There is no time like the present to plan a trip abroad. The age of low-cost international flights and short term vacation rentals has the world at humanity’s fingertips. There are many considerations a traveler makes when crossing international borders such as currency conversions, power adapters, passports, baggage allowances, and especially how to stay in communication with the world at large.
Thankfully, staying connected with loved ones when traveling has never been easier. With the rise of smartphones and ubiquitous WiFi, long gone are the days of postcards and calling cards to stay in contact with “home”. Even the age of swapping out domestic for foreign SIM cards has long passed by. Mobile smartphones are more equipped than ever to cross borders and communicate with foreign networks with considerable ease.
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While the modern era isn’t sending travelers to the nearby payphone and post office, there are still a few preparations and provisions that need to be made to ensure seamless communication when overseas.
The Verizon Travel Pass is an excellent choice for those who use the carrier at home. With a little planning, international communication can be as simple as switching off airplane mode as soon as the flight crew says it is ok.
Verizon Wireless offers its customers several options when it comes to global coverage. The Verizon Travel Pass has a daily flat rate calling/text/data plan that covers more than 185 countries.
The Pass allows the traveler’s domestic text/data/calling plan to be used internationally at an additional $10 per, 24 hour period, per device. To activate this feature simply contact Verizon Wireless to get it set up.
The pass is activated with the first call, text, or data exchange made on foreign soil. If traveling between countries within the designated 24 hour period the tracking features simply transfers the pass between borders at the same flat rate. Typically Verizon sends a text informing the user of the time and location that the services have begun.
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It should be noted that the Travel Pass is billed in addition to the regularly contracted cell services. Think of it as an additional $10 per day that allows users the convenience to enjoy their regular mobile network plan and phone number abroad.
International calling with Verizon Travel Pass is relatively simple by most “international calling” standards. However, the traveler needs to remember that their phone number is based in the United States but operating on a foreign network. Therefore, calling will not be as easy as it would be at home.
If calling a US-based number while in another country enter +1 and the phone number, including the area code. Most “plus” symbols can be activated by pressing and holding down the “zero” key of their phone.
For example, if a person is visiting the United Kingdom and is using the Verizon Travel Pass with a US-Based number, then the user should dial the “+” and the UK country code, followed by the actual phone number provided. The same thing for calls made to other countries as well, the “plus” symbol and the country’s code followed by the phone number. For this reason, travelers must familiarize themselves with the country codes that will be used during the journey. A list can be found HERE.
There is no shame in doing a few practices runs to make sure users understand where to find the “plus” symbol on the phone and how it works with international dialing. The charges will apply according to the contracted plan between the user and the network. Please reach out to Verizon Wireless for any questions regarding international calling with Verizon Travel pass. The same rules of plus signs and country codes apply to text as well.
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Travelers should also be aware of the procedures needed to dial emergency services in a foreign country. A list of emergency calling procedures can be found HERE. As complicated as the international calling with Verizon Travel Pass may seem, users can rest easy knowing that any person calling their number from home requires no additional numbers or symbols. Calls are placed and received just as they would be domestically.
There is almost no difference whatsoever between data usage at home and abroad. The main difference being internet search results will turn up a few web addresses in a foreign language and some streaming services might limit what programs are available.
If a traveler is planning to be abroad for a longer period of time Verizon Wireless does offer monthly plans that are worth looking into. There are also pre-paid, local SIM cards available around the world that are a solid long-term option.
While Verizon Wireless does offer a streamlined and comprehensive travel program, there are several other competitors on the market that are worth considering.
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AT&T offers an international plan that is very similar to Verizon’s. There is a daily flat rate that covers unlimited calling and text and allows customers to use their contracted data plan globally.
Google Fi has an excellent travel program that allows its customers a seamless transition between countries with absolutely no additional charges for international usage for text and data, beyond the customer’s domestic plan. Voice calls are subject to a per-minute charge. With Google Fi, it truly is as easy as stepping off the plane and turning on one’s mobile device. It is one of the few situations where the comforts of home are no different than abroad.
T-Mobile and Sprint offer several international unlimited text and data programs that come built into standard plans. Phone calls are subject to a per-minute rate with both carriers as well.
In the end, it comes down to the traveler looking critically at what their needs abroad will be. How long will the trip be? Does the cell carrier have coverage in the country(ies) that will be visited? How reliable is that coverage? Will there be lengthy phone calls, or is data consumption more of an issue? There are all good questions to ask when evaluating the costs and benefits of different phone plans when traveling internationally.
Technology has come a long way in the last 20 years when it comes to global communication.
Internet cafes are, mercifully, a thing of the past and free WiFi allows people to stay connected in far-away locations. Global calling/text/data plans are becoming increasingly affordable and easily accessible. While technology has advanced significantly when it comes to international travel, it is important to understand that it is not perfect. There might be lags, glitches, and blackout spots just like there would be at home- perhaps even more so when abroad. Domestic devices are communicating on a foreign network, so bear in mind that it may not be the same speeds and reliability that users are accustomed to.
As society has become more mobile, it has created a competitive marketplace for cell carriers to provide unprecedented service to its customers on the international stage. It is only a matter of preference for travelers to find the plan that best fits their needs. Verizon Travel Pass is an excellent option for those who enjoy the ease and convenience of being able to maintain their phone’s plan and number while traipsing around the globe.
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Sources: AT&T, Google Fi, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless
Photo Source: Unsplash