Best International Calling Plans for Cell Phones

Best International Calling Plans for Cell Phones

Researching the best international calling plans for cell phones is a crucial step as you prepare for overseas travel. Studying your options and making an informed decision beforehand of international phone plans on mobile could mean unlimited calls, unlimited talk, unlimited data or unlimited texts and save you a heap of money in the long run… money that can be saved for your next exciting adventure abroad! International talk and text rates may also be even more important to you once you return home, considering you may wish to keep in touch with the new friends you made during your overseas travel.

In order to find the best international phone plans on mobile, you should consider these tips when planning your travel:

Call Your Current Provider – Then Comparison Shop

Start by contacting your current mobile provider to discuss the fees associated with international travel on your existing plan. Consider whether you plan to make calls, send and receive text messages, check emails, etc. during your travel and discuss all of the options available to users, including “text and talk” plans, data plans, and other packages. Once you know exactly what your options are with your current provider, you can comparison shop to see if it would make sense to use their cell plan during your international travel.

It is also very important to consider the countries in which your current provider has coverage. You need to check that your destinations are included in these plans beforehand, and you should ask your provider to direct you to their current list of covered countries and destinations.

Compare Best International Calling Plans for Cell Phones

While you need to speak directly with your provider for the most up-to-the-minute information specific to your phone and your plan, here are some useful general notes on the best cell phone carriers for international travel:

  • Google Project Fi – Get a $20 credit by joining through this link. Google’s Project Fi is a mobile virtual network operator that works for Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones and Nexus phablets. Project Fi currently covers more than 135 countries. International data is part of Project Fi’s standard plan, so users receive this for the standard $10 per month while in the countries and destinations covered. Unlimited texts are also included in the plan, and calls are 20 cents per minute (or subject to different rates if calling over Wi-Fi, based on the country you are calling). Project Fi recommends a local SIM card for use outside of the 135 countries they cover. If you join through this link: Google Project Fi, we each receive $20 Fi credit if you join Project Fi.
  • AT&T – If you have Unlimited Plus and Unlimited Choice plans, you are already covered for voice, data, and text in Mexico and Canada. They also offer a $10-a-day plan for Europe, the Caribbean, Latin America, or the Asia Pacific region. The AT&T Passport works well for longer trips, with $60 and $120 plans available.
  • Sprint – Sprint users can enable the Sprint Global Roaming feature and have free text and data on 2G and talk for 20 cents per minute. A high-speed Data Roaming Pass is available for faster speeds, and an International Data Pack can be added to your account as well. Discounted call rates, which vary by country, can be added to your Sprint plan for $4.99 per month.
  • T- Mobile – Users of T-Mobile’s One unlimited plan have unlimited data and texting in more than 140 countries, with calls subject to local rates. The T-Mobile One Plus international plan also allows you to boost your speed for an extra $25 per month. On-Demand Passes are another option to add high-speed data, and this can be done by the day or by the week.
  • Verizon – Verizon’s unlimited plans have unlimited talk, text, and data in Mexico and Canada. There is also a daily option called Travel Pass for subscribers who are not on an unlimited plan. This pass costs $5 a day in Mexico and Canada and $10 a day in more than 100 other countries. For longer trips, there are also monthly plans available that cover 140 countries.

Best International Calling Plans for Cell Phones

Consider an International Sim Card

International SIM cards allow you to stay with your existing cell phone plan and change out your current SIM card for a different one while you travel abroad. You can purchase the cards in each different country you visit or purchase one card in advance. Be aware, however, that these one-time, prepaid cards may not work in all of your destinations.  If you are visiting a number of different countries, purchasing a new card in each of the countries may be your best bet.

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Know Your Phone: GSM vs. CDMA

While most of the world uses GSM (Global System for Mobiles), CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) was developed earlier in North America and the incompatibilities associated with the different phones have created headaches for Americans traveling abroad. If you plan to use different SIM cards during your travel, you need to make sure your phone and provider will allow this.

SIM cards can be replaced easily in GSM phones. CDMA phones, on the other hand, have information programmed within the phone and not on a SIM card. While most newer phones can now connect to both GSM and CDMA networks, you should check with your provider to make sure yours can. It might be worth the investment to update to a newer phone prior to traveling abroad.

Find The Best Cell Plan for Travel

You’ve saved, you’ve planned, you’ve packed, and now you are there… traveling abroad and checking items off of your bucket list. While climbing to the top of a mountain or wandering through a city market or dining al fresco at a charming European café, you feel compelled to share these experiences with friends and family back home. So, you text. You call. You update social media pages and spend time reading them to stay abreast of all that is happening in the daily lives of your loved ones. Then you return home to an astronomical cell phone bill… international roaming can be seriously expensive without planning—even phoning landlines back home. So please make sure find the best international calling plans for cell phones.

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