If you're travelling abroad,it's difficult to know which is the best way to pay low rates for smartphone calls and data, but still keep in touch with friends in Israel. Here's the best way to enable your friends still to keep in touch with you, and you with them.
In the course of coaching over 50's on how to use their smartphones and computers, I come across a lot of clients who don't know what to do to keep in touch with their families whilst abroad, and how to make local phone calls at reasonable rates. Without changing your arrangements, roaming charges will mean that you'll get a very large bill when you return home.
Quite a few people buy expensive International phone call and data packages from their phone company - Pelephone, Cellcom etc - which contain a certain amount of minutes and have an expiry date of around three months. If you don't use all the data allowance or phone call minutes by that date, all is lost. This makes each call very expensive.
A much better way is to buy a local Pay as You Go sim card in the country that you are travelling to. This way you pay low local rates and any money that you put on the card will be available for you for your next trip, whenever that is. I personally recommend a company like " 3" that enables you to use their sim throughout Europe , including the UK.
Their sim is available from the "3" shops in various shopping malls for either one pound or free. It works in the USA too. Here's the link to their Pay as You Go website. To check on which countries you can use the sim, click here.
Just to allay any suspicions, I do not get any commissions for my recommendations, just looking out for the best deals.
For UK visitors coming to Israel they should know that it works here too.
Aha, you say, but that means that anyone trying to contact you from Israel has to know the new phone number. Not necessarily. Here's the clever bit.
After you change your sim in your smartphone, open WhatsApp and it will ask whether you want to change the number to the new one. You should press "No". Now, anyone who has you on their WhatsApp contacts can still contact you through WhatsApp. You must remember to have data enabled on your phone. The same should apply to users of Duo.
You can also use WhatsApp to make virtually free International phone calls back to Israel via Data or Wifi. Remember that you will be paying for data, not a great deal but something, where as free Wifi means your calls are totally free.
It's worth mentioning something about WiFi security here too. Remember to always ask for the name of the Wifi network when you ask for the password. This ensures that you will be logging into the correct network and not a bogus one. If you are having a confidential chat or dealing with a bank, data is always more secure than a public Wifi network.
So, to sum up. If you think ahead and set up your smartphone correctly, you'll be able to stay in touch with your friends and relatives back in Israel whilst enjoying low local rates to contact people and stay secure that you can use Waze and Google Maps to find your way around and contact someone if you need assistance.
I'd like to wish all my clients, past, present and future, a Very Happy Pesach, and I look forward to a great spring and summer ahead !