If you don’t want a month-to-month postpaid phone plan, there’s certainly plenty of options out there for you. But T-Mobile has something a little different:a 21-day Tourist plan aimed at — wait for it! — tourists.
The plan is $30 for three week’s coverage, and includes 2GB of LTE data and 1,000 minutes, as well as plenty of texting for anyone still using actual SMSes to have real conversations.
Apart from the unusual three-week term (almost all other plans go by the month), the Tourist plan isn’t all that different to T-Mobile’s other prepaid offerings. Sadly, T-Mobile notes that you still have to buy it with a US credit card and have the kit shipped to a US address, so you’re going to need some decent forwards planning (and a willing hotel) to make it work. T-Mobile does handily point out a way to get around its own restrictions with a prepaid credit card, though.
Buying a prepaid plan with a local number is an increasingly popular option for tourists travelling to another country for any significant amount of time. Even the per-day-charge roaming plans add up quickly, and paying $30 for 21 days of service is a lot better than $5 or $10 per day.
There’s also the consideration that roaming data speeds are very rarely as fast as having an in-country SIM, as networks generally prioritize their own customers over roaming cellphones from foreign carriers.
The only remaining hiccup is that you’ll have to set up call forwarding from your old number to the temporary T-Mobile SIM, and there’s basically no way at all to get text messages forwarded automatically. Just remember to set up your two-factor authentication accounts properly before you leave, otherwise you could get stuck juggling SIMs for your entire trip.