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Why You Should Pack a GSM Unlocked Phone



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travelers with lots of global adventures ahead!

Don't get this for...

travelers who prefer a good old-fashioned phone card and playing with international pay phones.

Bottom Line

A GSM unlocked cell phone will help you stay in touch and stay connected. With all the travel apps out there, it’ll also offer lots of great travel resources.

Posted April 2, 2017 by

This post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.
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Check out the Travel Gift List’s GSM Unlocked Cell Phones Comparison Chart to find the best GSM unlocked  phone for your next trip.

A midrange option: The Unlocked iPhone SE at Amazon

For frequent travelers, a GSM unlocked phone can be a life saver.  GSM phones can be as simple as the Moto G Play (Price Not Found at Amazon) or as high-end as the slickly elegant Apple iPhone 7 ($625.00 at Amazon).  An unlocked smartphone can make a great gift for travelers.

GSM unlocked phones can be compatible with phone companies worldwide.  The main requirement is that the company provide customers with a thumbnail-sized SIM card–a norm in countries throughout Europe, Asia, and Latin America.  When you’re going to be abroad for a while, using a GSM unlocked phone and a local carrier can save you money and lots of hassle.

After the plane touches down, you just visit a local store and buy a pay-as-you-go SIM card (or a contract card, if you’re planning a long stay).  Slip the card into your phone, power up, and….you’re in business.  I’ve gone through this exact process in Hungary, Spain, and India, and loved the flexibility it offered!  I’ve also heard from friends that the same process works smoothly in Latin America and East Asia.


Unlocked Moto G Play (4th Gen) at Amazon

Buy a GSM unlocked phone with advanced capabilities if you’re planning to be abroad for a while, or if you’re heading to multiple countries.  There’s no reason why travel should mean app deprivation.  Also, a quality phone will give you easy access to all the great travel apps that have been making waves among travelers.

Make sure that your phone is unlocked, takes a SIM card, and is on the right GSM bands for your chosen location.  Note that phones set up for CDMA networks like Verizon and Sprint often won’t work on GSM networks. To figure out what GSM bands you’ll need for your trip (or your travel gift), check out this GSM World Coverage Map.

For someone planning multi-country or long-term travels, a GSM unlocked phone offers peace of mind and a great way to stay in touch with everyone back home.


Thinking about getting a GSM unlocked phone?

Take a look at the Travel Gift List’s GSM Unlocked Cell Phones Comparison Chart to compare the best GSM unlocked phones now.

Go to the Comparison Chart


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Why You Should Pack a GSM Unlocked Phone
A GSM unlocked phone lets travelers get cell service through a local company. Buy a local SIM card, slip it into the phone, and….you’re in business.


I'm a travel addict and shopping lover with six years abroad and seventeen countries under my belt. Now that I've settled down in Cambridge, MA for a couple years, TravelGiftList helps me keep up with the world of fun, quirky, and practical travel gifts!


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