Why we have a travel phone (and you should too!)

Last Updated on August 14, 2019 by travelingwithsunscreen

We are all about packing light and traveling cheap. Less stuff means less things to lose, less difficulty squeezing into tiny airplane seats, and less chance of one day turning into an elderly person hobbled over due to one too many kilos on the back. Or so we hope. So, if we choose to add more items to our packing lists, there better be a good reason. And there are lots of reasons to bring a travel phone.

Why would I buy a new phone just for travel?

Fair question. First, if you are like us, you’ve succumbed to the strange but powerful compulsion to buy an iPhone. And those iPhones are expensive! Like, crazy expensive. So expensive that you might feel sad if yours got lifted out of your pocket on the Mexico City Metro or stolen by a criminally-minded monkey in Kuala Lumpur. Ouch. Replacing that might just cost more than your trip! And thinking about replacing it might make you glance about nervously while walking around a new city, guarding your phone with your life.

Second, there is tons of personal information on that phone that you might not want someone else getting their hands on. Passwords, the address of your Airbnb, bank account information, etc etc. Could be valuable to somebody else, and painful for you if they get it!

Third, your normal phone might be locked! This is mainly an issue for Americans, and means your phone is tied to a specific carrier (Verizon, AT&T, etc), preventing your from getting a local SIM card. This is extremely annoying, and can only be fixed by asking your carrier to unlock your phone after your service contract has expired. Or, you can just buy a cheap, unlocked travel phone that isn’t tied to any carrier.

Rebecca's travel phone
Rebecca’s beautiful Moto E4 travel phone

BUT – there’s a solution. You could just leave that expensive phone safely buried in your bag, and buy a much cheaper travel phone to carry around with you. If it gets stolen, broken, or walks off on its own, much smaller ouch!

So which phone to get?

Any low-mid range smartphone will do! Rebecca has the Moto E4, and Ethan has a Moto G6. The E4 is a bit outdated at this point, so we’d recommend new buyers go with the G6. In addition, Amazon has an exclusive version of this phone with more storage (64GB) and RAM (4GB) AND a lower price than the standard version ($179 at the moment). Go with this! As far as we’re concerned, it’s the best travel phone. It’s a fully functional, unlocked phone capable of all your travel needs (read: maps and more maps). It’s light, the battery lasts us through whole days of travel, and it has a totally OK camera to document strange occurrences. But don’t expect to win any photography contests with your travel phone – bring a real camera for that!

And the best feature of this or any other travel phone: it’ll remove one potential concern while traveling, and to us that is worth tons. The last thing you want to be thinking about while walking around a new city or crowding onto a bus is the whereabouts of your fancy electronics! If our travel phones go missing, it’ll be annoying but not a huge deal.

So while we suggest you look up from your phone from time to time while traveling, we also suggest being prepared with an unlocked, cheap travel phone. You’ll worry less, and be less of a pickpocketing target! When you roll into a new country, just grab a local SIM card and you’ll be all set.

Do you carry a travel phone? Which one? Let us know in the comments!

If you liked this post, you might also be interested in these!

How to Get Cell Data Abroad
Our Ultimate Packing List for Any Trip
Best Men’s Travel Clothing

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