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What is the best SIM to use

2020 Camino Guides

Gimoz

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May (2019) or Sept/Oct (2019)
I am coming from Australia so am not familiar with the different mobile networks in Spain. It would be good if I can get a SIM which will work in Europe as well as in Spain as I plan to be in several countries in Europe. Do I wait until I get there to buy one or just get a global SIM?
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
Buy one when you get there. Spain is in Europe and in the EC. There are no roaming charges in the EC so you're good to go for most of Europe. Some places that are in Europe but not in the EC may or may not have a reciprocal agreement with the EC over roaming charges but your provider will be able to advise. Or just use wifi to send messages and Skype to explain that you might be later than you thought for dinner...

"Global" sims are about the one possible sale that'll bring a smile to the face of that poor sod in the call-centre / airport kiosk.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2015) Frances
(2018) Portuguese
(2019) VdP Seville to Salamanca
(2020) VdP Salamanca to Santiago
I just purchased a SIM with 12GB of data that is good for 1 year anywhere in Europe (for about $60). You probably can pick that up in Spain. I mention it more as a type of service that is available. In my case, I like to have the SIM card ready to go when I get off the plane in Europe so I may end up paying a bit more for the convenience.
 

MichaelF4

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese Coastal 2017
Camino Frances 2018
Camino Frances, Camino Invierno 2019
I just purchased a SIM with 12GB of data that is good for 1 year anywhere in Europe (for about $60). You probably can pick that up in Spain. I mention it more as a type of service that is available. In my case, I like to have the SIM card ready to go when I get off the plane in Europe so I may end up paying a bit more for the convenience.
Can you elaborate on where you bought this SIM card please?
 

Terry W

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
August 2017
April 2018
April 2019
I am coming from Australia so am not familiar with the different mobile networks in Spain. It would be good if I can get a SIM which will work in Europe as well as in Spain as I plan to be in several countries in Europe. Do I wait until I get there to buy one or just get a global SIM?
Hi Gimoz I live in NZ am going back for my third trip in ten days time. The first and second times 2017 and 2018 I had a pre paid phone. We used viber (free phone connection) not sure if it is as good as it was to start. But also my wife and family are on facebook which means we are on messenger and I just used the messenger phone to ring my wife at night our morning. But with my pre paid you have to turn data off cost a flammin fortune, and just use wi fi as you find it all cafe,s an Albergues have wi fi.. Using either Viber or messenger I always got through. Good luck and God bless.
 

MichaelF4

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese Coastal 2017
Camino Frances 2018
Camino Frances, Camino Invierno 2019
Hi Gimoz I live in NZ am going back for my third trip in ten days time. The first and second times 2017 and 2018 I had a pre paid phone. We used viber (free phone connection) not sure if it is as good as it was to start. But also my wife and family are on facebook which means we are on messenger and I just used the messenger phone to ring my wife at night our morning. But with my pre paid you have to turn data off cost a flammin fortune, and just use wi fi as you find it all cafe,s an Albergues have wi fi.. Using either Viber or messenger I always got through. Good luck and God bless.
I'd be weary of wifi in cafes and albergues. Most of the places I stayed at had limited internet connections and they were overwhelmed with people hogging bandwidth. I'll be looking for a SIM with data to use with an old phone in Europe and use it as a wifi hotspot.
 

Gimoz

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May (2019) or Sept/Oct (2019)
I just purchased a SIM with 12GB of data that is good for 1 year anywhere in Europe (for about $60). You probably can pick that up in Spain. I mention it more as a type of service that is available. In my case, I like to have the SIM card ready to go when I get off the plane in Europe so I may end up paying a bit more for the convenience.
I am flying into London first and will be there a few days before taking a flight to Biarritz. Like you I would prefer to get a SIM ready to go. I can pay for global roaming on my AU SIM and then buy one which I can use for my time in UK and Europe. Can you tell me what is the one you bought? Thank you :)
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
The Orange Bureau is at the BAB Shopping Center, not that convenient to get to.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
We used viber (free phone connection)
I use Viber on the Camino and other travel abroad. It always works great. It's free to call other Viber users, and you can buy Viber credit to call landlinesaand other phones. Especially useful if you need to call albergues or make calls back home. I usually buy US$5 worth of credit, and it lasts much longer than my time on the Camino. Calls with Viber credit are only US2¢ a minute.

 

KerrieG

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Part CF (2016), Camino Frances (2019)
I use Viber on the Camino and other travel abroad. It always works great. It's free to call other Viber users, and you can buy Viber credit to call landlinesaand other phones. Especially useful if you need to call albergues or make calls back home. I usually buy US$5 worth of credit, and it lasts much longer than my time on the Camino. Calls with Viber credit are only US2¢ a minute.

