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Where to get my SIM...on Camino Francés???

Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Mid-March (2018)
#1
Good morning all!

I am leaving Canada in just 3 days for my very first camino! I will spend a day in Bayonne before arriving in SJPdP on March 15th, then will start walking on the 16th.

I want to have a SIM card for text/calling/data while I am on the camino, but am not sure where to buy it. I'm pretty sure I want to go with Vodafone, however should I buy it in France when I arrive in Paris, or should I wait until I get to Spain? I don't believe there is a Vodafone store in Roncesvalles. I was wondering what others have done. Will I have to wait until Pamplona, a major centre before being able to buy one?

Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated! :)

Buen Camino!
 

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KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#4
Thanks for the quick reply. Maybe I will buy it at the airport in Paris then.
If you buy it in France make sure you can top it up via internet or in Vodafone stores in Spain. Otherwise you can not buy it until Pamplona if you start in SJPdP.
In Roncesvalles you can find only a church, a monastery with albergue, hotel and two restaurants. No market, no phone shop either :)

Buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Mid-March (2018)
#5
If you buy it in France make sure you can top it up via internet or in Vodafone stores in Spain. Otherwise you can not buy it until Pamplona if you start in SJPdP.
In Roncesvalles you can find only a church, a monastery with albergue, hotel and two restaurants. No market, no phone shop either :)

Buen Camino!
Thanks KinkyOne! I will be in France/Spain for a total of 43 days, so since it's longer than one month, I suppose I could use the French SIM, then just get another in Spain at some point if there is an issue with topping up.
 

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falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#6
Thanks KinkyOne! I will be in France/Spain for a total of 43 days, so since it's longer than one month, I suppose I could use the French SIM, then just get another in Spain at some point if there is an issue with topping up.
You can recharge Vodafone in Spain if you need to. My data and voice did not expire after 30 days in February.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#8
Thanks KinkyOne! I will be in France/Spain for a total of 43 days, so since it's longer than one month, I suppose I could use the French SIM, then just get another in Spain at some point if there is an issue with topping up.
FYI. If you will eventually buy prepaid SIM card in Spain (I don't know about French ones) and if you plan to return your card will be working one year after last topping up. For Spanish one you will also need a passport to obtain it. It's something like an anti-terrorism act or decree.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Spring of 2018.
#9
Will the SIM cards generally work in the phone I bring from home (Texas)? I realize that it'll depend on the type of phone. I have T-Mobile so I'm not sure it'll be useful in Europe.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF15, CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF17, CP17, CdN, CM, CF18, LePuy19
#10
You need to make sure your phone has been unlocked. The simcards come in two sizes, the smaller card can be extracted from the larger card you buy to fit into an iPhone. I use T-Mobile in the US and from time to time will use it in Spain if the Orange or Vodaphone service doesn't work.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2017)
#11
Phone plans in the EU have free roaming, so your calling minutes and data go with you to any other EU country. Some countries have more competitive pricing than others. Currently, France seems to be the cheapest cell phone plans, and when I checked in Pamplona, Spanish plans seemed at least double the cost.

I landed at CDG in Paris and took the Metro directly to a Free Mobile office where I signed up for a €19 monthly plan that gave me a French phone number with unlimited calling and texts and 100 Gb of data. You need a French address, so I used my AirBnb site, but you can also use a hotel address. The SIM card itself costs an extra €10 with a €5 credit. I made sure that the SIM card was up and working before I left the store. Your US / Canadian phone needs to be unlocked. For comparison, I had an iPhone 6S plus.

I could call & text free to the US & Canada when traveling in France. When you travel to other EU countries, free calling to the US disappears (though the cost is nominal), so I switched to WhatsApp for phone and video calls. The internet speed in Spain and the Netherlands was as fast, or faster, than service in France, and I used this frequently for online data and Google Maps. I found that I rarely used WiFi networks because the Freedom Plan was faster, more secure, and I never ran out of data.

I recommend getting a small tool for removing your SIM card and a special plastic envelope for holding spare SIM cards. You don’t want to lose your U.S. card during your travels.

Free Mobile also worked when I landed back in the US with free calls and texts to the US & France. I waited about 24 hours before putting my Verizon SIM card back in, and it worked fine during that period.

Any drawbacks? Internet service in France could sometimes be slow in the countryside, but it always worked. Cancelling the plan requires mailing a letter with 10 days notice to their office in Paris, and it can’t be done online or in one of their retail outlets.

I will definitely use them again if the same plan exists when I return to France.
 

kmrice

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago - Fisterra 2008
St. Jean Pied de Port - Santiago 2013
#13
Will I have to wait until Pamplona, a major centre before being able to buy one?
If you don't get a SIM in France, your first chance to get a SIM in Spain will be as you approach Pamplona (day 2 or day 3 depending on whether you stop in Orrison). We used the Vodafone store in Burlada, on the main street the Camino follows walking toward Pamplona. The address is Calle Mayor, 29, 31600 Burlada, Navarra, Spain. It's about 3.4 km before Pamplona Center and about 11.5 km after Larrasoana. The store was very helpful and made sure the new SIM was working before they let me leave. Be sure your phone is a) unlocked, and b) GSM. Last time I checked, Verizon phones were not GSM.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Mid-March (2018)
#14
If you don't get a SIM in France, your first chance to get a SIM in Spain will be as you approach Pamplona (day 2 or day 3 depending on whether you stop in Orrison). We used the Vodafone store in Burlada, on the main street the Camino follows walking toward Pamplona. The address is Calle Mayor, 29, 31600 Burlada, Navarra, Spain. It's about 3.4 km before Pamplona Center and about 11.5 km after Larrasoana. The store was very helpful and made sure the new SIM was working before they let me leave. Be sure your phone is a) unlocked, and b) GSM. Last time I checked, Verizon phones were not GSM.



I have a new iPhone 8+ with Rogers in Canada. I bought it out right from Apple so it’s definitely unlocked and shouldn’t have a problem with GSM. Thanks for the information about the Vodafone store. I’ll keep that in mind.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018. Many more to come in my future God willing !
#15
That was/is a wealth of information - - - Thank you to all.........
 

Jen Marsden

Charging The Globe
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 2016 (Walked Frances)
Sept 2019 (Planning Norte or Via De La Plata)
#16
I bought one from Orange in Pamplona. You will need ID and while it sounds confusing, I got a postpaid monthly setup which gave me 2Gb a month from memory. I just topped up the data using an online service like recharge.com It was super easy and very affordable. This is a link to the France orange holiday sim card service.
https://topup.orange.com/faq-transpays/faq-about-orange-holiday-france-offer/
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 will be Camino #14.
#17
Well, you're probably there by now.
I personally never bother getting a SIM card for France, since you're only there one or two days.
I get mine in Pampona at Vodafone.
Been using them for years and love their service and prices.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances - June 2018
#18
I have a new iPhone 8+ with Rogers in Canada. I bought it out right from Apple so it’s definitely unlocked and shouldn’t have a problem with GSM. Thanks for the information about the Vodafone store. I’ll keep that in mind.
I'm there starting in Paris for 3 days end of May and then walking Camino Frances in Spain for all June and into July - please let this fellow Canadian know what u used !
 

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