Many decades ago, when traveling out of the country, people did not have the option of a phone on-demand at their disposal. Things have changed dramatically even within the last twenty-five years. You see, I remember when traveling internationally and purchasing a calling card to make a telephone call, which at that time was a significant cost. This was back when people used phones at phone booths, airports, and on the streets for $0.25 per call domestically. The world has this fascination with mobile telephones and its quite evident with the number of mobile phone ownership. Even though times have changed, we will see the many different options now available to keep in contact while on vacation.
Many people use free apps such as WhatsApp, WeChat, or Messenger to communicate via text, chat or video chat. To use these platforms, you must download the app and register using your cell phone number. Once you are register, you are then able to connect with people you know and contact them through the app. The only caveat is this method of communication is only available through an internet connection. Once internet is not available this is no longer a viable option.
In many countries you can purchase a SIM card for an unlocked phone. With the new SIM card your phone will work with the phone number and account linked to that card. This will work with any phone if you have a SIM card slot. When buying a SIM card, you have options such as data only or an all-inclusive plan. The plan prices vary, however, while in Barcelona my daughter purchased unlimited data plus a certain amount of calls and texts for 25 euros good for a month. Typically, if you buy a SIM card in the EU you can use it in other EU countries and sometimes the US.
Verizon wireless offers three options communicate while out of the country such as:
- Travel Pass is Verizon’s go-to international plan for those who want to use their cell phones without worrying about added costs. There is a set fee of $10 per day per line to access domestic voice, text and data plan in over 185 countries worldwide. As a side note, for Mexico and Canada the cost is $5 per line.
- Month-to-Month plan includes a monthly fee for a certain amount of minutes, messages, and data. Overages do apply if you exceed the plan allowances.
- Pay-as-you-go is charged by the minute, message, or data use. Verizon extends this plan in Cub and is the first US-based wireless company to offer roaming there. For those setting out on a cruise Verizon offers the pay-as-you-go rates with over 400 cruise ships.
One last option I would like to share is renting a phone from a local provider within the country of destination. The cost of rental phones may vary, however, in Ghana I have seen rental phones for $56 for one week of usage.
Ensure you do your research on whatever option you use when traveling abroad or outside of your provider’s network. There are many options available to communicate with people in country or back home. Please share the option(s) that has worked best for you.
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