Sorry, I'm clueless about all this.....to make a call to another Viber user, do you need wifi? Will it work if you have the data turned off on your phone?
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Sorry, I'm clueless about all this.....to make a call to another Viber user, do you need wifi? Will it work if you have the data turned off on your phone?
You need to have wifi or cellular data. Yes, it will work on wifi with data turned off.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Echoing @trecile 's endorsement of Viber. It's used a lot in Asia, less other places, but I like it a lot. I do not have Facebook ( :eek: ) so use it in the same way as people use messenger - with the added perk that you can call, too. Both parties have to have Viber, as well as an internet connection - either from a data package or via WiFi.
 

David from Freo

"These are the best years of our lives"
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria-Santiago 2008; SJPP-Santiago 2014; Lisbon-Santiago-Muxia 2016; LePuy-Santiago 2018; SWCP 2019
I am coming from Australia so am not familiar with the different mobile networks in Spain. It would be good if I can get a SIM which will work in Europe as well as in Spain as I plan to be in several countries in Europe. Do I wait until I get there to buy one or just get a global SIM?
Dear Gimoz, Like you I am an Aussie. On my early Caminos I used to buy a local (Spanish/Portuguese) SIM (trying various companies over time) and go through the process of shifting to that when I arrived in Europe. This worked ok, but was quite a hassle -- and not particularly cheap. On my last couple of caminos I have taken a different strategy. I obtained a simple 'pay-by-use' Lycamobile SIM in Australia (they'll send it to you free) and set it up to deduct $10 from my credit card whenever my balance dropped below $2. There are local Lyca companies operating in Portugal, Spain, France and various other European countries. On arriving in either Portugal, Spain or France (and I suspect also the UK), an Aussie Lyca customer gets an sms saying that as an existing Lyca customer, the local Lyca (Spanish, Portuguese, French) company will only charge you the local rate when using your Australian Lyca card in that country. Lyca is pretty cheap for calls. I found I only used about $10 a week (approx 6 Euro), and as it auto-filled from my credit card I did not need to worry about topping it up in a foreign language/currency! I used 'free' internet calls (skype etc) mainly, and free internet in albergues/cafes etc where available. But I had an easy, relatively cheap SIM set-up to use when I needed it for calls. On the basis of past experience, I won't be bothering to get a local SIM card for future caminos. I was happy just using my Australian Lyca card.
 

Robyn Scott

Robyn
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017 September (2019)
I am coming from Australia so am not familiar with the different mobile networks in Spain. It would be good if I can get a SIM which will work in Europe as well as in Spain as I plan to be in several countries in Europe. Do I wait until I get there to buy one or just get a global SIM?
 

Robyn Scott

Robyn
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017 September (2019)
Buy one when you get there. Spain is in Europe and in the EC. There are no roaming charges in the EC so you're good to go for most of Europe. Some places that are in Europe but not in the EC may or may not have a reciprocal agreement with the EC over roaming charges but your provider will be able to advise. Or just use wifi to send messages and Skype to explain that you might be later than you thought for dinner...

"Global" sims are about the one possible sale that'll bring a smile to the face of that poor sod in the call-centre / airport kiosk.
We bought Sim s from Orange in Pamplona. They were very helpful and the product worked well.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)

Maxcheese

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances autumn 2019 or spring 2020
I tried it from home (Canada) as soon as i received it. Just swapped my sim and configured the data provider (very easy and explained clearly) and within 2 minutes, i had data access and could call local numbers. I monitored my activity on their website and it was updated right away. They're from Belgium so no worries for reliability in Europe as well.
 

Mick McQueen

https://www.facebook.com/groups/
Camino(s) past & future
I am escorting the Roll of Honour (Afghanistan) on Camino France on 20 May from SJPDP
The Roll of Honour details the 41 young Australians who died on Active Service in Afghanistan. In the centenary of the ANZAC’s, the Roll of Honour will be escorted to 41 prominent places and events around the World, laying 41 Poppies at each location.
If you're just seeking advice on which carrier's SIM to purchase, I've been happy with both Orange and Vodaphone.
Same here mate started with Vodaphone and got an orange sim, it cost 35euro for the Voda and did not use all the voice and data in 6 weeks so binned ole orange
 

