I'm going to be in France for about a month this summer and I'm trying to work out how set up my phone. I will be staying in a house with WiFi most of the time, and not making many phone calls, maybe a few back to the US in a month. The main thing I want to be able to do on my phone while traveling is viewing maps and reading about restaurants and such.

First, I've got a Samsung Galaxy S8+ CDMA (Verizon) in the USA.

I could use the "TravelPass" plan on my regular Verizon account but this is absurdly expensive for very little voice and data.

I could set up a Google Fi account, but I don't know much about it, and it seems more expensive than a local sim card. So:

I guess I should get a local sim card, such as the Orange, but I don't know much about this. Is there a better plan? Should I get the card in France and how hard is that to do? Or should I get it before I leave? Amazon sells one and the reviews are about 60% good, but still about 20% of the reviews are 1 star, complaining about activation problems.

The Orange card also has a 14 day limit that I don't quite understand. I think it means it's only good for 14 days and then you have to "top off", but I don't quite understand the fine print here.

There is also this CellHire card, which has better reviews and a 60 day limit, which sounds better. But this seems to be data only, and can't be topped off.

Can someone give some general guidance about what to look for and what to watch out for?

  • This is awfully broad; requests for "general guidance" don't work well with the Stack Exchange format. You can eliminate Google Fi because that only works with Pixel and Nexus devices. As to your other options, "CDMA" is not that important (everybody converged on LTE for 4G), but whether or not you can use a different SIM card depends on whether your phone is unlocked or not. Beyond that, this is just a shopping question, and there are lots of sites that specialize in comparing mobile plans.
    – choster
    Jul 15, 2019 at 1:27
  • @choster: I'm not really asking for shopping advice, I'm asking to better understand the way the mobile networks in Europe work, so I know what to look for when I do go shopping. Jul 15, 2019 at 2:06


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