When you are traveling abroad, getting stable mobile coverage is one of the major concerns for many travelers. Where many connections may not work when you are outside the states, others may have high roaming charges. So, it is important to make the arrangements in time before you leave for your destination.
Luckily major cellphone providers like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile offer coverage in 200+ countries. Therefore, customers of some networks can use their phones without trouble, and even at low charges. For example, your Spectrum mobile billing does not charge you for calls and texts when you are outside of the US. But that’s not true for every network. Therefore, it is best to know the things to look for in an ideal mobile phone plan.
Here are the things you should look for:
Before you renew a mobile plan before traveling to a new destination, always make sure that country offers coverage. Major networks like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile are in most countries, but this does not apply to all networks. Therefore, it is best to see if your network will work outside the US before traveling.
For this purpose, you can search on the internet and visit their website. If your destination is mentioned, you are covered with your existing phone network. Also, you can talk to their customer support to confirm as well.
If your network does not offer coverage at the destination for whatever reason, it is best to buy a local SIM card. However, to use that network, your phone has to be unlocked. Usually, you have the option to have your phone unlocked when you have paid the full price. A locked phone won’t pick up another network. Therefore, it is important to get your phone unlocked before departure. You can unlock your phone by requesting the option with your provider’s website or their customer support. Buy a cheap unlocked phone if your existing phone doesn’t unlock for some reason.
One of the biggest reasons why people buy local SIM cards is because of the high charges of calls and texts on roaming. Roaming is the fee charged in addition to your billing when you use a network overseas. And these fees can add a lot to your bill.
Check with your network about the call and SMS charges for the country you are planning to travel to. If the prices are not very high, you can travel with and use these features of your phone. Otherwise, it is better to avoid them as they can add up to a massive bill. It is best if your network plan covers these services in its international plans. If it does, it is an excellent addition that can save you a lot on your bill.
It is best to avoid such charges by downloading messaging and calling apps. Messenger and WhatsApp may help you replace traditional calls and texts. You can inform your friends and family to contact you through these apps to avoid call and message roaming.
The real cost of data roaming applies to the cellular data you use in terms of MBs. So, it is best to turn it off if your mobile plan does not have data. The international data plans are usually skimpy with only one or two gigs of data. It is best to use that only when necessary. Try to get the best deal on an international plan that gives you internet for an affordable price. Because you can use applications for calling and texting.
Usually, there are two types of plans: billed by day and billed by data. Which one you should get depends on how long you are planning to stay and your usage habits. If you are more to stay at a hotel, you are more likely to have 24/7 WiFi. In that case, going with plans that are billed as per data can be better. Otherwise, plans charged daily may be right for you.
Video streaming can eat up your data faster. So, try to avoid that on cellular data as much as you can. You can buy a mobile hotspot device if you are overseas for an extended period. That can help you reduce your mobile bill.
Deciding on a mobile phone plan before international travel is no rocket science. All you have to do is to look for network availability, the price of calls and texts, and the cost of the internet. Select the plan that is collectively cost-effective.