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Should I use my tourist phone number to create accounts on websites and apps?

You can, but be aware of the information you store.

· 3 min read

When exploring your options for staying connected when traveling, many of us may opt to get a local SIM card that comes with a phone number. There are a few reasons why we would want that local phone number. One of the reasons of course is so that we can make and receive local calls, but another reason could be that you are planning to use that phone number to create some accounts on local apps and services.


Should I use my tourist phone number to create new accounts?

Before we proceed to create accounts using the phone number that we have gotten along with the local SIM card, perhaps it is important for us to first understand the implications of doing so.

It is important to be aware that the numbers associated with the tourist SIM cards are recycled. This is also why you will sometimes receive calls or messages meant for someone else at that number.

While it might be convenient to use that number to create an account, you might sometimes realise that it is not always possible. There could be a variety of reasons for that. Some apps and services do not allow the use of temporary numbers; and others may require that you need additional documents like a personal identity number before you can create the account.

In other cases, the number could have been already used to create an account previously - though if you now have access to that number, it could sometimes be possible for you to reset the password and get access to the account.

But, remember that if you can do so, the next person who gets assigned that number can do the same with your account!

So, if you are considering to use that number to create an account on an online service or app, there should be some things that you want to take note of:

  • It is recommended not to include any sensitive information on that account. Keep your personal information minimal, and avoid saving your payment methods and credit cards in that account.
  • Before your trip ends, or before the validity of your local SIM card expires, it is recommended to delete your account. If you are unable to delete your account, then minimally remove all the sensitive number in that account.

Use your primary number where possible

As much as possible, it is recommended that you use your primary number to create accounts on services. This will help you to retain control of your account and information even after your trip, and it will minimise the chances of someone else getting access to that account.

For example, if you were creating an account on Uber or other rideshare apps like Grab, these apps often allow you to use an international number to create an account. You will typically just need to be able to verify your phone number, but that can be easily done as long as you can receive SMSes on your local number, so no, you don't actually need to get a local phone number.

Of course, we know this isn't always possible. In some places like China, the apps do not always accept international number. In such cases, if you really do need to use those apps, then perhaps using a local number is inevitable.

To help you make a decision on whether or not you necessarily need to get a local number when traveling, a good idea is for you to download those apps ahead of time even before you arrive at your destination. Check if you are able to create an account using your home number - and if so, you can go ahead to create it ahead of time!

Stay connected on your trip with a data-only travel eSIM

If you don't need a local phone number, then a data-only travel eSIM would be a great option to help you stay connected during your travels.

A data-only travel eSIM offers you data and connectivity at much more affordable rates than international roaming. In fact, they are sometimes even cheaper than local tourist SIM cards, making it a very good deal if you do not actually need a local phone number.

Furthermore, travel eSIMs are very convenient. You don't have to queue at the counters at the airport or in local stores. Simply buy the eSIM from the comfort of your homes, and install and activate the eSIM in just a few taps on your device. Get connected once you arrive at your destination!

Get a Nomad travel eSIM for your next trip

Nomad offers data plans in over 170 countries, and you can be sure to find one that is suitable for your travel needs. And if you will be traveling across multiple countries, there are also regional plans available so you can stay seamlessly connected as you hop between countries. Data plans are available from as low as $1.10/GB.

The networks that Nomad's eSIMs use for each plan are stated on the plan details on the web store and apps, so you can check which networks are supported before buying your plan. Data sharing and tethering is also supported on Nomad's eSIM plans.

And, if you are unsure about how much data you need for your trip, Nomad also has a Data Calculator that can help you find the plan that is most suitable for you. Also check out our blog post on data-saving tips when traveling to keep your data usage in check when traveling.

Nomad also has a 24-hour customer support team. So, in the event where you face difficulties while using your eSIM, rest assured there will be someone available to help you resolve your issues!