Keeping connected while traveling is so much easier than it used to be. With different cellular standards between the U.S. and other countries, limited service areas, and early mobile phone models, it was cumbersome and expensive to contact family and friends back home. Frans and I used to choose our phones primarily based on if they were dual or tri band or not. That way we could use the same phone whether we were here or in the Netherlands. Then, there was the issue of carriers and the dreaded “roaming” issues. But, as technology continues to move forward and our reliance on staying connected grows, there are more options for phone, text, and data usage during international travel.
Connected with Text, Talk, and Data During International Travel
These days, most modern devices are compatible with cellular standards around the world. That means you don’t have to worry too much while using your device in other countries. Plus, Wi-Fi is much more common now. In most public places, you can easily use that to contact others, access the internet, or even stream media.
- Use Wi-Fi.
On some phones and carriers, you can call using Wi-Fi. This option is free and gives you a clear connection. To use Wi-Fi calling, you need to toggle the feature “on” in your phone settings (where you can also turn your cellular connection on/off).
Also, since using Wi-Fi is the same as connecting to the internet, you can use apps such as FaceTime (iOS only) or Skype (Skype2Skype) for video calls. Frans uses this almost weekly when he contacts his parents back in the Netherlands. Of course, to use this feature, you are limited to where you can access a strong a Wi-Fi signal.
- Local SIM card and pay as you go.
If you have an unlocked phone that can handle the different cellular standards, you can use a local plan. You just need to get a new SIM card from a local carrier and choose a short-term plan. The price and limits included will depend on the country or countries you visit and the length of your stay. Often, this is an economical choice. The drawbacks are that you cannot use your own cell phone number (which is tied to the SIM card) and that details on your new pay-as-you-go plan might be difficult to decipher. This is can be especially challenging if there’s a language barrier. (We were soooooo confused when we were trying to do this in Italy!) Frans is easily able to take care of all this when we visit the Netherlands. But, since that’s where he grew up and he speaks the language fluently, it’s almost second nature to him. If I had to do it, I’d be totally lost.
- Use your regular carrier.
The most convenient way, by far, to stay connected while traveling internationally is by using your regular cellular carrier. Verizon has three options available to its customers. Which is right for you depends on your destination, the duration of your trip, and how much text, talk, and data you will likely use.
In most cases, TravelPass a very flexible option. TravelPass allows you to use limits from your usual monthly plan. It costs $5/day in Mexico and Canada and $10/day in over 130 other countries (price is per device). If you don’t use your phone, you don’t pay anything. If you do use your phone, you will have talk, text, and data access for 24-hours.
If you need more constant access for short, long, or more frequent trips, Verizon also has a monthly plan. For this plan, you pay one monthly fee with a set amount of coverage. Prices range from $15 to $40 per month. Pay as You Go pricing is available as well. If you don’t want to pay a set fee or are traveling to a country not covered by TravelPass or the monthly plan? You only pay per minute, text, or data amount you use with this option.
If this feels confusing or overwhelming, use this International Trip Planner. Just plug your travel details in to see which plan is best for you. You can also visit a Verizon store or contact their customer service. An employee can then walk you through the plans and assist you in setting up your phone for international travel.
Prepare Now for International Travel This Summer
With summer quickly approaching, now is a good time to get your family ready for any upcoming international travel. Who wants to stress out about using your device or returning home to an absurdly expensive cell phone bill?! That is no way to spend or end an epic family vacation. Rather, plan ahead and stay connected while traveling internationally without worry!
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.