The Very Best Cellphone Plans for Your International Travel

If you're off on a grand adventure, make sure you're not blindsided by out-of-country cellphone charges. Here's how.

The Very Best Cellphone Plans for Your International Travel Photo by Maria Savenko / Shutterstock.com

This post comes from partner site Whistleout.com.

Ready, set, travel! But make sure your phone is ready, too. When you travel, finding the best restaurants or the quickest route to the airport can be easy when you use your cellphone, but it’s important that you have the right data options dialed in before you pack you bags.

(Editor’s note: The bill for using your cellphone in another country without making provisions for roaming can cost you hundreds of dollars. I’ve been there. Hundreds.)

We’ll show you a few options that are light on your wallet and rich in flexible travel options. But first, a couple of basics:

Want to use your phone when you travel?

If you want to bring your own smartphone on your journey abroad, be sure to check the following:

  • Is your phone unlocked? Since the unlocking policies vary depending on your carrier, your easiest and best bet is to simply call your carrier to be sure your device is unlocked.
  • Is your phone GSM-capable? If you’re on an AT&T or T-Mobile network, you’re on a GSM network which means you can easily use your phone abroad by simply switching out the SIM card to a travel SIM card.
  • If you’re on a Sprint or Verizon network (and therefore CDMA-capable), it’s best to check out our carrier options.

Sprint

Sprint Global Roaming offers FREE unlimited text + data at 2G speeds and $0.20 per minute for voice calls for most popular travel destinations. This is automatically included in your Sprint plan. For faster data speeds, Sprint offers high-speed data passes. You can pay by the day or week. Daily rates vary from $2-$10 and weekly rates range from $10-$50. Click here to see specific travel destination rates.

Verizon

Verizon’s TravelPass allows you have access to all your plan’s domestic features (including data) with no roaming charges for $5 per day if you’re traveling in Mexico or Canada (these two countries are included without a daily fee on Verizon Unlimited data plans) and $10 per day in more than 130 countries. Customers only pay the $5 or $10 charge on days they use their device outside of the U.S.

T-Mobile

T-Mobile offers one of the simplest international options. If you’re on their unlimited plan ONE (or clinging to one of its older Simple Choice plans) you automatically get unlimited data and texting at 4G speeds for Mexico and Canada and 2G speeds in more than 140 countries. If you want faster data, you can choose the ONE Plus plan for an extra $25 per month. This plan also includes unlimited in-flight Wi-Fi via Gogo and unlimited calling to landlines and mobile numbers in select countries.

Be prepared and have a great adventure.

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