One’s phone needs are quite different when you are on a short vacation overseas, versus a longer term stay. For short vacations, I think many just put up with the expensive roaming charges (e.g. $1USD/min) and take their regular mobiles with them. But, when you are staying overseas for an extended period of time (weeks, or months, or longer), you’ll want to look into using a local phone number, which means a local phone carrier by means of a local SIM card (did I break the record for number of times I used “local” in one sentence?).
You can buy a cheap phone locally, but it may not be necessary if your own phone is a GSM phone. Also, high-end smart phones may cost the same or even more than buying them in the U.S., and the keypads will have Thai characters, in addition to the ABCs. On another note, if you do buy a cheapo phone overseas, but want to also use it back home, double-check the GSM bands of the phone (See video for details).
Enjoy the five-minute video and feel free to leave comments as to whether this clarifies things a bit. My next video post (#0002) will be more specific, about navigating the confusing world of Thai SIM cards and the countless calling plans (or “promotions,” as the locals say). A teaser: bulk or unlimited calling plans here are called “Buffets.” I’ll just leave it at that!
Helpful resources to help you find out the compatibility of your phone to your travel destination:
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