It seemed like a crazy idea - work outside the United States without a SIM card. Here's why it was a good idea and not crazy at all.
No one wants extra baggage, responsibilities, tasks, or time wasters when traveling. Every time I travel I try to bring or use less stuff. We live in a WiFi world now. You can leverage your existing phone plan to make calls.
Plus, I'm less tempted to do stupid things with my phone like check it constantly.
How did I work remote without a SIM card / international phone plan?
- Used WiFi calling - I received calls, made calls, received texts and sent texts with my AT&T phone plan using the WiFi calling feature of my iPhone. It sends call data over WiFi so you don't need a cellular service.
- Tapped into family cellular service when needed using the hotspot feature of a family member who already has a phone plan. Truthfully, I actually didn't need to do this but it was an option.
- Used the offline maps feature of Google Maps to use Google Maps when not connected to the internet. Internationally, Apple Maps was terrible -- very few locations listed and the few that were listed had vitally no information about the location.
- Utilized coffee shops for working. Every coffeeshop has WiFi. Coworking spaces would be an option as well if I needed to work on hard-focus tasks.
The WiFi calling feature is pretty impressive. From Indonesia, I made a call to a U.S. number for ANA Airlines based in San Francisco, which appeared as coming from my U.S. phone number, which ANA Airlines then routed the call to Japan. Crazy.
The only weird things that show up when working internationally over WiFi is some sites are blocked and some Google searches will appear in a foreign language. Using a VPN would fix these issues, but I don't like the idea of complicating and slowing my Internet connection unless I actually have to.
In some ways, traveling without an Internet connection is a challenge. Could you find your way to your destination without using technology if you were lost? Create a moment of personal growth. Traveling is about growing... even if you are working when traveling.
Time Away From Thumbscrolling
When driving around town, it was nice to just observe surroundings and not constantly check my phone. Not having constant Internet connectivity can calm you down. Be in the moment.