Up coming travel, cell phone suggestions needed.

spirith20

Level 2 Member
#1
I have a trip coming up shortly to Fiji, Australia and Hong Kong. I'll be in Fiji for 4 night, Hong Kong for 2 nights and Australia for 17. Currently I have Verizon here in the states as my cell provider. Any suggestions as to the best plan for traveling to these countries or other suggestions? Obviously I'll use wifi where and whenever possible. Additionally I have MagicJack, Viber and What's App loaded onto my phone.

Thanks for any help or suggestions!
 

zeitgeist

Level 2 Member
#2
T-Mobile offers free text and 2g data all over the world for free as part of their plans. I have them as a provider and I got data all over when I was in Canada (At 2g speeds).

Their phones also offer wifi calling where you can text and call over wifi as if you were calling from your phone number, this works anywhere in the world.

There's also Google Voice which is a forwarding service and is now integrated with Hangouts (I use GV). You can set phones it can forward calls and text messages to...phones to ring at certain times, call from, not ring at all, etc.

Also with Google Hangouts you can call over data/wifi anywhere in the world as while as text... all from your US GV number. It also integrates with apps on your computer, gmail, etc so you can text from anywhere. I text all day from work and nobody knows...
 

Barb

Level 2 Member
#3
+1 on the T-Mobile Simple Choice recommendation. I've used it since summer 2014 and gotten voice/text/data service all over Asia and Europe, including small fishing villages, remote climbing destinations etc. Very, very happy with the service. Voice is 20 cents/minute to anywhere, but data and text are free. The data switches between 3G, Edge and HSPA+, depending on location. The lower speeds are fine for doing email, google hangouts, and most usefully, googlemaps/directions. It obviously is not able to do any sort of streaming or video.
 

ddavidch

Level 42 Member
#4
I've used Verizon in the U.K., Brazil and in New Zealand with no issues...
(iPhone 4s, Galaxy S3, Droid 2 Global)
I'm assuming you've confirmed that you phone is capable of working in those areas that you are traveling?
If not, go to Verizon's global site:
http://www.verizonwireless.com/wcms/global.html?intcmp=INT-VZW-VNT-GLOBAL
And walk through the Interactive Trip Planning 'wizard' which will confirm your phone will work and show you corresponding pricing in each country.
I usually just add the global plan before I leave and cancel when I return and they pro-rate for just the travel time to the monthly fee.
Note that the per minute talk charge will most likely be high and you get a limited block of data depending upon what you choose with high fees if you go over. My strategy is to have this as a 'back up' only for use when there is not WiFi and do voice calling via Skype or equivalent.
Hope this helps for the Verizon point of view.
 

zeitgeist

Level 2 Member
#5
T-Mobile has an awesome deal right now.

You can get two lines of UNLIMITED EVERYTHING for $100. I was paying $70 for one. Just got my girlfriend added on to my plan.
 

zceuxbhjutf

Panel 3 Member
#8
Old thread, plus I don't know anything about Tmo or prepaid plans, but...

In addition to some of the Tmo perks mentioned here, I think another is that many Tmos get you one free hour of GoGo in-flight. Anyway I have no idea if this phone/etc would work with these perks but I see an interesting Safeway Just4U...
FREE
T-Mobile Coolpad Rogue
With the purchase of a $30 or more T-Mobile airtime card. Limit 1.
If anybody can comment on the likelihood of any of these perks working with this combo, it might be a "throwaway" option. The phone is very basic (800 pixel screen for example) but it runs Android Lollipop.
 
#9
I've found the simplest solution- if you have a phone with a SIM card - is to just buy a SIM card at the airport when I land. Once I've installed it, I send a quick message with the new local number to those I want to be able to reach me via text or voice while I'm abroad. Anyone else can email me. Obviously, this is a solution for personal rather than business trips, but hopefully if you're abroad for work they are covering your cell plan anyway. You'll want to google the costs, as it can vary from country to country, but I've always felt I got a good deal, and never worried about burning through too much data (my primary use abroad), even with daily FaceTime calls back home.
 
#10
Caspian is correct that buying a local SIM is the best solution, but you have to make sure that you have an unlocked phone, or else you'll be sad when you arrive at your destination without a viable plan. Verizon phones that use LTE come unlocked. With iPhone 6, you can get 3G service throughout Europe (the LTE bands Verizon uses don't match up with European carriers). I'm not sure about Verizon's 6S because I haven't been abroad since it came out. If you purchase an unlocked iPhone directly from Apple, you will be able to use LTE throughout most of the world, because the model that Apple sells unlocked is a true LTE world phone. The AT&T model is the same, but AT&T phones come locked, and you have to call them to get your phone unlocked. They may refuse to unlock if you are still on a 2 year contract or are renting the device from them. YMMV. I don't know nearly as much about the Android lineup because I don't have one, but you should be able to find out whether your phone is unlocked. Once you do that, you can compare the 3G and LTE bands that your phone supports to the ones that are used in the countries you're visiting.
 

ilia

Level 2 Member
#13
Have Verizon and traveled through Europe recently - we used wifi where it was possible and were able to swap sim cards because the phone was a 4g iPhone (which is always unlocked to allow sim cards with Verizon). If you foresee using it a bunch this is the way to go. If not, you can always call and activate the global plan. Just be sure to always have airplane mode on when you're not wanting to use data. You can still hook up to wifi this way. One other tip is we would use the hotel WIFI to download and save routes to Google Maps for offline use. Basically free maps that could use the GPS to navigate us!
 

