When traveling internationally, many cellphone providers charge high rates to cover roaming fees. Sending a text or checking emails quickly becomes a costly expense for travelers.
Many people think that the only ways to avoid paying massive bills is to leave their cellphones at home. But if the thought of living without your smartphone while you travel makes you want to scream, don’t despair.
Many cellphone providers offer affordable options to help you stay connected no matter where you are in the world. Learn about the following five ways prepaid phones can save you money when traveling.
5 Ways Prepaid Phones Can Save You Money When Traveling
You Can Pay As You Go
If you plan to make only one or two calls while traveling, a pay-as-you-go plan is likely all you need. You simply pay a fee for each call you make and text you send.
Keep in mind, however, that roaming rates apply. These rates typically depend on the travel destination and can quickly add up over time if you use your phone more than only a few times.
Travelers who don’t use their cellphones often find pay-as-you-go plans more than meet their needs.
You Can Use Prepaid Plans
If you plan to use your cellphone for more than a few calls or texts while you travel, you may want to consider prepaid phone plans.
These offer affordable rates for a variety of different services, making them an attractive option for international travelers who want the freedom and flexibility to use their cellphones when they like.
Prepaid phone plans from a provider such as T-Mobile can be an attractive choice. You can choose from a variety of hassle-free prepaid plans to find one that meets your individual needs.
Rates vary depending on the countries you plan to visit and the features you select. Tailor-made for travelers, T-Mobile’s Tourist plan includes 1,000 minutes of talk, unlimited texts, and 2GB of 4G LTE data over a three-week period.
Alternatively, for $15 per month, T-Mobile can upgrade to the 10GB No Credit Check Family, T-Mobile ONE Prepaid, and Simply Prepaid plans to include international talk and text.
You’ll Be Able to Use a Local SIM Card
If you have a cellphone that supports a GSM SIM card, you can purchase a new SIM card from a local cellphone provider when you reach your destination.
Before you leave home, have your own cellphone provider unlock your phone so that you can use it with international SIM cards.
Most providers charge a fee for this service, but if you travel a lot, the money you save on roaming fees by getting a local SIM card makes the convenience worth the price of paying to unlock your phone.
Photo credit: Flickr user smjbk
You Can Connect to Wi-Fi
If you don’t need a constant cellphone connection, Wi-Fi is an affordable solution. Today, many hotels, cafes, and airports offer free Wi-Fi access.
Other places often provide pay-as-you-go Wi-Fi services. They charge a small fee for a specific number of minutes or hours online.
Send emails and texts or phone home through a Wi-Fi calling service such as Skype, GrooVe IP, Google Voice, and Talkatone.
You Can Access a Portable Wi-Fi Router
For travelers heading to more remote destinations, finding places that offer Wi-Fi is sometimes a challenge. A good alternative is to invest in or rent a portable Wi-Fi router. This acts as a portable hotspot where-ever you travel.
Simply charge up the router, insert a SIM card, and use it to connect as many as 10 devices to the internet at the same time. As long as your destination has solid network coverage, getting online is easy.
As with your cellphone, make sure your provider unlocks the router in advance, allowing you to replace the SIM card as needed.
Photo credit: Flickr user lukew
If you travel frequently, access to cellphone service is not optional, especially if you need to stay connected with friends and family back home.
These five options above are some of the many ways prepaid phones can save you money when traveling internationally.
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