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Spanish SIM Card

barryg

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
June: Camino Frances from Pamplona
#1
Okay, I did search the forums first, and DID find a link to a good Spanish SIM card site, but I'll be damned if I can find it again.

Would anyone be willing to help me with the following:

Which carrier (with the ability to allow me to buy the card on their website) would be best for a US tourist wanting WiFi capability and reasonable rates to call and receive calls from the US while in Spain for a month? There was a link somewhere, but I can't find it. I would like to purchase the card prior to my departure, or would you suggest waiting until I arrive in Barcelona? I've heard Orange is better than Vodafone, but I can't find a site where I can buy either.

Are "burner" phones readily available with international calling (we call those simple flip phones, burner phones in the US)?

Any suggestions will be appreciated, even if it is to tell me to leave my damn phone home, although I do need to keep in touch with my wife or she'll divorce me!

Thanks!

Barry
 

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Camino(s) past & future
2015, St. Jean Pied de Port to Burgos
2016, Burgos to Ponferrada
2017, Ponferrada to Atlantic Ocean
#2
I found the use of free Wi-Fi with Apple Message and Facetime were sufficient for my needs. This allowed me to check in every day or so which was sufficient to convince my wife that I had not fallen off a mountain.

After several trips, I found it better to communicate LESS details while on the Camino, which provide us MORE to talk about on my return.

-Paul
 

Jane M

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014,2016
#5
Yes, absolutely, wait until you are in Spain. Take your UNLOCKED phone which is compatible with European systems to a phone shop [Orange, Vodafone, Phone house, etc]. Have them install the Spanish SIM card, and test your phone. We did this to provide the ability for us to telephone within Spain, and for family to phone us directly from outside Spain [only in case of emergency!!]. We paid very little for the peace of mind of having a phone. Did not have the capacity to phone the U.S., but as stated by others here, that is not necessary. With your smartphone, you can check your messages with wifi, which seems to be available everywhere. Be sure your apps are not using your minutes to talk to the world! Jane
 

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Camino(s) past & future
May 2018 Camino Frances
#6
If I am starting in SJPDP by way of Paris, where is the best place to get a SIM card? From what I have seen everyone says to get on in Pamplona, but that will be like 4-5 days into my trip. Just curious where everyone is picking them up at if they fly into CDG.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés, (fall, 2018)
#7
I have the same question as Camino@robbie. My phone is an unlocked Samsung Galaxy s8 bought in the USA..
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
#8
There are no roaming charges in the EC, so find a shop, buy a sim card, start walking. The CDG / Barajas / El Prat stalls will roust you for more than a city centre shop or an internet vendor but the margins are, well, marginal. Consider what your charge-out rate is (the monetary value you put on your time) and decide where your time to cash saving boundary lies. Act appropriately.

Orange and Vodaphone are the principle network providers. Most other vendors buy network time from them and re-sell it. Choice? Well, which cup hides the lady?
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#10
The elimination of roaming charges has made the whole phone thing easier, but I would still buy the card in Spain. My hesitation about buying a SIM card in France and then walking in Spain is that I would be up a creek if I needed help from the phone service provider, either to add more money to the card or to get help with a problem. I have used Vodaphone for the last few years and they have offices in a lot of the cities along many different caminos. I have inevitably had occasion to make a personal call into one of their stores, and of course I wouldn't have been able to do that if I had bought a French SIM (unless companies like Vodaphone sell all across the EU, which I just don't know). In terms of customer service, I have found Vodaphone employees to be, on the whole, far more helpful and less condescending than their Movistar peers.

Buen camino, Laurie
 

AJGuillaume

Pélerin du monde
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis, Via Podiensis, Camino Del Norte 2018
#11
We have 2.5 months of walking through France before we get to Spain (via Gebennensis, via Podiensis, Voie Nive-Bidassoa).
So we can't afford to wait until we get to Spain before buying a SIM card.
My question is that although roaming has been made easier in Europe, should I still throw away my French SIM card and buy a Spanish one when I get to Irun?
Advantage of doing that: a) potentially better rates, b) support from local phone service provider, as @peregrina2000 mentions.
Disadvantage: having to change phone number 1/2 way on our walk, with the inconvenience of letting everyone one know of our new number.
I welcome comments/advice/suggestions. Thank you!
Buen Camino
 

KarenLW

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances May 2019
#12
I bought a SIM card in January Paris on my “yay, retirement trip” and recharged it ONLINE before I went to Barcelona in March. And it worked like a charm - in Spain and in southern France!
 

AJGuillaume

Pélerin du monde
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis, Via Podiensis, Camino Del Norte 2018
#13
I bought a SIM card in January Paris on my “yay, retirement trip” and recharged it ONLINE before I went to Barcelona in March. And it worked like a charm - in Spain and in southern France!
Thank you @KarenLW . Which French phone supplier did you use?
 

lissie45

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to walk Frances 2019
#14
I have a related question - unlocked phone that will work in Europe- but we'd probably fly via UK before France. Will a British prepaid SIM also have no roaming charges in France/Spain?
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2017)
#15
I was told you will be charged roaming charges with anything but a Spanish SIM card. Bought mine in Pamplona as that was the first place that had a company to buy it from. I used What's App to communicate with my husband (in Canada) on a daily basis. Worked fine most of the time. A few times the connection was not good. I liked it as it had audio and video option.
 

KarenLW

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances May 2019
#16
Thank you @KarenLW . Which French phone supplier did you use?
I used Orange for the SIM card purchase in France, too. I ended up buying what they call the Holiday plan but it’s renewable online. You can check it out on their website. I think it’s hard to find the choice of language on the website but it’s there!
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
#17
Perhaps I should re-state. There is no roaming charge in the EC. If you are phoning Canada you ain't in the EC...

So a UK / French / Spanish sim will not incur further charges in excess of your basic call plan while you are romping along the Camino and calling Albergues, Taxis or your Camino family last seen in a bar straight out of Star Wars....

Use wifi, weefee, to 'phone home - just like ET ;0)
 

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