Best Buy offers unlocked phones for every traveler’s budget. They range from the basic, budget-friendly cell phone to unlocked Android phones. Here’s what you need to know if you’re planning to buy an unlocked phone for a travel.
I love traveling and I’ve learned a lot during my experiences abroad, especially how important it is to be well prepared before visiting a foreign country. If you’re a frequent traveler or planning an international trip, here’s a practical tip to remember: Buy an unlocked cell phone ahead of time. It’s sure to save you a lot of headache and some money.
Why? The obvious reason is that it is never smart to use your regular cell phone abroad as international roaming rates can be very expensive. Besides, if you own a smartphone and forget to turn data roaming off on your phone overseas (even if you don’t Web surf or check email the entire time), you could come home to an astronomical bill.
So…what is an unlocked cell phone?
When you buy a cell phone in the U.S, it is usually tied to your wireless carrier’s network.However, an unlocked cell phone comes with a SIM card slot, which makes it easy to use the phone with different carriers. This is ideal if you’re traveling overseas — you can simply buy a prepaid SIM card at the destination and insert it into your phone to start making calls at cheap local rates.
Travel tip: I’ve noticed that SIM card prices tend to be much higher at the airport so wait until you’re in the city before you buy a card.
Which unlocked cell phone to buy?
Here are some features to keep an eye out for when buying an unlocked cell phone for travel:
The first thing to look for is a GSM compatible cell phone as most of the countries in the world use the GSM network. GSM cell phone models come with a SIM card slot. If you’re an AT&T or T-Mobile subscriber, your cell phone is already using the GSM network. However, Verizon and Sprint run on a different CDMA network. CDMA phones may not work abroad as many don’t come with removable SIM cards and are not compatible with GSM technology.
2. Dual-band, tri-band or quad-band?
There are four GSM frequency bands– 850, 1900, 900 and 1800. Different countries support different bands. So it is important to check beforehand that your unlocked GSM phone supports the correct frequency, otherwise it will not work abroad. If you’re a frequent flyer, consider buying an unlocked quad-band cell phone, which will work almost anywhere in the world. Best Buy carries a selection of unlocked quad-band phones which are perfect for international travel.
Here’s a handy chart to help you figure out which frequency bands work in which country.
3. Basic phone or smartphone?
Best Buy offers unlocked phones for every traveler’s budget. They range from the basic, budget-friendly cell phone to unlocked Android phones. The choice is entirely up to you and depends on your travel needs and budget. If you like to check e-mail and Facebook on your trips then it might be worth investing in an unlocked smartphone.