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Hockeylovinmom

VPN? SIM card? Or both in China

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I am confused about whether I need a VPN or a SIM card or both on my upcoming trip to China, Japan and South Korea. Can anyone shed some light on the subject. I mainly plan on sending pictures and messages “home” from my visits. I could foresee making calls to my cruise ship if I happen to get separated (or lost) from my tour group. Thank you.

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Who is your current carrier? Some carriers have international roaming that might work better for you.

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Posted (edited)

Who's your phone carrier?  The biggies AT$T, Veri$ion, and T-Mobile all have international plans, check with them and you won't have to get a SIM card.  We have T-Mobile that includes coverage for over 120 countries.  SWMBO's iThingy there were no issues except maybe the speed; I have an older phone and it was basically a camera.   

 

U only need a VPN if you're planning on using the internet a lot,  the Great Firewall blocks out about 90% of non-Chinese websites.  Anything Google and a lot of VPNs are blocked.  

Edited by Philob

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Are you using iPhone or Android - does it have global/world band as China's main LTE frequencies are a little different from N.A. - same is true for Japan, although they are more flexible.  SK is more strict with prepaid sims from non-residents & visitors, those are best "rented" on arrival, which you might not need for a short/port stop visit - many places have ultra fast WiFi, free or with a small purchase at cafe & places. 

 

Gmail & Google accounts might be blocked sometimes while in China, maybe but as long as you aren't doing, sending or receiving anything sensitive - VPN really isn't necessary as an extra layer.

 

If you are a frequent world traveler & cruiser, I highly recommend looking into Google Fi - inexpensive coverage including fast 4G/LTE at highly competitive & reasonable rates in 170+ countries, and iOS (iPhones) devices are now supported although the main platform is Android.  DW has been on their plan for 3+ years, her monthly charges are usually under $40 w. taxes/fees & when we cruise abroad, seldom spend more than $10, $20 or $30 extra on top depending on how much "roaming data we burn, including tethering on multiple devices and 3 active data only sims thar piggyback on the single line.  $10 per 1GB of fast "roaming" LTE data in the Caribbeans, Bermuda & Canada, etc. and it is VPN encrypted when possible on secured WiFi networks.  

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Thank you to all who have given me good advice. I will be investigating these ....very helpful ! 👍 

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