How to connect to the internet during a road trip in the States? Or maybe during a vacation in New York? If we are not in a European Country and the roaming can’t help us (at an affordable price), what do we do? The solution: the prepaid sim card USA for tourists.
With this solution, in fact, it’s super easy to have a connection available 24/7 so that, whenever you need to, you can call someone, you can browse and solve problems related to linguistic differences or logistical difficulties.
Here’s a practical guide with all the information you need to know and a comparison between the many possible solutions to navigate and call safely outside Europe.
Prepaid sim card USA for tourists: is it really the one and only solution?
Prepaid sim card USA for tourists, how does it work?
Once you bought it, just follow the instructions inside the box (or that you got by e-mail) to activate it.
Please Note: Depending on the company from which you buy the SIM Card, the instructions may change a little.
Usually you have to:
- Go to the site indicated on the instructions and fill in the special online form with your details (estimated time of completion of the operation: a couple of minutes);
- Activate the number with the wizard couple days before leaving: this operation is very important because it usually takes 24 to 48 hours for the Sim Card to be activated;
- Insert the SIM card in your phone once you landed and restart it. And you’re done.
Yet it is not the only possible solution.
Here are other possible and practicable options based on several factors:
1 – Low cost solution, spend little but get little: Wi-Fi
In the USA there is Wi-Fi everywhere (just think that at the top of the Empire State Building there’s a quite good connection) not only in shops, bars, restaurants etc… but also in squares and major streets of big cities.
And you can connect to all these public hot-spots and browse amazingly.
With this solution you will save a lot of money but obviously it is not very reliable and it limits a lot your internet need.
Because there are many hot-spots -as already mentioned- in big cities (LA, NY, Las Vegas etc.) but on the rest of the territory there are much less, so in case of need you must be lucky enough to find one.
Of course, if you want to visit one of the most famous American cities, you can certainly choose this option.
2 – Phone carries at home: easy but expensive
Another very easy to implement but decidedly expensive option is to rely on your country phone carriers.
In fact, with just a click from the mobile app, on the company’s website or a phone call to an operator you can activate the promotion that best fits your needs and have a certain amount of data and minutes abroad to be used at convenience.
Our suggestion is to use this option if you don’t need so much data o phone calls, just maybe for WhatsApp and similar apps.
Otherwise, choose another option.
3 – Wi-Fi router: always stay connected as a group
Do you travel in group (at least 3-4 people) and you’d like to know how to connect everyone to the internet at the same time?
Easy, just be equipped with a portable Wi-Fi router!
Just like for the prepaid SIM Card, you just have to activate a card before departure, insert it in the router and you’re done. You’ll always have with you a secure Wi-Fi connection only for your group.
Here are the routers we think are the best:
Final Judgment on the prepaid sim card USA for tourists
In our opinion, however, the US prepaid SIM Card option has proved to be the one with the best value for money and ease of use.
And the reasons are many.
We could have relied on US telephone companies and buy a SIM on site but not only we would not have had the same offer of gig and call minutes that we’d have had with the prepaid SIM Card but then we would have spent at least half a day looking for the company that we thought was most functional and to get activated the card.
Instead, do you know how easy it is to find a prepaid SIM Card?
Just one click.
On Amazon of course. Once we made the order for our US prepaid SIM Card, we received it the next day directly at home.
We chose the unlimited internet data option, because we had to document our adventures for the blog but also because we organized a do-it-yourself road trip and we didn’t want any problems while using Google maps.
However, you can choose different SIM Cards that are more suitable for you, taking into account how many days you’re staying in the US and how you want to use your smartphone.
These are the best sim card for USA by service quality offered, network quality, ease of activation and cost of course:
- T-mobile prepaid sim with unlimited data
- Tourist sim card USA AT&T
- Red Pocket usa sim card unlimited data
- Sim Red pocket mobile 1 year (for whom goes often to the States)
Then it’s up to you to choose the option that best suits your needs.
T Mobiles costs a little more but the network level is always good; also the Red pocket option with 1 year of validity is interesting, if you go to the States several times a year, perhaps for work.
We bought the T-mobile tourist sim USA, the best one for quality and GB for browsing. If you are always connected, this is the best solution for you too!
Is your smartphone enabled to operate in the States?
No worries, let’s find out now
Do you have any doubts if your phone can work with no problems in America?
Hold on! Did you know that you have to check if your mobile phone is enabled to read the US prepaid SIM Card?
No? Yup? Okay, let’s give you a bit of an explanation!
In the United States, smartphones use different GSM bandwidth frequencies, so some phones don’t always work well.
Yes, that’s right!
And this is also one of the reasons why if you want to buy a smartphone in the States, you have to look carefully to buy a model that works with the GSM bandwidth of your country.
How can I get rid of all doubts?
Visit this website: Willmyphonework, select the country you’re going to visit and the phone you have and that’s it.
Easy, isn’t it?
We hope that this guide helped you get rid of all doubts and has shown you as clearly as possible all the options to consider when you need to use your smartphone outside Europe.
Do you have any doubts, do you need some piece of advice?
Hold on a second!
If you have any doubts, or if you want some tips about what to buy, what to do before or during your trip to the States:
Don’t hesitate and ask us in the comments down below. We will answer in 24 hours.
What are you waiting for? Book your flight now!
Use our dedicated guide to find out how to use Skyscanner at its best. Instead, click here or on the image below to book your flight at the lowest price.
Book your hotels for your trip in the USA too
For our trip we use almost always Booking.com. About that, we’ve written a fantastic guide about this platform.
If you want to learn how to save a lot of money with flexibility, check it out -> click on this link.