Imagine going on vacation and not being able to tweet or post a pic to Instagram until you get back to the hotel. How tragic, right? Today, it is easier than ever before to have your phone up and running when you land in Europe. Here is our guide to how to get a SIM card in Italy.
Traveling to Italy?
If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably planning a trip to Italy sometime soon. While you’re there, why not check out one (or hopefully more) of our Rome tours?
Option 1: Use Your Own Phone with your US Network
Up until a few years ago, it was either impossible or incredibly expensive to use your phone in Italy without getting an Italian SIM Card. Roaming charges could turn into hundreds of dollars and the service would be shaky at best.
Now though, the major four US cell phone providers have partnered with Italian companies to have American phones work abroad. Below is the breakdown by provider of how to use your phone in Italy:
Verizon and AT&T:
Verizon and AT&T allow you to use your phone abroad for $10 a day per line. This option is ideal as it works for mostly all countries in Europe. If you are traveling to multiple countries, your phone will automatically connect.
To unlock your phone internationally, you should reach out to your provider before you leave, ideally at least a few days before. Here is how you can reach out to Verizon and AT&T.
Verizon International Plan or (800) 711-8300
AT&T International Day Pass or (800)-335-4685
Most Sprint plans include international coverage if you have a smartphone. Beware though, that Sprint abroad does have reduced internet speed.
Of the four main carriers, T-Mobile is a multinational company based in Germany. The main perk of this is that with T-Mobile, your phone will connect automatically in Europe without additional charge.
Option 2: Get an Italian SIM Card
Many phones today are luckily sold “unlocked.” When locked, it means that if you buy your phone through your provider, the phone will only tend to work with a SIM card from that provider. Example: Bought your phone through Verizon? Without unlocking your phone, your phone will only tend to take Verizon SIM cards. But, Verizon does not exist in Italy. So, what do you do?
If your phone was made before 2015, check with your carrier to make sure that your phone is unlocked or how it can be unlocked.
Choosing the Right Plan
The following providers are most popular in Italy, especially with pay as you go sim deals: Vodafone, TIM, WIND and 3 (Three). You’ll be able to find all of these shops in any big city such as Rome, Milan, Venice, Florence, etc. What’s important to note is that you will need to bring a form of I.D. with you, preferably a passport, when buying a local SIM in Italy.
The Roman Guy has a ton of experience organizing sim cards for visitors in Italy. According to our Italy Trip Planning Department, our number one provider for sim cards is TIM. They are easy to work with and you can usually find someone in their stores that speaks English and is willing to help.
TIM offers a wide range of deals too, which means they have something for everyone. You can find their stores in any major city in Italy and can even buy their SIM cards online!
Once you’ve purchased your pay-as-you-go SIM, you can top it up on the go. Topping up your SIM card essentially means adding more data after you have used it up. You can do this by downloading the provider’s app, or going to one of their stores and doing it in person.
If you are visiting for up to two weeks, we recommend using your American plan abroad. If you are staying more than a couple weeks, the SIM Card could save a good amount of money. For Sprint and T-Mobile, keep your US plan as you do not need to worry about additional charges.
Remember Google Maps can be your best friend on a trip to Europe, so that phone will need to work.
I Want More Italy!
- If you want us to arrange the entertainment in Rome (and beyond!), contact our Trip Planning Team to coordinate an unforgettable Italian experience.
- Check out our YouTube video and step-by-step guide about how to do Rome in a Day. If you’d rather let us guide you, check out our Rome tours.
- Not sure where to stay in Rome? Read this guide!
- Follow our adventures in Italy on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Then, comment and tell us what you want us to cover next.