How Do I Get a Cell Phone When Teaching English Abroad?

I’m addicted. You’re addicted. We are all addicted to our phones. It’s true. Our eyes are glued to our screens. Rarely do our smart phones actually come in contact with our ears these days. When you are concerned about a cell phone abroad you are probably concerned about texting, instagramming at will, checking the latest snap or news story. Then while traveling, your phone will serve as a map, translator and even a travel agent. Here are some tips to keep you connected while abroad.

International Calls, Texts and Data Usage

Yes your phone company in your home country will give you the option to have an international texting and calling plan but typically at a high price. You are an English teacher, you are an adventurer, with trips to take, new food to eat, cute souvenirs to buy. You probably don’t want a huge percentage of your income to go towards your phone. And English schools calling you back for an interview do not want to dial your international number to reach you. So ditch your home number while you are abroad and instead use wifi! At your apartment, at cafes, at bars, and restaurants, wifi is everywhere. Take advantage of it to text and call internationally and domestically for free. Check out free communication apps like  WhatsApp, Skype, Google Duo, FaceBook Messenger and many more! If you have an iPhone and your friends and family do as well you can iMessage and FaceTime together. New communication apps pop up all the time.

How to get a phone for moving abroad

Local Calls, Texts and Data Usage

As I stated above English schools calling you in for an interview or colleagues calling you to cover their shift do not want to call an international number. So get yourself a local number by purchasing a sim card at a local convenience mart or bodega in your new neighborhood. Take your old sim card out (but save it, you’ll need it when you return home) and replace it with your new one. New number. New life abroad!

Buy data and minutes as you go. Load them on your phone and you are LIVE! Data in some countries can be very expensive so you’ll want to use free data when you can at local wifi spots. Some teachers also opt to buy a “burner” phone, you know the cheap flip phone, circa HBO’s “The Wire”. You can do this too. Have your local flip phone for local texts and calls and your smart phone to use when wifi is present. It’s really up to you.


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