calling cards vs local sim

TS Writer Chhavi Doonga spoke to a few globetrotters. And here’s their opinion:

Subani Saxena – Journalist

Places visited recently: Macau, Bangkok and Dubai.

“I admit that international calling cards are very tempting, especially the kind of hassle free service they pretend to offer. But my experience with them has been dreadful! I bought a Matrix card for one of my trips and it never worked. After making a few calls to the customer care I realized that the card I had paid a bomb for, was not supposed to work on my phone at all and apparently I should have known this information myself.

Henceforth, what I always do is to buy a local SIM card from the local market and not from the airport. The markets offer you a lot more options to choose from and one can always end up saving some money. It’s a cheap and efficient choice.”

Debayan Chaudhary – Student

Places visited recently: Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand.

“I’ve had some really bad experiences with my SIM card. My trip to Singapore was successful till I came back to an unbelievable check for my phone – thanks to the unnecessary credit that roaming had got me into. But since then I have been using international calling cards which are pretty expensive but I prefer them because they have a fixed price and there are no shockers in the end.

The problem with local cards is the hassle they come with, I bought a local SIM for a 4 day trip to Dubai and it was activated on the 3rd day – which was of no use to me.”

Lalit Kapoor – Director, Hospitality Industry.

Places visited recently: Europe, Qatar, Dubai, USA and Nepal.

“Since I travel to mostly the same countries over the year, I usually buy a local SIM of that country and keep it with me for further use. In fact I always stick to a local SIM and have never felt the need to experiment with anything else.

Roaming and international cards both are extremely expensive and not worth the investment. For people who have to travel regularly, I think local cards are the best option,”

Namit Vashishtha – Engineer

Places visited recently: Egypt, Jakarta and Dubai.

“Roaming in Dubai had cost me a credit of more than 5 grand! I bought an international calling card for Macau once and didn’t think the investment was worth it. Local calling cards are usually considered cheaper options but if you are going to go to an expensive country with a huge exchange rate then even local cards aren’t very friendly.

Hence, I have started focusing on a beautiful thing called the internet. Whatever SIM card I buy, I make sure that I use it as less as possible and do all the talking in the hotel room through Wi-Fi, because my experience with everything else has been bad.”

ExpertSpeak: Deepak Narula – Director, Aman Travels Pvt Ltd.

“I’ve seen people having a very bad time with Matrix because it doesn’t’t have plans for each and every country, plus its meter runs really fast. The only good thing about roaming is that you don’t have to let go of your number and it is easily accessible. Otherwise roaming is the most expensive, but it is good if one can afford it. Otherwise, it should be the least preferred option.

Undoubtedly the best way to go is to buy a local SIM as soon as you land at the airport. It has better plans, there is no hassle and can also use internet without any problem. One would end up paying much less through a local SIM card as compared to the other options. “

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