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SIM card - purchasing in U.S. prior to departure

Miami Beach, Fl
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729 posts
184 reviews
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SIM card - purchasing in U.S. prior to departure

We have an international unlocked android phone and would like to purchase a SIM card with a data plan. We'll be using it for google maps while we are driving and calling the bed & breakfasts and restaurants.

I was thinking of purchasing the SIM card with data plan with TIM in the U.S. prior to our departure, even though I recognize that it is more expensive. I would appreciate if you would please check my reasoning and let me know if I'm overlooking another perspective.

1. We have a 2 hour layover in Rome before connecting to our flight to Palermo. That doesn't seem to be sufficient time for SIM card purchase and ensuring that the card is activated; we have to go through passport control, baggage claim and customs, get over to the domestic gates and board our flight.

2. Palermo airport doesn't have a store to purchase a SIM card.

3. Castellammare del Golfo has a store where we could purchase a SIM card (I saw this on another TripAdvisor post). This is on our way from the airport to Scopello where we are staying. But after an overnight international flight and luggage in our car, I don't think it would flow well. We could stop in the next day when we're visiting Segesta and Erice, but the process of finding the store, going through the paperwork and waiting for activation might turn into a 2+ hour project - time that could be spent touring.

4. By purchasing in the U.S. prior to departure, my understanding is that the SIM would work upon arrival and we have access to English speaking customer service.

It's from Telestial: www.telestial.com/view_product.php…

There is also a SIM rental from Cellular Abroad: www.cellularabroad.com/DataSIMitaly.php

Thanks in advance for comments and insights!

Natchitoches...
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123 posts
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1. Re: SIM card - purchasing in U.S. prior to departure

Hello Journeyer,

Am rather in the same boat myself, and was just wondering if you did purchase the SIM card through Telestial in advance, and if so, how did it work out for you?

Here & There
Destination Expert
for Sicily, Taormina
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95,654 posts
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2. Re: SIM card - purchasing in U.S. prior to departure

Journeyer's plan - Which driving map(s) to take to Sicily?:

tripadvisor.com/…48256859

Vagabonda

Natchitoches...
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123 posts
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3. Re: SIM card - purchasing in U.S. prior to departure

Really not interested in maps at this point. However, am looking at the SIM card experience through Telestial.

Here & There
Destination Expert
for Sicily, Taormina
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95,654 posts
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4. Re: SIM card - purchasing in U.S. prior to departure

But Journeyer did purchase a SIM card with service from TIM in advance of her trip from Telestial on-line - Cell Phone Tip:

tripadvisor.com/…49957359

Vagabonda

Here & There
Destination Expert
for Sicily, Taormina
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95,654 posts
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5. Re: SIM card - purchasing in U.S. prior to departure

Also....

Live Trip Report!

tripadvisor.com/…49992057

SimCard:

tripadvisor.com/…45338256

Vagabonda

St Paul, MN
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6 reviews
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6. Re: SIM card - purchasing in U.S. prior to departure

"This is on our way from the airport to Scopello where we are staying. "

This is only kinda, sorta fron looking on the map. You will be taking A29 to Castellammare getting off at that exit onto SS731 as shown on this map

https://maps.google.com/maps/ms…

But then you sill be bypasssing most of Castellammae by getting onto SS187 to get to Scopello

https://maps.google.com/maps/ms…

then onlto this twink highway SP63 northward to Scopello

https://maps.google.com/maps/ms…

To stop in Castellammare woud require getting off the highway onto a local exit and purposefully driving into Castellammare.

I stayed in Castellammare for 2 weeks in Feb 2010 and drove through Scopello on the way to the Zingaro Natrue preserve more than once.

Natchitoches...
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123 posts
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7. Re: SIM card - purchasing in U.S. prior to departure

Gotcha, and thanks. I think we may lean toward a general international phone and SIM card at this point though. Telestial offers one for $19, and I'm going to take a guess that it would bounce around the TIM network/towers too. Plus it would be good for travel in other countries (for instance if we get waylayed during a plane change) or other future destinations.

Scranton...
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412 posts
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8. Re: SIM card - purchasing in U.S. prior to departure

Danstac,

I purchased a TIM card from Telestial in May of 2013. While the TIM card itself is great (and offers some very good data plan options), Telestial was NOT great.

Contrary to their promises, the card wasn't activated when I arrived in Venice, making it very difficult to coordinate with my rental agent. I contacted their customer service via Skype, and was told, basically, tough luck, go find a TIM store. I wound up wasting half a day in Venice trying to find a TIM store to activate the card.

Telestial eventually wound up refunding half my money, but I would never recommend them. They don't follow through, and their customer service is worthless. If you can possibly purchase your TIM while in Italy, you'll save yourself money and aggravation (since you'll undoubtedly wind up having to visit a TIM store anyway).

Edited: 04 January 2014, 17:17
9. Re: SIM card - purchasing in U.S. prior to departure

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