By: Brandon Sousa
It’s the great debate among travellers: keep your mobile phone connect or unplug and embrace your vacation technology free.
I always opt for the connection! Here’s the thing: mobile phones are meant to make your life easier and with a variety of apps that can maximize my experience in a new destination, it’s a no-brainer to find a way to stay connected on my travels.
Apps like Google Translate that help me converse with locals. Or Uber, that help me safely get from one destination to another without getting ripped off. Or Google Maps, that help me find the perfect route to see those key attractions.
However, roaming on your own cell phone plan in many countries can cost more than the accommodations for your trip. So my friends at KnowRoaming decided to hand me a SIM card to test out their solution to this problem.
KnowRoaming is a Toronto-based technology company that offers affordable solutions for staying connected across 200+ countries and territories with rates up to 85% lower than typical carriers.
All you need to do is create an account, download their app, load up some dollars, pop in their SIM card and enable roaming. It’s that easy!
The Global SIM card is USD$9.99 which will get you started. Once you’re in a country, you can either roam by MB, or the smarter way, buy a high-speed data package.
There are two types of packages: first, unlimited data packages that run either 1 day or 3 days; second, long-term data packages of 1GB, 5GB or 20GB based on region. You buy and apply them right in the KnowRoaming app and a text message confirms when they are live and when you have run out.
I tested KnowRoaming in three countries: Sweden, Poland and Panama. The coverage was dependable 95% of the time, flipping between LTE and 3G, but never slow. That lacking 5% was probably due to switching local networks based on the signal strength and location.
In all three countries, despite the differing geography, KnowRoaming worked seamlessly. For iPhones, you do need to download the KnowRoaming profile to make sure it works, but all it takes is opening the app and hitting “Tap to Activate”.
For someone who travels as often as me, having KnowRoaming makes it easy to connect as soon as I land. I carry my SIM card with my passport and pop it in while I’m taxiing to the gate on board the plane. Sure beats paying absurd roaming rates or navigating a local SIM card in a language you don’t understand.