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  1. #1
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    Travel tips to Europe with new iPhone 11

    So our family just switched from Galaxy to iPhone, and took advantage of Costco's buy-one-get-one-free-AND-get-$200-costco-gift-card-for-each-line deal with AT&T.

    And I have a work trip to Europe (mostly Germany, but also Austria, Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam, and unfortunately, it's 95% work, with almost no time for play) coming up.

    I'm already confused by the lack of headphone port. (what the heck???)

    1) What are the easiest/least expensive/most packable options for me to charge it across Europe?

    2) Am I better off paying for AT&T's "International Day pass" for $10 a day on the days when I'm traveling all day and have no wifi, or should I purchase a SIM card in whatever country I'm in?
    Happy owner of Original copilot, Nordic Original small cafe bag, Nordic Halcyon Synapse 25, Nordic Halcyon medium cafe bag, black Halcyon Sidekick. Gave son The Maker's Bag and he LOVES it. Gave Hubby a Pilot for Christmas!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Izzy View Post
    What are the easiest/least expensive/most packable options for me to charge it across Europe?

    should I purchase a SIM card in whatever country I'm in?
    Hi Izzy just visited Europe over the summer and as a couple we packed two apple USB cords, plus one lightning European mains charger. (purchased this two years ago so had this at home). I wholeheartedly recommend buying one when you land. We didn't have any other electronics which meant no need to pack an adaptor.

    Most places we stayed had USB input in the bedside table.

    During 6 weeks we needed 2 SIM cards. Czech Republic - 4GB, easy to buy off the shelf with no ID. Most European countries allow EU roaming. Italy - easy to buy with my passport. The Italian one was very good value. EU data roaming for 40 euro (30GB).

    Germany was our first stop and we had intended to buy a sim card but the process was very complicated so we gave up.

    By the way I always had the SIM card in my phone and just switched on personal hotspot for my husband to connect to the data.
    Last edited by bijoux; 10-09-2019 at 06:51 AM.

  3. #3
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    Thanks, Bijoux, that's very helpful. I've got a total of 10 days in Germany, but going in and out several times, so if it's a complicated thing, sounds like I shouldn't buy a SIM card in Germany. Darn.

    All the other countries except Austria are just overnighters, and it's more about being on a bus or train for hours and hours, no guarantee of wifi (though I understand trains are pretty good). Austria I might look into buying a SIM card, then.

    Looks like for the rest I'm stuck doing AT&T's convenient but ridiculously expensive International Day Pass. $10 day adds up pretty quickly...
    Happy owner of Original copilot, Nordic Original small cafe bag, Nordic Halcyon Synapse 25, Nordic Halcyon medium cafe bag, black Halcyon Sidekick. Gave son The Maker's Bag and he LOVES it. Gave Hubby a Pilot for Christmas!

  4. #4
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    AT&T has a different international plan than the $10/day one. They don't advertise it much, but if you click around it's an option to buy just 1GB or 2GB, etc. international data for a month. I think it's $40 or $60 depending how much data you want. That's what I do so I can use maps while I'm out, but generally wait until I'm somewhere with free wifi to send pictures home, read news, and email. Would your work perhaps cover a data plan?

  5. #5
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    Check first that your phone is unlocked, and if not, request an unlock from your carrier.

    Then look into Orange Holiday Europe. It's about $50 and works for 14 days before needing to be topped up. It's pricey but still cheaper and faster internet than roaming on AT&T. I just saw that it's in stock at Amazon but there are other USA retailers as well. It is a French SIM card but will work in basically all the EU countries.
    Be sure to cut it open before you leave; it comes in a tough blister pack.

    Also bring a paper clip to open your SIM tray and a piece of scotch tape to save your AT&T SIM card somewhere safe.

    For the headphone port, shell out the $9 for Apple's Lightning to 3.5mm adapter. None of the 3rd party options are any better. (Or try some Bluetooth headphones.)

    For charging, I don't have tremendous power needs so I just carry an Anker PowerPort II 2 (stupid name, I know). It will charge your iPhone 11 very fast, but not the fastest. (For that you need a USB Type-C port and a C to Lightning cable.) I've also been experimenting with the PowerPort Mini which is even smaller. Both will support European power (100-240V) as long as you have a prong adapter. You could try to get the European version (with Type C prongs) but I wouldn't bother. An inexpensive, $1 prong adapter is sufficient.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by carrot View Post
    Check first that your phone is unlocked, and if not, request an unlock from your carrier.

    Then look into Orange Holiday Europe.
    WOW! I'd never heard of that! THANK YOU.

    The people on this forum are just amazing. Heart Eyes
    Happy owner of Original copilot, Nordic Original small cafe bag, Nordic Halcyon Synapse 25, Nordic Halcyon medium cafe bag, black Halcyon Sidekick. Gave son The Maker's Bag and he LOVES it. Gave Hubby a Pilot for Christmas!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Izzy View Post
    WOW! I'd never heard of that! THANK YOU.

    The people on this forum are just amazing. Heart Eyes
    I've heard that there are a few competitors to this plan too but I used this and it worked well for me.

  8. #8
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    You may have a problem since you bought the phone from Costco, and it is brand new. AT&T may not give you the unlock code because they want to be sure you stay with them. If you get it unlocked move your AT&T sim card to an esim then you can put your foreign sim card in the sim slot so you have a dual phone. This way you can receive calls on both lines. I travel throughout Europe on a regular basis. I got a 3 sim card from the UK from Amazon. I bought a prepaid pack that gives me 3000 minutes and 12 GB of data. I have used it in all the countries you have mentioned, and it works flawlessly. You can not topup with a US credit card. You have to use a third party to top up your sim card. Look at PrePaidGSM.net. They have a 3 section where they have at least two sites where you can top up. If you want a German sim card Amazon may have them too. Of course, your phone has to be unlocked. Hope this helps.

