SIM cards for Spain, France and Italy

In a few weeks, I will be in Europe on a trip where I will be in Spain, France and Italy. The past couple of times I have gone to France, I have used a SIM card from Orange as it was cheaper than paying $10 per day to Verizon. Will Orange work in Spain and Italy as well, or is there a better alternative?

Thanks for your help.

Orange and other Eurozone cellular providers will work throughout the Eurozone without roaming charges. If you have a valid sim card (Orange France requires a minimum 10 euro top up every six months to remain valid), buy an Orange France Max 30 euro recharge, which will be good for 30 days and include unlimited texts and calls throughout the Eurozone (and iMessage or other data based messaging service, world wide), as well as 60 gigs of data. There is a 20 euro recharge Max that includes the foregoing, but only 2 gigs of data. I don’t know what voice/text/data bundles are currently available in Spain and Italy, but they and France require sim activation in country with your passport.

This is what I do for Nolita. Much cheaper than $10/ day plus extra data!


Keep in mind text messages are charged, but WhatApp is not. Everyone uses WhatsApp.

Duplicate post

I was at the AT&T store yesterday and I asked about the dual SIM phones. He cautioned me that if I have the Spanish SIM card in along w the US SIM that the US will be still looking for service. How do you work around that?

This article maybe some help. I think you need to get your phone unlocked.

I used to get the foreign sim, but always wasted too much time. $10 a day is a lot, but it’s easier for a 10 day trip. I’m guessing your daughter may spend much more time overseas.

Some of you probably know, but you can order one in advance on Amazon. Just pop it in once you get to Europe, wait a few minutes for it to activate, and you’re good to go-- no wasting time at a store. If staying more than 14 days, register (do this right away if you know you’ll be over two weeks, as it can sometimes take a while for them to validate the registration), and choose a “top-up” option to keep the SIM valid. I was traveling in Europe for most of August and the Orange SIM worked fine in all countries.

*As someone mentioned above, use WhatsApp for messaging. If you use Verizon and still want to get text messages that are sent to your “real” number while in Europe, download the Verizon Messages+ app and set it up. If you have an iPhone, turn off iMessaging before you leave the US (this screws up the Verizon app for some reason).

I used to do the SIM card and limited data/phone duration purchase back when it was easier to purchase them in Europe, about 6+ years ago.

While I don’t know how long you plan on using your phone, but since then, when I travel anywhere, I subscribe to my local carrier’s (Sprint) $25 for 7 full days unlimited local phone calls, texts and data. Eliminates any hassle. Very useful for research, making/inquiring reservations and all driving/walking directions, plus when my wife travels with me, she uses my phone as a hot spot, hence we have multiple phones with data roaming features.

If I need to extend, I pay $5 per 24 hours.

All gets billed with my monthly carrier statement.


We have a T-Mobile International plan. Calls and texts to and from Mexico and Canada are included.Data and text are free in over 200 countries. So far, we haven’t been to one that was not covered and we have been in >70 countries. Calls still cost money. WhatsApp is a good alternative with WiFi. We have three phones on the plan and our cost is $140 per month. Any phone that uses less than 2GB of data gets a $10 reduction for that month. T-Mobile is a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom. Our service has been excellent here and abroad. And NO, we don’t work for T-Mobile or receive any remuneration for saying good things about our service.

I’ve used several of the 30 euro pre-paids and they’re great; just confirm the details re: countries covered. Should be fine, given they’re all Schengen.

If you can do it in advance, by all means do it. I’ve never spent less than 30 minutes in line in a Paris Orange store (have been quite a few times with everything from pre-paid sims to disconnecting my cable) and it’s a hassle and a half. It’s been a couple of years, but I also recall Italy being quite a pain, due to terrorist/drug laws and again I spent an hour between signing paperwork and photocopying my passport, etc. just for the prepaid. Note that I was using an unlocked iPhone.

I’ve used dual sim several times, as well, and haven’t had problems with service. Bigger issue for me was getting all of the settings correct for email, sms, etc. Dropped into a MSFT store and they resolved quickly (Sydney, Australia), so if you go that route, make sure you’ve got the relevant details.

I hope you have another great adventure; I dearly miss spending time in all three countries.

All true, but T-Mobile data outside Canada and Mexico is throttled at 128K or 256K, depending on your postpaid T-Mobile plan. I’m happy to pay $33 for 30 days of 4G/LTE data (currently capped at 60g, which is an astonishing bargain) throughout the Schengen, unlimited Schengen area texts and calling, and a phone number that others in the Schengen area can call without surcharge.

We used to have T-Mobile but Verizon has much better service in the US than T-Mobile did. Does not seem to make sense to get a plan that is better for 2-4 weeks a year but worse for 50 weeks a year. We think about trying it again, but so far have not wanted to take the chance.

Try renting Insidr. It worked perfectly, and was cheap. Your US phone will then operate fine there.

Others in your travel group can use its hotspot.

We travel out of the country about 4 - 6 months out of the year. It is far too expensive to pay extra for a service that is free. As for throttling, it has never been an issue for us but we don’t stream movies or music when we travel. I expect there is a plan that best suits all of us. T-Mobile best suits our needs. As for the U.S. we have not experienced a coverage problem so far.

I agree that if I traveled out of the country 4-6 months a year I would have T-Mobile or something like it such as Google Fi.

I spent the summer in Languedoc. The Holiday SIM card was not available in any of the Orange stores so I had to buy a prepaid for $30 that lasted 5 weeks before having to reload.

The bad part is that the prepaid Orange SIM cards do not allow you to use wifi calling. My house has barely 1 bar and i had to walk up the hill to get another bar to make calls. Not a great solution but cheaper than $10 per day