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What do you do when you travel as far as using your phone out of the country?


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I am in the US and have Verizon for my carrier, Verizon charges 10.00 a day or 100.00 a month with 


line
$100
Talk 250 mins
Text 1000 sent
Unlimited received
Data 5GB

 

This has gotten expensive when we are taking a 14 day cruise and have a few days before/after a cruise in Europe.  Even with the shipboard plan I am still spending 60.00+ for every trip. 

I saw a deal for a Pixel 3 phone (new 130.00) and decided to go with google FI https://fi.google.com/about/plans/

which is good  for 20.00 a month plus 10.00/Gb of data.  I do not use that much data not on  WIFI and with FI I can keep track of my usage.  I had thought that T-Mobile had a great deal but a co-worker just had to go to work in Germany for 3 weeks and it was about the same as Verizon.

 

Years ago for a week in France we just picked up a cheap pay as you go phone from a local phone shop.

 

So does anyone have any better tips for travel from the US to Europe?

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Used to work in Europe and South America fairly regularly and always found it less expensive to get local disposable phones and numbers in the areas I traveled to.  A little more inconvenient as I always had to provide colleagues and family different phone numbers to call depending on the country I was in.

 

But, it was less expensive.

 

Haven't done that in a couple of years.  So, they may have relaxed overseas rates with the big carriers.  

 

Personally, when I got out of the country now, I just get a text package.  That alleviates all voice charges.  Unless someone has died or my house is on fire (neither of which I could do anything about while cruising), I don't need any voice calls, coming in or going out.

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Posted (edited)

AT&T has a $10/day plan...that's what we usually use.  If you are careful (i.e. keep phone on airplane mode) you can skip the charge for that day, using only ship wifi or local port wifi (if you trust it!).  I tend to NOT use port wifi or anything that I find on shore.  Once you turn off airplane mode you're "on the hook" for that days' charge.

 

I imagine the same system would work with any carrier.

Edited by Rick&Jeannie
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I’ve bought a skyroam device which will give me WiFi on-shore and I just buy day or data credit as needed. I’ve done the buying of a new SIM card regularly but it’s just annoying at this point, last time I incurred a €60 data charge just getting from the airport to the closest phone store.  I do however have free roaming in the EU but now that the UK are out it’s only a matter of time for the international roaming fees to be resurrected for there and I travel via London for most trips. 
I got the skyroam when there was a deal on and they regularly have offers to buy day/data passes at a reduced price. The pass doesn’t have to be activated until you’re ready to use it. There are other similar products as well as world SIM cards, I found the card model only works if you travel very regularly. 

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50 minutes ago, delaware32 said:

We also have Tmobile . Travel is one of the reasons we have kept them as our carrier . PS-- I'm not pushing them just going on my experience 

Great carrier, great service but . . . no service in most of the town I know live 😞

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I  use T-mobile as well,  my oldest son and his family live in Canada and we travel to Mexico often,  my DH has to work and needs to talk to his employees, do payroll and purchasing. He has to have a phone that works where ever we travel.

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T-Mobile here also. I have the 55+ plan, $50/month all taxes included, unlimited talk/text/data. Free text and data overseas and $.10/min calls. However, I tend not to use my cell phone much on cruises. It’s the one time I unplug. I’ve successfully used overseas SIM cards in the past since my phone is unlocked. 

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6 hours ago, fredflint said:

I am in the US and have Verizon for my carrier, Verizon charges 10.00 a day or 100.00 a month with 


line
$100
Talk 250 mins
Text 1000 sent
Unlimited received
Data 5GB

 

This has gotten expensive when we are taking a 14 day cruise and have a few days before/after a cruise in Europe.  Even with the shipboard plan I am still spending 60.00+ for every trip. 

I saw a deal for a Pixel 3 phone (new 130.00) and decided to go with google FI https://fi.google.com/about/plans/

which is good  for 20.00 a month plus 10.00/Gb of data.  I do not use that much data not on  WIFI and with FI I can keep track of my usage.  I had thought that T-Mobile had a great deal but a co-worker just had to go to work in Germany for 3 weeks and it was about the same as Verizon.

 

Years ago for a week in France we just picked up a cheap pay as you go phone from a local phone shop.

 

So does anyone have any better tips for travel from the US to Europe?