audiohio

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo 2018
I am coming from Australia so am not familiar with the different mobile networks in Spain. It would be good if I can get a SIM which will work in Europe as well as in Spain as I plan to be in several countries in Europe. Do I wait until I get there to buy one or just get a global SIM?
My experience with obtaining a local SIM card for use on Camino Primitivo, was a huge hassle. I went to a shop in Oviedo and got a card for the Tuenti network which someone recommended to me. All business was conducted in Spanish which I do not speak. Ended up in the shop for a couple of hours due to not enough staff, had to fill out lots of paperwork, show passport, and then was handed many pages of documentation to keep, all written in Spanish. When it was done, I wasn't sure what I had agreed to! This was on the morning I would leave town to begin the Camino so I and my partner were there with our boots on and packs, ready to go, and had not expected the long delay. We would have done this the day before starting the Camino, but that was Sunday and all shops like this are closed on Sunday, so beware of that. The pre-paid SIM card included data and was more costly than I had expected (don't recall details of cost). It worked fine and signal was often available. I had assumed that I would be able to turn on the hotspot feature and share my signal and data with my travel partner, but for some unknown reason the hotspot feature was not activated on my plan, no idea why, but this was a huge disappointment to us.

This experience was agony compared to a recent experience in the UK, which was relatively simple and less expensive. It seemed to me that in Spain non-EU people (me) had to deal with lots more grief than EU people... I think they would not have to fill out so much paperwork and it would not be so expensive. In the UK a traveller can buy a prepaid SIM card from a vending machine at Heathrow airport. I thought it would be similarly simple in Spain, but not in my experience.
 

Jim Stinson

ibrew4u
Camino(s) past & future
5/2015 CF
4/2017 CF
5/2019 CF fr Astorga
Beware the small shops selling SIM cards. I got a pair of them for my family, and as we walked out of the region, service stopped. Turns out the small local shops sell service within their region only.
Got an Vodafone card in the next large town and it worked for the rest of the trip.
I get a Mundo card in Madrid each time I walk now. Theres a shop near town center just off the lite rail on the way to the train station from the airport.
Now I see you can buy the same Mundo cards online before traveling. I’m giving that a try this year. Hopefully it will activate when I land and save me a trip to the store in Madrid.
 

Nev Sheather

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Walking now (2017)
I am coming from Australia so am not familiar with the different mobile networks in Spain. It would be good if I can get a SIM which will work in Europe as well as in Spain as I plan to be in several countries in Europe. Do I wait until I get there to buy one or just get a global SIM?
I used Vodaphone, finding a shop when I got there. I guess you can Google where they are. The advantage was that the salespeople all spoke English!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Leon to Santiago (July 2018)
SJPdP to Leon followed by Primitivo (June 2019)
Planning next one...
Where can you buy it if starting in SJPdP? I’m actually starting in Lourdes flying thru Paris. What’s the earliest point we can buy it at? Hubby wants to make sure I report my whereabout everyday. I’m going solo. 😁
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Where can you buy it if starting in SJPdP? I’m actually starting in Lourdes flying thru Paris. What’s the earliest point we can buy it at? Hubby wants to make sure I report my whereabout everyday. I’m going solo. 😁
You can buy a SIM card in France, and it will work in Spain too, as they have eliminated roaming charges in the EU (at least that's my understanding)
 

Old Kiwi

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016
Camino Frances 2019
SdC to Muxia and Fisterra 2019
Camino Portuguese "2020"
Last time on the Camino I used a smartphone and was set up for a Sim with phone and data by Orange in Pamplona and they were very helpful. This time I am hoping to just buy the cheapest phone (not smartphone) that will allow me phone calls and texts on a pre-paid sim. I do not need the facilities of a smart phone, just to be able to phone my companion if we are separated or to book a hostel. I would also like to send a text or two to my wife in New Zealand. Does anyone know if this is possible?
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
After a lot of searching, i opted for these guys. Data packages, cheap calling, credit doesn't expire and works almost worldwide.
@Maxcheese, do you know if there is flexibility of which providers this SIM uses? If it's cheap and can piggyback off any available signal, that could be the way around the 'dead zones' on some caminos, where one local provider works but another one might not.

If you have a card from Orange or Movistar or Vodafone (or whatever), you're stuck with their coverage. But if this travel SIM isn't married to any particular provider, that could be a wonderful solution to problems people who walk long and/or remote caminos sometimes experience with a dedicated SIM.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Lourdes/Burgos/SdeC (by train) 77; Frances 12,15,17; Finisterre 17; Lourdes/Aragones 18; Meseta 19.
I unexpectedly needed a sim card in Sanguesa last year (long story). The friendly clerk at a shop on the Calle Mayor said "Try Llamaya", a brand I'd never heard of before.... I did. It met all my simple needs perfectly.

https://www.llamaya.com/tarifas-prepago/
Bought a 5 Euros LLAMAYA sim card in Logrono at the beginning of my latest walk.... Gave me absolutely everything I needed for a full three weeks. Very satisfied customer.

Can't beat 5 Euros!!!!!
 

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