After reading nightmare reports of people racking up cell phone bills in excess of a thousand dollars while traveling internationally, I spent months researching how to use our cells phones while in Iceland and the Netherlands. There are hundreds of articles online giving tips on how to make calls without breaking the bank. Some of the suggestions:
- only use your phone at the hotel or other places with free WIFI
- buy a SIM card for your phone when you arrive at your destination or order one to install in your phone before leaving (with warnings not to lose your original SIM card so you can still use your phone when your return home)
- buy a cheap phone at your destination and use it exclusively (usually only providing talk and text, no data)
- rent a GPS at your destination if the main reason for service is map and directions
There are plenty of warnings about using international plans provided by cell phone companies, but fortunately I decided to check with Verizon’s website before choosing one of the other options. Without going to Verizon and without speaking to a representative on the phone, I was able to select an affordable Travel Pass to cover international talk, text and data. The daily international pricing plan allowed us to use our talk, text and data based on our domestic plan so we could make unlimited phone calls and send unlimited texts and use our regular 12GB of data.
Of course, there is an extra charge, but it’s affordable. While traveling in Canada and Mexico, the charge is $2.00 per day and while traveling in over 100 other countries, the charge is $10.00 per day, but the best thing is you are only charged on the days you use the plan, and since we were able to use our phone only on WIFI while in the Netherlands, we were not charged the fee on any day during our stay. However, since we needed to use Google Maps in Iceland, we were charged $10 for three days. Thirty dollars for GPS, Internet and the ability to send texts and make calls. Not too bad and definitely not worth all the stress of worrying about how to handle phone usage.
A lot has changed in international calling in the past year. Last summer I purchased a minimal amount of data for $25 for a few days when we traveled in British Columbia. This summer with the Travel Pass International Plan, it will only cost $2 per day to use my phone as usual while in Toronto. Much better!
I’m sure Verizon isn’t the only service with reasonable international calling plans so check out your options and sign up for a plan.