Keeton

Level 2 Member
#14
I would really look into actually changing your entire cell phone if possible. I know that some Google phones (think Nexus) work with most frequencies and actually choose to connect to the most powerful tower around between Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon. I can't say I understand how it works with the carriers . I really wish I new the science behind it and the exact details about it. I remember reading about it when I came across a this modern flip phone made to take people away their soul sucking smart devices (I think its called Punkt). It may have even been in their blog for features they wanted to add.
 

Brennan

Level 2 Member
#15
For short trips Verizon has a great feature that allows you to use your current data plan internationally for no roaming fees/surcharges. It costs $5/day. Unbeatably convenient if you already have verizon.

For longer trips (1 week+ in one destination), I buy a local sim with minimal minutes/sms and lots of data. Use iMessage and FaceTime over data or wifi...can't talk to those with Androids, but I don't really like those people anyway.
 

Glenn

Level 2 Member
#16
For short trips Verizon has a great feature that allows you to use your current data plan internationally for no roaming fees/surcharges. It costs $5/day. Unbeatably convenient if you already have verizon.
I don't think that's right. The amount per device varies by Country. I think its $2/day per device in Canada and Mexico, $5/day in Spain for some reason and $10/day in a variety of other countries (not all but lots).
 

zceuxbhjutf

Panel 3 Member
#17
But Brennan, sometimes it's all about incoming calls. My number is a Google Voice number no matter where I am and it'll definitely ring if I have internet. I believe the GV concept works no matter which phone's in your pocket.
 

Brennan

Level 2 Member
#18
I don't think that's right. The amount per device varies by Country. I think its $2/day per device in Canada and Mexico, $5/day in Spain for some reason and $10/day in a variety of other countries (not all but lots).
Interesting...maybe I have some sort of grandfathered plan. Mine is $2/day Mexico/Canada and $5 everywhere else (there are a few excluded countries).

But Brennan, sometimes it's all about incoming calls. My number is a Google Voice number no matter where I am and it'll definitely ring if I have internet. I believe the GV concept works no matter which phone's in your pocket.
That seems like a good plan...I was only sharing what works for me. Keep in mind, I'm a millennial and don't like to communicate via old fashioned phone calls.
 
#19
Interesting...maybe I have some sort of grandfathered plan. Mine is $2/day Mexico/Canada and $5 everywhere else (there are a few excluded countries).



That seems like a good plan...I was only sharing what works for me. Keep in mind, I'm a millennial and don't like to communicate via old fashioned phone calls.
Is this something easy you can pull up in your Verizon account? The g/f only has Verizon so trying to figure out if this is a good alternative for us in Bali.
 

Brennan

Level 2 Member
#20
Is this something easy you can pull up in your Verizon account? The g/f only has Verizon so trying to figure out if this is a good alternative for us in Bali.
It's really easy to activate on your Verizon account...do it once and you're good to go. It only charges you for the days you use it.

https://www.verizonwireless.com/solutions-and-services/international-travel/

I don't see Indonesia on the list though...when I was there I bought a local sim. Super cheap. I think I bought 5gb data for around $10usd.
 

bayguy

Level 2 Member
#21
I traveled to many countries and use my T-Mobile phone. I get unlimited text/data and calls are cheap. I generally use Vonage wifi calling.

This eliminates need for changing SIM cards, overage etc.
 
#23
A few years ago had the not-so bright idea to get a simple, non-smart "burner" phone to use in Europe to minimize extra costs to my cell plan. It was a lousy idea. Halfway through the trip I was wishing it had internet access so I could use Uber and look up other things on the fly. ...so that's what not to do.
 

Josh F

Level 2 Member
Charity Forum Mod
#25
I concur with using Veris
For short trips Verizon has a great feature that allows you to use your current data plan internationally for no roaming fees/surcharges. It costs $5/day. Unbeatably convenient if you already have verizon.

For longer trips (1 week+ in one destination), I buy a local sim with minimal minutes/sms and lots of data. Use iMessage and FaceTime over data or wifi...can't talk to those with Androids, but I don't really like those people anyway.
This is my strategy as well... The Verizon international plan is finally reasonable enough to consider for a short trip - but the local sim definitely is advantageous on longer trips.
 

36902BRF

Level 2 Member
#26
I have used Google's Project Fi all over the world and love it. I am not a huge data user so it works for me. It has worked in every country I have visited so far (more than a dozen since I have had the service). Totally seamless.
 

knick1959

Level 2 Member
#27
As I reported in a status update, I HAD an international SIM card that seemed to work well for a full year. Then the company disappeared and is out of business and their web site is gone. So I lost a small amount of money ($34) left in my account.

Was looking for alternatives and the reviews on Amazon do not promote tons of confidence. Does anyone have a prepaid international SIM card that they like? I do have an unlocked global phone ...

Will research the Google Fi thing mentioned above, too. And I do always have Verizon to fall back on, but with the propensity of my step kids (adults) to constantly call and text my wife, the trip's phone cost does start to max out. It will work, but looking for other options. Will also take the phone and try to buy a SIM locally, but visiting 4 countries in Jan will make this a challenge.

TIA.
 
Top