especially well with one competitor charging €28 whilst offering only a paltry €3 of credit.

You can then top up online whenever you need to with as little as €10. You simply enter your phone number and PUK code (found on the Traveller SIM card packaging) to access your account and then select the amount by which you wish to top up as follows.

Logging on to the Tellink Traveller SIM website

Topping up your Tellink Traveller SIM cardComparing the costs

Obviously using the Traveller SIM card is just one of your options for roaming abroad. You could use your normal phone, an international SIM for the country of your choice, a pre-paid phone card or the hotel phones. The following table shows you a quick comparison of these options so you can make an informed decision

Your options Phone Text Internet Notes
Use your normal phone Yes Yes Yes Subject to higher international charges
Use the hotel phone Yes No No Expensive and immobile!
Use the TELLINK Traveller SIM card Yes Yes Yes
Buy a phone card Yes No No Inconvenience of finding a phone card and phone box
Use accommodation wifi Only via Skype or similiar Only via Facebook messenger or similiar Yes Limited to use in your accommodation

One international SIM card offers better charges, however the downside is that some SIM cards are not portable between countries meaning you could lose any unused credit once you leave the country. Some plans even have expiry dates on them so if you are an infrequent traveller you could find yourself repeatedly wasting money.

Neither Tellink’s Traveller SIM, nor the credit you buy, expire so even if you only travel two or three times a year, it is still worthwhile. Ours is now safely locked away in the safe with our passports ready for our next overseas adventure.

using the Tellink Traveller SIM in Canada

Beware also of the small print, as one site I checked operated a range of different charges depending on exactly which state you were in and where you were calling.

Beware of hidden charges on Traveller SIM cards
These hidden charges could prove costly! The Tellink Traveller SIM card may not always be the cheapest but it is certainly convenient, as once you purchase and set it up, there is nothing further for you to do on future trips, other than to keep track of your spending. Speaking of which…

Tracking your spending

Logging on as above, you can quickly view the credit used. This was a real eye opener for me as I simply could not believe that with the amount of texts we had sent we had used less than €2 of credit. I was half expecting to find we had blown through our credit in no time, so it was a pleasant surprise indeed!

TRacking your charges with the Tellink Traveller SIM

Checking your balance on the Tellink Traveller SIM

Verdict

Clearly I am not a prolific telephone user overseas, mainly because on this trip I am travelling with my husband. When I travel to India alone, my phone usage increases dramatically due to ongoing contact with my beloved, and for this reason alone I’m super excited about the potential for the Traveller SIM card.

I have bags of credit left after using it without any care for cost for 11 days straight. I’ve plans to visit France in April, Italy later in the summer and the Philippines in the autumn (although I may find time to sneak in some extra trips in between times!) and will be certainly be putting the Traveller SIM card to the test again!

In the meantime, I would encourage you to try it for yourself and see how much you can save. Click here to purchase your Traveller SIM for just €25. Remember, this includes €10 of free credit and free delivery worldwideBuying a Tellink Traveller SIM

Get involved

If you have any queries about the card, please drop them in the box below and I will aim to answer asap. Alternatively, if you have ever used something like this and would like to share your experience, that would be fabulous too. Your comments (good or bad) make our day!

Tellink Traveller SIM

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save money overseas with a Traveller SIM

Disclaimer: this is a sponsored post including affiliate links for the Tellink Traveller SIM card. All views are our own however and completely unedited. We would not recommend a product we had not used (and benefitted from) ourselves! As a true Yorkshire lass, honesty is something I hold in high regard!

About Anne

Anne is the founder and editor of TravelTheGlobe4Less. If she isn't travelling, she is thinking of travelling or planning her next trip. She has visited over 80 countries on six continents and sampled everything from backpacking to bank bursting travel. Her mission is to help you enjoy more luxurious travel without the luxury price tag through the use of airline and hotel rewards and other money saving travel tips

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6 comments

  1. Excellent information, Anne. Aye! Well done.

  2. Been looking for other options like this. Thanks for the informative review!

  3. This is a pretty good idea. I normally use a cheap phone and just buy a SIM card everywhere I visit. I’ll have to check this out.

    • I got caught out a few times so decided it was time to find a better way. Initial impressions are good. Heading to France next month so will be putting it to the test again!

  4. Ooo, this looks like a very tidy option! Thanks for the tip 🙂

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