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If you’re visiting London and the UK from abroad, we’re sure that you’d like to be able to use your phone to access Google Maps, look up information, buy last-minute theatre tickets, and of course communicate with your travel group and your friends and family back home. But it can be confusing to figure out what’s the best way for you to stay connected that isn’t too expensive but is also convenient. So in this article we’ll give you some options so you can work out which will work best for your trip and situation. You’ll be connected in no time.

*Some of the links in the article are affiliated and help support our free content.

A girl receiving a phone call at her work trip. International packages can help you with using your US phone in London

1. Check with your phone provider about an international plan

Some mobile providers have reasonably priced international plans for limited amounts of time. This is usually the easiest option for being able to use your phone while in London, but the price of this will vary from carrier to carrier. Call your provider to see what options they can offer for using your phone in London while you’re visiting, and if it seems like a reasonable daily charge, then go with this option.

Get a local sim to dock into your phone so that you can use your US phone in London

2. Use a UK SIM

When Jess travels outside of Europe, she usually ends up buying a cheap SIM so that she can easily stay connected, for cheap. You can do this in London if you have an unlocked smartphone, just check with your mobile provider to see if you do (most are these days).

When you arrive, visit a supermarket, convenience store, or a mobile phone shop to pick up a pay-as-you-go SIM. You can also get them at the airport, they’re generally a bit more expensive due to the convenience factor. 

Or if you want to have your SIM with you by the time you touch down in London, order a free SIM ahead of time from Giff Gaff. They’ll send it to you at home, just follow the instructions for set up and you’ll be good to go.

Most sim providers in the UK offer sufficient data for cheap

3. Use an e-Sim

Even easier than getting a physical SIM is to use an e-SIM. Just download the e-SIM’s app, choose a SIM for the UK and the amount of time you will be travelling, and buy it. You’ll then get to use data just like you would at home, and without having to change your phone number (which you would have to do with a regular SIM).

We recommend getting your e-SIM from Airlo.


wiFi is available alomst everywhere around the city so you don't have to worry about using your US phone in London

4. Find wifi around London

Wifi is sorta easy to find around London if you’ll need it, however, it’s not super reliable and there’s also the security aspect of using public wifi while checking banking apps and looking at other sensitive data.

Remember that if you have our London Itineraries, that your digital map works best with a data connection when you’re out and about, so the first three options are the best for you.

So the above options mentioned are the best ways for tourists to be able to use a phone while visiting the UK. Which option will work best for you will depend on your situation.

More London planning tips:

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How to use Your Phone when Visiting the UK from Abroad

Jessica Dante

Jess is the founder of Love and London, an online travel guide that helps London tourists to visit London like they live there. She's been featured in Refinery29, Forbes, BBC Radio 2, HuffPost, and more. Jess is also a sustainable and ethical travel advocate.

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