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International SIM review - around the world with giffgaff



5 minute read

An international traveller needs a mobile phone network that is reliable and affordable.

On March 31st 2019 my boyfriend, Stewart, and I left our home in Shropshire, England, and started our circumnavigation of the world by bicycle. This 24,000 mile (38,600kms) adventure will take us, by bicycle, across 30 countries over 2 years.

We’ve been adapting to life on the road for 4 months, we’ve cycled 5,000 miles (8,000kms) through Europe and we’re currently resting in Baku, Azerbaijan, and soon we’ll cross the Caspian Sea to Kazakstan. From Kazakstan our trip will get really exciting!

So how does giffgaff help us?

bike tour best data SIM europe

Over the last 4 months our mobile phones have proven to be incredibly important and useful for this trip - more important than we first gave them credit for.

Our mobile phones are used daily. We update our families daily (okay, almost daily) with a text message. We use our phones and mobile data to book hotels and, because we’re cycling the world, we often book our accommodation last minute on the road, so a reliable data package is very important to us.

On top of this we turn to our mobile phones and data packages to help navigate through foreign countries, we’ve been able to communicate with people who don’t speak English via Google translate and we research new countries and cultures. Without our mobile phones we’d be lost.

It’s what I know and love!

I left England with my giffgaff SIM card, and a goodybag - simply because I’ve been part of the giffgaff community for over 5 years. I knew and trusted giffgaff - I could top up my phone online and there’s an online community should I need it. giffgaff make things easy and that makes me feel safe and secure.

As we got used to our new lifestyle on the road, one without a base and regular Wi-Fi connection, we relied heavily on data roaming and data packages. giffgaff allowed me the freedom to increase my data packages easily. I was able to select my goodybags based on the country I was in and an estimate on how much data I would need. Some months we’d camp a lot, so more data was needed as we wouldn’t have the luxury of a hotel with Wi-Fi.

On more than one occasion, when I was running low on data giffgaff dropped me a friendly text and gave me a free GB, which was incredibly useful for me as a budget traveller.

From the beginning I anticipated that I’d eventually need to switch from giffgaff and buy a SIM in the local country to keep connected, but as I made way over borders I was surprised to receive a text from giffgaff: ‘Calls, texts and data will now come out of your normal UK allowance, just like being at home.”

giffgaff’s plans can be used in the EU and in selected destinations.

Outstanding data roaming in the EU and selected destinations

bike tour best data SIM europe

My cycle-touring adventure will take me through 30 countries - and giffgaff can be used in 18 of them. giffgaff has 46 countries in it’s “Data - Zone A” packages meaning data is just 20p/MB. In these countries I can use giffgaff alone and I don’t need to buy another SIM card.

What’s even more impressive for me is that Zone A countries includes countries like China, Australia and the USA. These are large countries - and you can imagine it’ll take a long time to cycle through these countries, an estimate of 3 months per country. Knowing we have giffgaff available is incredibly reassuring. Thanks to their selected destinations I’ll be turning to giffgaff for the majority of my travel.

My mobile phone is essentially my life line now - and I love knowing that giffgaff can be used anywhere should I need it.

Cycling for a good cause

Our world cycling tour has gained some attention from friends, family, neighbours and people we meet along the way. We decided to cycle the world in loving memory of my best friend, Leanne Brownhill who we suddenly and tragically lost in 2013 to cardiac arrest. We’re raising money for Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY).

We have raised over £850 so far and we have an ambitious target of £5,000. People who donate and follow the trip look forward to the daily updates on our blog and social media and giffgaff enables me to keep them in the loop - sharing the stories of the wonderful people we meet on route, the generous donations received and the highs and lows of the adventure.

giffgaff is a brand I genuinely love and feel invested in. A company that can be reached online and ultimately a trusted brand and service that’s proven itself to be brilliant long term. giffgaff have never let me down in 5 years - this was the protection I felt I needed from my network provider.

bike tour best data SIM europe
bike tour best data SIM europe
bike tour best data SIM europe

Zoe & Stewart left their home in England on March 31st 2019. They’ve been on the road for 4 months and have recently left Europe. The next part of their adventure will be the most challenging as they tackle the desert of Kazakstan and Uzbekistan.

Their adventure can be followed on

Written by zoeashbridge

Zoe Ashbridge is currently cycling the world by bicycle in memory of her best friend. Zoe and her boyfriend Stewart will cycle 24,000 miles (36,000kms) across 30 countries over 2 years.