  9. #9
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    Most US carriers sell phones by rolling in the cost of the device into your monthly charge. AT&T generally doesn't unlock phones until you pay off the phone (usually 12-24 months) or 2 months has expired, whichever comes first. Verizon entered into a settlement that forces it to unlock phones after 2 months. I believe if you are in the U.S. military, the carriers generally wave these unlock restrictions.
    Last edited by NClens; 10-10-2019 at 10:50 AM.

  10. #10
    Forum Member Chris D.'s Avatar
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    Iíve used the Viber App while in Uganda...worked well! Free talk and text that uses WiFi.

    All the best
    Chris
    Cadet (Steel /NW Sky) Yeoman Duffel (Burnt Orange)

  11. #11
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    If it's for work, see what your employer will allow you to expense. My employer just has people use the international day pass. And if your employer won't expense it, then you might be surprised how little you'll need it for personal use. No chance that AT&T will unlock you right after you sign up.

    I'm going for 16 days in Europe/Mideast next month and I plan to just use the AT&T plan on days when I really think I need it. There is enough WiFi out there to get you through the most days. Google Maps are now downloadable, so you can still wayfind and get directions while offline. Same for the language packs on Google Translate. Just download stateside before you leave.

    As far as the chargers, not a bad idea to just bring the cable and buy a cheap wall adapter when you get to your destination; it might be cheaper than buying a plug adapter you have to haul home. Pay it forward and leave it behind when you return. Or none at all, depending on how ubiquitous USB plugs are in the hotels you are staying in. Wireless charging is also an option, though not ubiquitous enough to rely on.

    If you'll be working most the time, you may not need a power bank. The new iPhone is supposedly a true all-day battery. Haven't seen a transatlantic flight that didn't have USB in the seats.
    Last edited by imperator; 10-10-2019 at 10:17 AM.

  12. #12
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    Like other posters have said the $10 daily AT&T might be the best way, if it is part of your expense allowance, even better.

    I used the monthly deal when I was in Europe, some years ago. Now, it looks like there is more wifi, more USB connections, but, it is always better to have a sure connection right when you land.

    There might be strikes, bad weather related or VIP, events that might delay you from one leg of the journey to the other. A reliable phone that you can use as a personal hotspot is a must.

    Check the reviews for wireless headphones and buy one before your trip, buy a power brick (Anker or other brand) to charge your phone.

    Find out if each of your hotel rooms have adequate USB connections, some at the desk, some integrated to the bedside lamp(s)...

    Anyway, you are going to need an adapter for the European power outlets to power your laptop, get a cheap set stateside and keep it on your carryon/laptop bag.

    If you stay at a worldwide hotel chain, try to find out find out if the number of USB connections are adequate in each hotel.

  13. #13
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    Go hang out on apple.com’s iPhone11 support forums for a little while. Go to your local ATT store and have a chat with the young lady who’s been there the longest. While the 11 is capable of using dual SIMs (you can have two lines on one phone at the same time, see below) most folks just buy their carrier’s extended international data plan because there is no SIM swapping, it’s easy, it’s not very expensive, and it does the job.

    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT209044

    YOu only need one USB port in your hotel room or none at all. The Apple charger is multi-voltage; you only need a plug adapter.
    The 11 needs wireless or lightning port headphones; good opportunity to get those noise cancelling cans you’ve always wanted for flying.

    The 11 has a really cool eSIM function: Dual SIM (nano-SIM and eSIM, iPhone 11 is not compatible with existing micro-SIM cards. From Apple” Use of eSIM requires a wireless service plan (which may include restrictions on switching service providers and roaming, even after contract expiration). Not all carriers support eSIM. Use of eSIM in iPhone may be disabled when purchased from some carriers. See your carrier for details. To learn more, visit https://support.apple.com/kb/HT209044.)

    THE VERGE:
    AT&T
    First, you will need to purchase a new eSIM account via the AT&T website,
    ALTHOUGH YOU CAN HAVE TWO ACTIVE PHONE NUMBERS, YOU CAN ONLY USE ONE DATA PLAN AT A TIME
    Note that while both phone numbers can be active at the same time (so you can be on a call with one and get a call from the other), you can only use one data plan at a time. If you want to switch to the data plan you’re using, go to your Cellular menu, choose Cellular Data and then select Cellular Data Switching.

  14. #14
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    Many thanks to all who have responded!

    My employer does not cover ANYTHING for phone other than wifi in the hotel room. And that's great, but we're spending several hours a day on buses and trains. Also, my past experience has been that hotel wifi is often spotty and one must come down to the lobby to get a decent signal.

    The good news: I have an unlocked Galaxy 8 that I did not trade in towards the new phone, so I plan to put the SIM card in that one.
    Happy owner of Original copilot, Nordic Original small cafe bag, Nordic Halcyon Synapse 25, Nordic Halcyon medium cafe bag, black Halcyon Sidekick. Gave son The Maker's Bag and he LOVES it. Gave Hubby a Pilot for Christmas!

  15. #15
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    Hi Izzy. Is it possible one of your German colleagues registers a SIM card before you arrive under their name, and you give them the 40 euros?
    Or maybe they can go with you to the phone store as they are native speakers. We found the language barrier and the registration process to be the hurdles.

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