After blowing some bucks on a long trip to Spain and buying data and being as miserly as I could be with it and still being disappointed and lighter in my wallet I want to thank Republic for handing me a gig for free. Yes, it will come in handy and has assuaged my wounded wallet.
Being away for a long time necessitates staying in touch with banks, neighbors at home, etc. Our days of hauling a notebook computer came to an end with this trip, so the phone was on the frontline of communication back to the home country. Despite reviews by the computer and travel magazines it’s still more than you want to shell out for data and internet. Inserting a foreign SIM is comforting…at first. Then, it quickly becomes a matter of recognizing which apps are using the most data, disabling the unnecessary offenders, disabling Google helpfulness that is not helpful, and uninstalling some apps in the hope of saving as much data as possible. I delved deep into the phone to mine anything not necessary. I turned-off data use and data roaming within seconds of jumping off the 'net. Didn’t help much, apparently.
My answer was to ditch the data plan I had planned to use after a too-soon refill ( I used Telestial ) and instead I bought internet local/minutes from a local small phone store that were country specific. For the 7 gigs of Republica Movil internet/phone minutes I paid 10 euro = $11.20 US and somehow it lasted an incredibly long time; much, much longer than the Telestial data which had been offered at a good price. I’ll spare you the details of my multiple calls to Telestial support.
For phone calls I used my backup - a suggestion I first found here on the forum - CSip Simple WiFi phone calls good for global calls which also came in handy (long story there). I had originally setup that account months earlier for possible use during any hurricane event at home. CSip saved my bacon when I received a photo from my neighbor of my house with a lake in the front yard - a man made lake formed by a burst city water main. “We have waterfront property, honey, and it’s not global warming or aqua alta.”
WiFi (pronounced in romance language countries “WeeFee”) is a good thing wherever you can buy some gigs for a few euros, but don’t trust those services with banking or other financial logins and they helpfully tell you that at the movil phone store, but for a few weeks of internet it’s a lot better than some of the data provider$ blessed by the magazines. Been dere, done did dat.
Keep the Republic SIM in until the plane exits the border unless you are going to use the in-flight WiFi (expensive). Buy a local internet/phone minutes SIM over there. They will set it up in the store for you. Forget staying in touch with your bank. You can always call them with CSip Simple if you have to.