Staying connected as we travel has never been easier. Travellers can choose from a variety of options; from subscribing to international data roaming plans to purchasing local/global SIM cards or a wifi device, or simply making use of wifi connections at hotels, cafés and restaurants. Each option has its pros and cons. International data roaming plans can be pricey, using a local/global SIM card involves switching SIM cards in your phone (with the added risk of misplacing your home SIM card, something that’s happened to me twice!) and local wifi hotspots can be patchy and unsecured. As a frequent traveller, I’ve tried all these options but I think I’ve found the best international data roaming solution so far, one that:
- doesn’t involve physically switching SIM cards
- doesn’t involve carrying a wifi device with me
- allows me to have 4G quality roaming in 100+ countries
- comes with a very reasonable cost.
Allow me to introduce you to Flexiroam!
An easy and flexible international data roaming solution
Using Flexiroam – getting started
I recently started using Flexiroam and so far, I’ve tested it in five countries. I’m really happy with how easy it is to use and the quality of the connections. Most importantly, I don’t have to switch SIM cards! In addition, the app allows me to keep track of my data usage and top-up my balance when necessary. This is the part I find so cool about Flexiroam: instead of replacing SIM cards, Flexiroam’s Starter Pack includes a microchip which you stick onto your home SIM card, in effect creating a dual SIM in your phone. Nifty stuff! I thought it sounded complicated at first but it’s really simple. The Starter Pack comes with very clear instructions on how to go about doing this and it took me just a minute to install the microchip.
I then downloaded the Flexiroam app and followed the guides to activate the SIM. I completed the steps in a few minutes and I was ready to go.
Check out my travel planning resources page for tips
I find the pricing pretty reasonable. For instance, you can now purchase a Starter Pack (includes 1GB of data) for USD 29.99. A 7GB Starter Pack currently costs USD 199.99 and the plan is valid for 360 days. Top-ups cost upwards of USD 5.99 and any leftover data is rolled over to the validity period of the new top-up plan. Purchasing a local data plan may be cheaper in certain countries. However, if you’re on a short trip, or visiting multiple countries, the convenience offered by Flexiroam, which doesn’t involve changing SIM cards and extra paperwork (to obtain a local SIM card), weighs more in my book. As soon as I arrive at my destination, I switch to Flexiroam and it automatically connects with a partner network.
It’s quite easy to switch back-and-forth between my home SIM and the Flexiroam SIM (see some important points below), so when I’m not travelling, the microchip lies dormant atop my home SIM card in my phone.
Examples of how much I’ve paid so far:
- Malaysia: 3GB for 24 days for USD27
- Canada: 500MB for 14 days for USD25
- Taiwan: 1GB for 14 days for USD9
- Indonesia: 1GB for 8 days for USD6.30
- South Africa: 1GB for 8 days for USD4.50 (discounted rate)
There are all sorts of discounted rates such as early-bird purchases (e.g. 50% off when purchased 30 days or 70% off when purchased 90 days before the data plan starts), buy-1-get-1-free and other special offers.
You can earn extra data (100MB to be exact) for each referral to family and friends. As an extra bonus, they get 100MB too! Via the app, you can share a unique link which your family and friends can use to purchase Flexiroam. If you sign up for FlexiroamX via this link, you’ll get 100MB free and so will I! 🙂
As with any dual-SIM system, only one SIM can be used at any given moment. Hence, if you’re using the Flexiroam SIM, you won’t be able to receive calls on your mobile number and you won’t have access to SMS. However, you can still do all that (voice calls and messaging) via channels like Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Facetime, etc. In addition, Flexiroam also enables calls via the app for a rate of 10MB per minute.
Conclusion: I’m really glad I was introduced to Flexiroam. The idea of utilising a microchip as a sticker atop the home SIM is indeed nifty and solves several issues for me, such as not having to switch SIM cards. In addition, the 4G connections in the countries I’ve used it so far have been great. When I’m not travelling, I simply switch back to my home SIM. Based on my experience so far, I’m more than happy to recommend this international data roaming solution.
Important points when switching to FlexiroamX SIM
Switching between the Home and FlexiroamX SIM is a bit cumbersome, at least, for those who use iPhones (I’m not sure if it’s the same for Android phones). When switching, the most important points to keep in mind before you restart your phone are:
- ensure Mobile/Celullar Data APN is changed to flexiroam
- ensure Data Roaming is switched ON
- ensure Wifi is switched OFF (it can be turned back on later when FlexiroamX is activated)
When switching back to your Home SIM, change the Mobile/Celullar Data APN back to the original setting.