Navigating layovers: a guide to budget-friendly phone data options

June 14, 2024

Hello travelers! 

Are you facing the dilemma of staying connected during a layover without breaking the bank? You're not alone! Many of us have found ourselves in the same situation, wondering about the best and cheapest options for phone data while on a layover.

Imagine this scenario: you’re on your way from Europe to Singapore, with a layover in Qatar for about 8 hours, both flying in and out. You're eager to explore the city during your layover but are unsure about venturing out without a working phone. Or perhaps you simply need to get some work done while at the airport.

So, what are your options?

Relying solely on airport Wi-Fi: a risky gambit?

Of course, there's always the temptation to rely solely on Wi-Fi for connectivity, but is it really the safest bet? While it can work in some cases, it also comes with its fair share of risks. Connecting to airport Wi-Fi networks can expose you to hackers who may steal sensitive information, putting you at risk of identity theft and financial fraud. Plus, depending on the availability and reliability of Wi-Fi networks, you might find yourself without internet access when you need it most.


Roaming is another option, but it often comes with hefty fees and unexpected charges. Even with spend caps in place, it's easy to rack up high charges without realizing it. If you’re concerned about high roaming charges (and you should be), the easiest way to avoid this is to turn roaming off. 

Simply head to 'Settings' on your phone and turn off data roaming.

Turning off data roaming altogether can provide some peace of mind, but it also means sacrificing access to important apps and services. 

Physical prepaid SIM cards vs. regional eSIMs

Let's weigh the options: physical prepaid SIM cards or regional eSIMs.

First up, physical prepaid SIM cards. Picture this: you land in Qatar, and there's a buffet of telco companies offering tempting data deals like $5 for 30 days. Sounds good, right? But here's the snag: if your Qatar stint is just a layover, you probably won't even come close to using up that 30-day deal. Plus, managing two cards– your regular one and the new SIM – can be a hassle. Who needs that extra headache?

Now, onto regional eSIMs. Sleek, seamless, and no need to fumble with physical cards. Just a quick download, and you're set. But hold up – only unlocked phones can play nice with eSIMs. Not sure if it's unlocked? A simple test with another SIM from home will reveal if your phone's eSIM-ready or not. If it's a green light, you're all set. If not, well, back to the drawing board.

But here's the catch with eSIMs. While they offer convenience, they come with their own set of quirks. Say goodbye to spontaneous data purchases; with eSIMs, it's all about planning ahead and, let's face it, paying a pretty penny for those bundles. And when you finally touch down at your destination, brace yourself for yet another eSIM installation and the perennial question: how much data do I need this time?

Talk about a headache, right? 

But fear not, because with Firsty, things get a whole lot easier. Let me explain how.

The Firsty app = your all-in-one global eSIM solution

So back to our example where you land in Qatar for your layover: as soon as you open the Firsty app, you instantly have free internet. No messing with passwords or logging in, and you don't even need a credit card. While you wait for your next flight, Firsty Free covers everything from emails to chatting on WhatsApp, or even booking a taxi if you're exploring the city.

And if you want faster internet, just switch from Firsty Free to Fast. Here's the best part: no need to buy data bundles upfront, playing the guessing game of how much data you'll need. You can even save your data for later - it never expires! Compare it to a parking app: activate it when you land, so in this case Qatar, and hit pause when you're soaring back in the clouds. Simple, easy, and all about giving you control.

This way, you'll pay 60 times less than you would for your typical international data bundle, plus you can use your credit for as long as you like. And the catch? There isn't one. Because we have access to every provider on the planet, we can always negotiate in your favor. That's how we keep our prices nice 'n low. As they should be. 

When it's time to board again, forget about finding a new eSIM or Wi-Fi at your next stop. With Firsty, you can hop on the plane knowing you'll stay connected as you travel to Singapore.

Whether it's a work trip or an adventure, with Firsty, you're always online and always connected.

Your perfect travel buddy!

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