The 2nd month of 2017 is about to close and I’ve had a terrible start this year in achieving my goal of following a consistent schedule for writing! I’ve been out travelling last month, and the past few weeks I have been busy with work and with reconnecting with my favorite hobby of biking. You can definitely look forward to hearing more biking tips from me this year! While travelling last month, I discovered a great option as a travel phone that helped me avoid incurring huge roaming fees.
Avoiding International Roaming Charges
In this article, I’d like to share how you can reduce your mobile phone roaming fees when travelling internationally.
In my previous trip to the United States, my mobile phone bill reached $260! Since then I’ve looked for ways on how to avoid international roaming charges.
I’ve briefly used a mobile hotspot device while travelling to avoid international data charges. While it’s great since I typically use Uber, Waze and viber while travelling, however, I’ve found data options are less cost effective compared to mobile prepaid plans. $25 for 2GB of data, and $10 for 500MB! And my last phone bill was still a bit more expensive than usual because of a few calls that had to made outside of using Internet based calling methods from apps such as Messenger, Viber or Whatsapp.
All of these led me to search for the perfect travel phone that can be used with any prepaid SIM card. Below were the key items I looked for –
- It should be an unlocked phone. It should work with any carrier and can be used by both CDMA and GSM networks. In the US, this means it should work with both AT&T and Verizon.
- It should be a smartphone – need to be able to use it with important travel apps such as Waze and Uber.
- Should support 4G LTE for high speed internet.
- Should not cost more than $100 USD.
Motorola G4 Play – The Perfect Travel Phone
The Motorola G4 Playmeets all of the first 3 key items I wanted for a budget travel phone above but it retails at $149. To my surprise, Amazon has a great offer exclusive to its Amazon Prime members that reduces the price of the phone to only $99.
Since I am an Amazon Prime member, I was able to take advantage of this deal. The only caveat here is that it runs with Amazon offers and ads on its locked screen. During my use, it did not bother me at all.
After I uninstalled and de-activated all unwanted apps using the settings, it’s a clutter free phone except for the ads. And I liked the Moto implementation of Google Android -it’s almost vanilla android with less bloatware. Here is a photo of my screen with only the essential travel apps I use.
I used the “savings” I got from the Prime discount to buy what I call essential accessories for a smart phone. The phone case and tempered glass screen protector. Check them out.
For those travelling to the US, the 2 prepaid options that I think provide the most value are the AT&T GoPhone $45/month plan or the T-Mobile Tourist plan. However, the T-Mobile tourist plan is only good for 3 weeks and there is no option to extend.
See below comparison table that may help you choose the best option for you. The next time I visit, I plan to use the AT&T GoPhone $45 plan. It provides the best value for money for what I need.
I already have 2 trips planned within Asia in the next 3 months and thrilled to know the many prepaid options that I can just pick up at the airport when I land. No more worrying about huge phone bills! It makes my travel time more enjoyable and hassle free.
Share your tips using the comments section below on how to avoid huge international roaming charges while travelling – other than using public wifi and avoiding using your phone.