A question that often comes up in relation to long-term travel is: how do you manage cell phone costs abroad?
It’s always the same story… All the preparations are made for our trip around the world, but we never know what to do with our damn phone! We’ve been evaluating your options to help you through this process.
Ways to Use a Cell Phone Abroad
You have to be insane enough to use your current cell phone plan as soon as you put a toe out of the country. You can easily end up with bills of up to $1000 just for opening Google Maps, texting your mom and keeping your Instagram account up to date!
Using roaming plans
The telecommunications companies are touting their roaming plans. For occasional travellers or those on a short 4-5 day getaway in the United States, why not?
Let’s say we’re going for three months on Eurotrip or six weeks in Southeast Asia… it’s clear that there’s no advantage in opting for one of these plans.
Most Canadian companies will offer a package that is added to the usual monthly plan. For some international destinations, it’s $10 a day, and that only covers a selection of countries.
For destinations that are not covered, you must pay an additional amount (minimum $50) to your monthly plan to cover its use during the trip.
Adopt the international SIM card
There are many international SIM cards that offer cheap roaming in the world. Visit https://www.simoptions.com/ for more about prepaid SIM card.
The advantages of choosing the international SIM card
‣ No commitment or subscription! Top up your account freely!
Registration and installation are super easy. After registering, you will receive a letter in the mail with your international SIM card, phone number and instructions. With the help of the user guide, in a few minutes your new prepaid SIM card is installed and you are ready to explore the world while staying connected!
Unlock your device and use a local SIM card.
Some people are gonna get ahead of themselves and get their cell phones unlocked.
On the road, we buy a prepaid SIM card for each new country we visit and we try as best we can to understand the rates offered to us. For local calls and text messaging, it’s pretty straightforward. However, when it comes time to make a call abroad, the charges are quite destabilizing.
Some countries require a photocopy of the passport and proof of residence to open an account, which can be very confusing if you don’t spend a lot of time there.
You can, of course, combine your package with a calling card to take advantage of preferential rates.
Use mobile applications when you’re on Wi-Fi.
It’s true that nowadays, with a good Wi-Fi connection, you can use FaceTime, Skype, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and many other mobile applications to stay in touch as long as the other person is also using these applications.
However, you should limit yourself to staying within the perimeter of your hostel or café to use Wi-Fi.