When traveling abroad, you NEED good cell phone coverage and a solid data plan. We were just in Europe for two weeks and we would have been lost 100% of the time if it wasn’t for a reliable connection. We used mobile data to check the weather, get ticket information, see opening hours, look up directions, find public transportation routes, research places to eat ( gluten-free and dairy-free in our case), check account balances, pull up reservations, contact family, etc. There was public Wi-Fi from time to time but it was often spotty, slow, or unsecured. On our trip, we found out firsthand just how essential it is to have good cell phone service in Europe (or whatever country you might be visiting). We also found out how ideal Verizon TravelPass is for international travel.
A Better Cell Phone Service in Europe
Last month, I mentioned a few options to stay connected during international travel. While we usually take the local SIM card route, this time we were able to try using Verizon’s TravelPass service. Now, in all honesty, there was a hiccup in setting it up on my account. So, I was only able to use it the last two days of our 16-day trip. But, I wished I could have used TravelPass the whole time since it was superior to the local service we had as a backup.
1. Phone number
When you use a local SIM card and cell phone service in Europe, the phone number attached to that SIM changes. That means any text messages or phone calls you make are coming from a different number. I sent a few messages to my family while I was away and several of them replied with, “Who is this?” Then, of course, I had to go through the hassle of identifying myself and telling them that it was only a temporary number. We also had to take note of who had which number in case Frans, Munchkin, or I needed to reach other. Oh, there was also an instance when Frans liked the phone number assigned to Munchkin’s SIM better and decided to switch. But, since he already told his family our new numbers, they all kept calling Munchkin instead of Frans! I also turned on Wi-Fi calling when I had a strong and secure signal for free and clear calls.
We found out later during our trip that pre-paid SIM cards do not get the same speeds as ongoing data plans. While in the Netherlands and in France, Frans and Munchkin could only get up to 3G speeds. We thought that was the fastest phones there could go without a plan. Well, that was until my Verizon TravelPass kicked in. My phone immediately displayed an LTE connection on it and was blazing fast. I even uploaded a video and it went through in a matter of seconds! Man, getting route information for the Paris Metro and train times in Holland would have been so much easier! Of course, the speed still depends on what signals are available nearby. Keep in mind that the high-speed data allotment is 512 MB at a time. You’ll have to pay an extra fee if you don’t want the speed to drop. So, try to stay away from streaming any movies or music.
With the local service, we couldn’t utilize the Personal Hotspot feature on our phones. Usually, this wouldn’t be a big deal. But, in our case, we needed a Wi-Fi connection for our laptops or tablets while on public transit. (Our train ride to Amsterdam was one hour and the high-speed train to Paris was 2-1/2 hours.) When staying at hotels or at someone’s home, the connection could only handle a limited number of devices or dropped at peak times. When my TravelPass was active, the hotspot on my phone worked flawlessly. I didn’t notice any drop in speed on connected devices either. This is also nice to save some money while traveling with others. TravelPass is $10 for a 24-hour period but you can share that with friends or family if they need to do something online for a second.
4. Ease of use
Once you have Verizon TravelPass set up, using cell phone service in Europe is a piece of cake while roaming. Your phone will automatically switch signals when you travel to different countries. And, since you’re using your same phone, SIM, and plan, you don’t have to worry about adjusting any settings. I also noticed that the local SIM card we had blocked access to certain sites. On one of our streaming services, I downloaded content for offline use. When I opened the app, it asked me to log in but, the local SIM carrier blocked that company’s URL completely. That wasn’t the case with Verizon TravelPass.
All that is fine and dandy but you might be wondering why I couldn’t use it during most of my trip. Well, that had to do with an account issue since I was using a different line of service than I normally do. I later found out etting Verizon TravelPass up and knowing when it’s active is actually very simple. Go to your online Verizon account or open the My Verizon app. Add TravelPass to your plan. When you arrive in another country (which is covered on TravelPass), you’ll get a welcome text. If you call, text, or use data, you will trigger a 24-hour period and will receive a text notification. To avoid starting another new period by accident, turn off roaming on your device or put it on Airplane Mode.
Verizon TravelPass Cell Phone Service in Europe
So, the next time you plan on traveling outside the U.S. look into good roaming plans. Though Frans and Munchkin used the local SIM cards, I stuck with the plan that TravelPass was supposed to be. (I didn’t realize it would take so long to get it set up right.) That meant that I pretty much went internet-free for 2 weeks except for Wi-Fi from time to time. I couldn’t look up any information and couldn’t check in online anywhere (which is taboo when you work in social media). It was so frustrating! Trust me, trying to get around on your own in another country without a reliable cell phone service in Europe is rough. But, using Verizon TravelPass can reduce that stress and allow you to enjoy your vacation without worry while traveling to Europe or other covered countries.
I am being compensated for participating in the OM Media Group 2018 Influencer Program for Verizon Wireless for the #BetterMatters campaign. All opinions are my own.