For most young people texting, calling and data is very important. Back when I was an exchange student calling and texting were extremely expensive but now you have a ton of options to choose from. Let’s talk about what SIM-Card you should get for America.
What SIM-Card did I choose?
When I was an exchange student, I had a few options to choose from:
- national SIM-Card from your home country
- the SIM-Card from the exchange company
- an American carrier
In the first few months, I got a phone with a plan from my host parents which I used until I noticed that my host parents blocked numbers and read through my text messages regularly. Don’t ask me why they read through my messages but they did and I decided to not use their phone and their plan anymore.
The national SIM-Card from Germany.
Let’s talk about the options I had. Well back in 2010/2011, the carriers charged extreme amounts of money – they still do charge a lot to this day – when you used/use their SIM-Card in foreign countries. Back then this was not an option and I talked to my parents that I am only going to use this SIM-Card in emergency cases.
The SIM-Card from the exchange company.
The exchange company gave us some information about a SIM-Card they recommended to us but I was skeptical because they charged a “lot” for basically not much service.
An American carrier.
I chose the third option because I had the most freedom on what plan I choose and what the monthly cost would be. In the end, I paid $50 for unlimited texting and unlimited calling.
Americans mostly depend on text messages for communication. That is a fact. Everybody is constantly texting or iMessaging, no one wants to talk on the phone – if they don’t have to – which was irritating for me. They send me weird abbreviations like “ttyl” (talk to you later) or “cu” (see you). I knew that you could text someone but in Germany, you had to pay per message you send and sometimes even for messages you received. I needed to understand that they communicated that way and I had to adapt to the way the communicated. Hands why I chose the unlimited plan for texting.
What SIM-Card should you get for America?
Nowadays people in other countries use WhatsApp, Telegram, WeChat, FaceTime, etc. to communicate but this also means you need a data plan to do so. Or you use the WIFI from your host parents. Even though you could just use the WIFI you are not at home most of the time. This means you don’t have the option to reply or call someone when you are on the go.
Since my family and I are in the US regularly we have tried a couple of things.
- an American Carrier
- SIM-Card from Amazon
When I am in the US I went to an American Carrier and picked up a Prepaid SIM-Card since I thought that this was the only option I had. For those interested, I use T-Mobile because in the area I am in its reliable and the price was ok as well. (I thought!) T-Mobile charged me $40 for 10 GB high-speed internet or $50 for “unlimited”. Both plans include unlimited texting and talking. The $40 plan was good for me so I chose that one and it worked perfectly well for me. There is an option for AT&T as well, which you can find here.
The option I take when I am in the US
My parents did not want to pay that much for their vacation trips to the US which meant we needed to find an alternative. We found a prepaid SIM-Card on Amazon for 18,18 € with 5 GB of high-speed internet and unlimited texting and talking. Which worked perfectly fine for them and I think it would work perfectly fine for most of you. This is the price for 30 days once you activated the SIM-Card. You can recharge the SIM-Card, which is great especially for exchange students. For under 20 € you can use your phone as you used to at home. For more information click here. (Amazon-Affiliate)
Of course, you can bring your phone with you. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you can use your phone in foreign countries. Check with your carrier at home if your phone is “unlocked”. Sometimes the carriers lock the phone so only they can provide you service on your phone. This sucks but this could cause you some trouble if you did not check before. The second thing you should check is if your phone supports the frequencies American carriers use. Otherwise, you might not be getting service from the carrier which means you can not receive/send calls, texts, or data.
I hope this gives you the answer to which SIM-Card you should get for America. In the end, it comes down to if you want to pay the premium for the American Carrier SIM-Card or not and use the Amazon SIM-Card. We are using the Amazon SIM-Card and it works well for us. Keep in mind, depending on your location that might be different.