We have dual SIM android phones, with a local chip for all data needs (email, weather
, and etc), and our T-Mobile chip for rare texts and calls from friends and family
to our American numbers.
T-Mobile threatened to cancel our service for 'extreme roaming' after about a year. We called and explained that we hadn't moved out of the country permanently, we were just on a very long vacation
, and they uncanceled us. They said it helped that we'd had the accounts for years before this long vacation
. I'll see how long it is until they threaten to cancel us again. We didn't use the T-Mobile SIM that much -- probably less than an hour of calls a month. Though it was on to receive texts and calls. So I don't know what their computer looks for when it flagged us.
We started with cheap
waterproof phones -- Samsung GT-B2710
's -- with local chips in them. The idea was to have phones we would always have with us, even if we were just landing on the beach for the day. Instead of taking a VHF
handheld to coordinate the dinghy
or lunch. And to coordinate finding each other as we wandered around random new cities. It worked OK, but the camera
in them is too awful, and texting the old timey way with 12 rubber buttons is frustrating. So after a while we got little waterproof boxes for our Android phones and just took them everywhere with us. It turns out we pretty much always have a backpack, so the extra size doesn't make as much difference as I expected.