How to Use Your Phone While Visiting London and the UK

  • Published on Feb 14, 2019
  • Visiting London from abroad? If you want to be able to use your phone while exploring London and the UK, here are your options for getting your foreign phone connected to 3G, calls and texts.
    More London trip planning tips:
    Important Things to Know Before Booking Your Flight to London:
    The card you need for London's transport system:
    What's the weather going to be like when you're in London?
    Free London 101 Guide:
    Mentioned in the video (some of these links are affiliated and help to support all of my free tips):
    Get a SIM sent to you before your London trip:
    Companies who provide a 3G Pocket Wifi Device to rent (I haven't personally tried these myself, FYI): and
    Daily London-y stuff on Instagram: loveandlondon
    Free London 101 Guide for first-time London visitors:
    Your first 3 days in London, completely planned for you:
    London resources (airport transfers, SIM cards, etc.):
    How to say thanks for the free advice:
    About Love and London:
    I'm Jess, I've lived in London for many years, and this channel is a London travel guide for anyone visiting the city that wants to experience it like you live here. Beyond talking about the usual London attractions, I show you some of the cooler things to do in London, that most travel guides don't mention. Watch my videos and you'll feel like you've got a Londoner friend telling you the best kept secrets in the city.

Comments • 51

  • Trivina Negzerial
    Trivina Negzerial 15 days ago

    Hey Jess, thanks I ended up getting a GiffGaff 6GB for 10 pounds, at the local Tesco Express. I'm just trying to work out if this is like the Orange Service where it can be used anywhere in the EU countries?

  • Theprncessbride
    Theprncessbride 4 months ago

    Is anyone else struggling to order a GiffGaff sim card?
    Everytime I try to order one, it says I need a London number starting with 07?????

    • Love and London
      Love and London  4 months ago

      You shouldn't need a phone number to get one? I'm not seeing any problems, sorry!

  • Wrongway Conway
    Wrongway Conway 5 months ago +4

    I use WhatsApp whenever we travel.

  • Aasim A
    Aasim A 6 months ago +8

    I bought a Lyca mobile sim card from hethrow airport 5gb of data and unlimited international calls , very useful when you need to call your bank for emergency .

  • Lauren Christine Ho
    Lauren Christine Ho 7 months ago

    I just got back from my 10 day visit to England and Jess’ videos helped me out so much! After going and actually purchasing an upgraded “3g” data plan through Sprint, I would 100% recommend to anyone that you opt for a pocket wifi device instead! My phone was very slow almost the entire trip, we would have spent less this way, and i think my phone would have been a lot faster.

    • Technosaurus Rex
      Technosaurus Rex 7 months ago

      Lauren. See my comment I posted about willmyphonework dot net. Can you look up your phone and see what is says, i'm just curious if the site is accurate.

    • Love and London
      Love and London  7 months ago +1

      Oh wow, good to know! Thanks Lauren :)

  • Alison
    Alison 7 months ago

    My phone that's from Google Project Fi, which switches networks as needed (I live in a rural area now), offers international service for both phone and data at the same price as here at home, just turn on international roaming and it's no extra charge. Another traveler on the Rick Steves' travel forum confirmed that it DID work for her. I plan to test it out in April, fingers crossed.

    • Love and London
      Love and London  7 months ago

      Wow, never heard of that but sounds like a great deal if it does work.

  • geocollazo
    geocollazo 8 months ago

    Hi Jess, I've already ordered the GiffGaff SIM card but wanted to know if it can be also used in other European countries as well? Also does it allow data tethering so I can use my phone as a mobile hotspot? Thanks!

    • Love and London
      Love and London  8 months ago

      Yes it can and I don't know what's going to happen with European roaming so best to ask Giffgaff what charges will be like for the EU. Data tethering usually depends on the SIM so I'm afraid I can't help with that!

  • Jon Johnson
    Jon Johnson 8 months ago


  • Esa Denise
    Esa Denise 8 months ago +1

    Can you do a video on woman who travel alone? Do they have Uber in London?

    • Love and London
      Love and London  8 months ago

      Yes there's Uber. Here's my video on solo travel:

  • Jesus Bible Revolution
    Jesus Bible Revolution 8 months ago

    Hello ! I'm a runner. .. so could please tell me places to run on London ? Thank you so much

    • Wrongway Conway
      Wrongway Conway 5 months ago

      Follow The Thames Path (goes all the way to Greenwich!). It's very clearly marked with distances and times posted for pedestrians and cyclists. I walked it from the Tower of London to the Cutty Sark in Greenwich in January. Beautiful! Also saw a lot of runners/joggers in Hyde Park.

    • Love and London
      Love and London  8 months ago

      Go along the river :)

  • Natalie Skoczylas
    Natalie Skoczylas 8 months ago

    I got the giffgaff sim delivered to me through your link! 😊 Can I switch it out as soon as I arrive in Gatwick so that I can start using it right away, or does it take a lot of time to set up and I should wait until I get to my hotel?

    • Love and London
      Love and London  8 months ago

      Should be fine to do it at Gatwick! You can do it while waiting on line at Border Control.

  • Carsten Bauer
    Carsten Bauer 8 months ago +2

    only 3g? Doesn't Europe have 4G yet? We have it in Australia for about 5 years already.

    • Jon Johnson
      Jon Johnson 8 months ago

      Yes, we've had it since about 2010, 5G starts this year.

