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Ready SIM for International Travellers to the US – Review

by Mary Chong
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NOTE: Ready Sim has re-branded to ZIP SIM as of April 2016

Travelling and staying connected with friends, family and work is a big deal.

It all sounds so dreamlike to disconnect entirely from “life” but we all know this isn’t practical in the internet age of always being connected. Plus how else would we be able to get maps and directions via GPS, change reservations and access our online itineraries and digital boarding passes.

As a Canadian, I’ve been using Roam Mobility (read our article Roam Mobility for Canadian Travellers) when travelling throughout the USA and it’s been working out really well.

But what are International travellers to do when they are in the USA?

Have you heard about Ready SIM for international travellers?

Ready SIM is a great option for International travellers who are infrequent travellers to the USA or for Americans travelling within the USA who are looking for a contract-free short-term wireless service.

Keep in mind though that you do need to have an unlocked cell phone in order to use this service.

All Ready SIM plans include unlimited talk within the USA, a local phone number, voicemail, unlimited international text and 4G LTE Data.

I was sent a prepaid 7-day Ready SIM card to test out while I was in Texas and here’s what I found.

Loving @ReadySim as I tour around Texas! Thanks kindly for the great service!

A photo posted by Calculated Traveller (@calculatedtraveller) on

How Ready SIM Works

It’s actually really easy. You just need to know 2 things. You need to know what size SIM card your phone takes. AND You need to choose a plan. 7, 14, 21, and 30 day Talk + Text + Data plans OR 500MB, 1GB and 2GB Data-only plans That’s it! To install the Ready SIM card.

  • Turn your phone off.
  • Remove your “home” SIM and insert your Ready SIM card.
  • Turn the power on.
  • Send a text message to 7850 with your 5-digit US ZIP code.
  • You’ll receive a text message with your plan details and your US phone number.
  • For cellular data you may need to change your APN settings.

From this point onwards it’s just business as usual. I had no issues activating the service nor did I experience any dropped calls or downtime with the service. I was travelling in very urban areas though so I can’t say what the service would be like in rural neighbourhoods. There were only 2 incidents that made me pause. One was a wrong number call and the other was a telemarketing call. When you think about it, it makes sense, there are only so many phone numbers in existence within each state so, it’s bound to happen. Not a big deal but I was just taken aback when the calls came through.

Ready SIM Pros

  • Comes in Standard, Micro or Nano sizes
  • It is a single use card so unless you top it up before the plan expires – it won’t work again.
  • Due to the fact that the SIM card is disposable once it expires the information contained on the SIM card is secure and not accessible. So this makes it a good option if you worry about your privacy. Of course you should make sure that you destroy the SIM card completely and don’t just toss it in the trash.
  • Easy to install and use. I was up and running in just a few minutes.
  • You can pre-purchase Ready SIM cards and keep them in your travel stash until you need them. The plan doesn’t start counting down until you actually activate the SIM in your cell phone
  • Order process was easy. Shipping was fast and tracking was provided.

Ready SIM for International Travellers - Review by Calculated Traveller

Ready SIM Cons

  • You are limited to their coverage map and there are distinct areas of the United States that are blacked out such as Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota.
  • I did receive 1 wrong phone call and 1 telemarketer call on my cell phone.
  • When you text a friend from your address book, they won’t recognize that it’s you because the text will show that it’s from a US cell number vs your normal home mobile number. I kept forgetting this and friends would reply back to my texts with puzzling “who is this?” messages LOL
  • Unlimited talk is only valid to phone numbers within the USA. So, you’ll have to use other online calling methods if you wish to place a call outside of the USA or just text instead. Ready SIM does have a brand new Pre-paid International Long-Distance Add-on available starting as little as 1 cent/minute depending on the country you are calling.

Ready SIM Tips

  • After you activate and receive your Ready SIM cell number via text message, write it down somewhere just to make it convenient so you don’t have to go into your messages again to give someone the number. An idea would be to stick a piece of masking tape on the back of your phone (that won’t permanently harm the finish of your phone of course) and then write your cell number on it.
  • Remember to bring the SIM card port pin with you so that you can open the cell phone port – pins aren’t all the same length/size and the one you borrow from your neighbour sitting across the aisle on the plane may not work in your phone.
  • Carry something to store your home SIM card in. I use an empty SD card case to store my home SIM and port pin and put the whole thing into my wallet so that I don’t lose it.
  • Load your Ready SIM card into your cell phone on the plane before you land. It’s much easier to do this on your tray table on the plane versus on your lap in a moving taxi.
  • You can top up your Ready SIM card online to extend your current plan but your current plan has to still be active or your plan has to have expired within the last 72 hours.

Ready SIM for International Travellers - Review by Calculated Traveller

Do you feel it’s important to be “connected” when travelling?

I received product from Ready SIM for review purposes. This had no bearing on my review of this item. As always, all my opinions are my own.

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Tony Bettley January 5, 2016 - 2:45 pm

Worked ok with a UK phone in NY. Need to know what your phone will do before buying ReadySim. My wouldn’t do 4G in US! Logged in as requested, phone activated ok but never received any text confirmation. Had to text friend to find out the number! Boarding pass SMS never got to me either. Data coverage not bad. I had mainly H+.

Bridgett Wilbur July 7, 2015 - 6:43 pm

I think it is very important to stay connected.

Thomas Murphy July 7, 2015 - 4:40 pm

Yes I always want to be connected.

Amanda Sakovitz July 7, 2015 - 10:30 am

Yes, I think its important to stay in touch with family and friends.

Birdiebee July 6, 2015 - 7:29 pm

Yes, it is important to be connected when traveling as well as having a phone in case of an emergency.

Alouise July 6, 2015 - 7:26 pm

Yes. I haven’t been connected while traveling and it always runs me into problem, whether it’s not being able to confirm reservations or needing to navigate to my destination.

Arianne Mae C Capaciete July 3, 2015 - 5:15 pm

It’s important to be connected

Elena June 30, 2015 - 9:57 am

It’s important to be connected so your family knows you’re safe when traveling


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