Having the ability and freedom to use the Internet on your phone while you are travelling is the most convenient tool. I am not suggesting that you do not disconnect on your holidays, but trust me as a regular traveller I know how much easier your life can be with the Internet conveniently available on your handheld device. However it can be extremely expensive, depending on where you are visiting.
Roaming is still quite expensive in North America today, especially between Canada and The United States. I often travel to the United States from Canada, and my phone bills by the end of the trip end up being quite exorbitant. Canadians pay some of the highest rates among G7 countries. Unlike our European counterparts, a new law came into effect across the European Union that eliminated roaming charges for individuals using their mobile devices within the European Union countries.
Some might argue that they can survive without having Internet data and live off Wi Fi while travelling, but lets be realistic, almost everything we do today requires the Internet. Whether it is hailing an Uber, searching up restaurant reviews, navigating, and of course staying up to date with our social media platforms. Having Internet data while travelling is a true necessity and just minimizes stress.
Nonetheless, you can lower your phone bill by opting out of roaming from your local provider. Instead, invest in a prepaid service and a sim card in the country you are visiting – in this case The United States. One would assume that prepaid plans would be inexpensive and simple in a country like the United States, which is a leader in technology. Some prepaid plans can be surprisingly confusing and rather expensive, but still cheaper than roaming charges from your local provider.
There are four cell phone providers in America, however two are mainly targeted towards tourists. The first two are Verizon and Sprint, which are not catered towards travellers simply because they use CDMA technology, which is only compatible to users who have bought their phone through those carriers. T-Mobile and AT&T are the other two carriers that are compatible with travellers.
However there are several resellers that share T-Mobile and AT&T’s network and provide cheaper price points. But the problem with them is that these resellers often limit data speeds after a certain amount of usage; provide terrible customer service and annoying registration procedures for visitors that do not have an American billing address or credit card.
In my personal experience over the years, T-Mobile has been the most practical provider for me. T-Mobile’s data allowances and prices are very similar to its competitor AT&T. What makes T-Mobile more attractive is their in-store customer service and knowledge. T-Mobile has plans geared towards tourists, so one does not require an American billing address or Credit card.
Keep an eye on your data usage; you do not want to finish your data too quickly. Depending on your needs, I would say typically ration 50-100 MB per day. Do the essentials, check your E-mails, Uber, stay in touch with loved ones and even quickly browsing through your social media apps. The heavier load you can save for when you have Wi-Fi. Things such as uploading pictures on social media or downloading offline maps can be all done on WIFI, you might want to use a VPN such as bestvpnrating while doing all that.