    • Carsten Bauer
      Carsten Bauer 8 months ago

      Oh I understand now. So like mobile broadband... Or mobile data.

    • Love and London
      Love and London  8 months ago

      I was using 3G as a blanket statement for data.

    • NeverMetTheGuy
      NeverMetTheGuy 8 months ago +1

      The UK has 4G but outside of major cities it's a bit spotty from time to time.

  • กัญญาภัค อุดมศิลป์

    Should I buy a sim that call and surf the Internet or Internet only . I doubt that calling to my family by app such as Facebook or Line ,Is network good? Thank you

  • pipin3d
    pipin3d 8 months ago +1

    Awesome! Seriously been trying to figure out how our phones would work in London for weeks. Thank you for doing this! 👍

  • Tyler L
    Tyler L 8 months ago +11

    Indeed. From the US, I find it the easiest just to get the international plan, with the big carriers (AT&T, TMoible, Spring, Verizon, etc) it's $10 a day for the days you use it. Just activate the option in your plan (on line or they re do it over the phone for you) and it will ping once you arrive, nothing else needed. You'll be thankful for having full use of data when using maps to get about.

    Sims cards can work with unlocked phones but you run a slight risk of your phone not being able to recognize it. Other odd methods like tricking your phone into thinking it's still in the US have a high complication rate.

    • Kristie Hewlett
      Kristie Hewlett 3 months ago

      @K-Fan I have a couple of months until Walmart Mobil will unlock my phone. They have only a long distance phone call plan, I think. Would getting a pay as you go sim for (20-30 dollars) still work for my phone.

    • Love and London
      Love and London  8 months ago


  • Kristi S.
    Kristi S. 8 months ago +2

    I got a Wi-Fi device from Tep on my visit to the UK and I LOVED it. They had super easy pickup at Heathrow and the device came fully charged. It took maybe 5 minutes to get it set up and connected to my phone. It was awesome to be video chatting my family back in the US while I was at the British Museum or standing on the coast in Brighton.
    The device I picked up at the airport stopped working after a couple days and their customer service was super helpful. They had me take the broken device to left luggage facility at Victoria Station and, after a quick call to customer service, I had swapped out my broken device for a new one. It was annoying to have to change around my plans to accommodate the swap, but their people couldn't have been nicer about it. I had purchased a month plan, since I was going to be there just over 3 weeks and they refunded me the day rate for the 2 days I couldn't use the device.
    Definitely recommend!

  • Andrew Bergin
    Andrew Bergin 8 months ago +1

    Hi Jess Thanks for the vlog and information about phone's in London! I Love you're work and vlogs Australia

  • John Zee
    John Zee 8 months ago +1

    Hi Jess. Great info. I have read that it's good if bringing a phone or device to have it charged and ready, as airport security may request you to turn it on. Also not to buy any kind of pre- paid phones or plans at airport stores. Expensive and no deals. Wait til you arrive in town and find a store there. As most people now use a lot of data, best to shop for the data plan which offers the most. UK to US calling. may be different than EU ? And you may need a UK plug adapter for the charger, but most smartphones can read UK voltage and adjust to it. Thanx.

  • Sudarshan Daga
    Sudarshan Daga 8 months ago

    Nice video..
    Looking awesome as always

  • Nino elevantsco
    Nino elevantsco 8 months ago +1

    Nice video

  • Vitaliy Berdinskikh
    Vitaliy Berdinskikh 8 months ago +2

    On my opinion if you are not from EU - buy local SIM, e.g. 3 or EE.
    Sad that EE does not work in the tube.

    I do not know why but Virgin free wi-fi does not work for me.

    • Jon Johnson
      Jon Johnson 8 months ago

      the tube wifi is rubbish anyway, doesn't work on the actual train

    • NeverMetTheGuy
      NeverMetTheGuy 8 months ago +1

      3 offers underground wifi, you just need to register with your my3 account.

  • Martin Ramos
    Martin Ramos 8 months ago +5

    Love your videos, Every time i go to London, i use my Skyroam portable wifi, it allows me to make wifi calls back to the US! I just leave my phone on airplane mode.

  • Bernie M
    Bernie M 8 months ago

    What about Dr. Pepper can you buy it there? Also if you are a smoker can you go outside the pub with your beer?

    • Wrongway Conway
      Wrongway Conway 5 months ago

      Practically everyone spills out of a pub and is standing with their drinks outside chatting, smoking etc. A very common sight when we were there.

    • Jon Johnson
      Jon Johnson 8 months ago +1

      @shahidali619 hahahaha

    • Lennart Beat
      Lennart Beat 8 months ago

      As far as I can remember you can go outside with drinks when there´s designated area

    • Bernie M
      Bernie M 8 months ago


    • shahidali619
      shahidali619 8 months ago

      Dr Pepper has been illegal since 2006 because of the discovery it's UK shareholders were caught money laundering for Jamaican yeast farmers.
      If you are a smoker you can go outside with your beer only on the provision you leave your contact details with the local PUPS, Pub Utilisation Party Social, which is a government body who regulate the industry.

  • Yaseen Khan
    Yaseen Khan 8 months ago


  • Yaseen Khan
    Yaseen Khan 8 months ago

    Very nicee

  • Angus tbm
    Angus tbm 8 months ago +2

    Wonderful video, thanks 😃👍🏼