 

Google Fi has unlimited texting internationally and data rates are the same as in the US ($10/GB). The only difference is that it is $0.10/minute for voice calling not done over wifi. When you have wifi available, the voice calling is still free.

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I recommend GoogleFi. I started using it when I lived in the US and traveled internationally. I still use it some in Norway, but mostly when I travel back home to the states and other destinations outside the EU. 

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4 hours ago, sicness4x4 said:

I recommend GoogleFi. I started using it when I lived in the US and traveled internationally. I still use it some in Norway, but mostly when I travel back home to the states and other destinations outside the EU. 

Since you use it primarily when you visit the US you may be OK, but just be careful about being an Expat while keeping the service.  The T&C's of the service are pretty clear on who is eligible for the service (US residents only) and how it's for primary use in the US.  Google has cracked down on enforcing those terms over the last 24-36 months and many people who thought they were in the clear have had service shut down.

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6 hours ago, sicness4x4 said:

I recommend GoogleFi. 

That's what I use.  46 countries so far and it works perfect. Always detects where I am.  $25 a month plus $10 per gig for data. No contract so every time I cruise I sign up and then cancel.

Steve

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You can also use Google voice, which is free.  You would need to find a WiFi connection, either on the ship or in port.  Just remember to leave your phone in airplane mode and just turn on wifi.  Or take your sim card out to ensure you don't accidentally use your cellular data

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You could download WhatsApp for free and text/call when you are connected to WiFi for no charge.  Of course everyone on the other end will need WhatsApp as well.

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Google Fi has been our "go to" option for about 5 years now, when it was initially known as Project Fi - which used mainly T-Mobile's expanding network and newer 5G bands at "home" as the integration of the formerly Sprint (PCS/CDMA) network is nearly/done.  

 

For cruising, we seldom pay extra for any additional onboard WiFi services, except for extending 10 to 14+ days of sailings with more days at sea - with Goggle Fi's vast network, and 5G coverage expanding gradually, we usually picked up a land tower's signal 30 to 45+ minutes before the ship docked at the pier or drop its anchor, retrieve our voicemails and read/skimmed thru our emails & text messages, etc. - and it's been good lately, mainly fast 4G and often LTE coverage at inexpensive rates, sometimes falling back to usable 3G signals.  

 

With newer Android devices, including my Pixel 3aXL and Pixel 5 and DW's Samsung Galaxy S21 5G and backup iPhone SE 2020, we now have dual numbers on them by using the eSim options with Google Fi's data only sim inserted, allowing us to make mostly free VoWiFi calls vs. VoLTE calls, using our secondary Google Voice numbers.  

 

For a typical 7 nights cruise in the Americas, our total extra Fi charges are usually just a few dollars for 2 of us and even for those 10, 12 and 14 days - we've managed to keep the extra expenses to under $15 or $20 at most, using maybe 1 or no more than 2 GB of 4G/LTE data abroad - when carefully planned & managed with our usual 300+ to 400 "free" NCL minutes on the ship's WiFi signal.  

 

We don't need to add, sign for and cancel those "extra" global plans each & every time we travel abroad - it is basically "pay-as-you-go" option - with each primary Google Fi lines plus up to 3 "data-only" sim/eSim options as add-on.  There are unlimited, flexible as well as multi-line discount plans - just like the 3 major US carriers.  

 

With "Fi" fast roaming data is billed at the same rate, $10 per 1 GB in 140 countries - much, much better than cruise ship rates onboard NCL at relatively slow rates - Carnival & RCL's satellite data with different & lower orbital tech are faster and superior. 

 

The other tip for less-seasoned worldwide users is to "invest" in a good global dual-sim smartphone, factory unlocked with radio bands that are compatible with carriers outside of the Americas (Nokia's and Motorola have them, not sold or subsidized by "home" carriers) or, as mentioned above - one that support & work with DSDS tech standards (iPhone X series, 11's and 12's along with SE 2020's and newer) that aren't locked to a carrier.  

 

Of course, directly-dialed maritime calling shore-to-ship or vice versa is "only" $5 a minute or less in case of emergencies, charged immediately to the caller's credit/debit card or stateroom account ... it add up quickly.  

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, hallux said:

Since you use it primarily when you visit the US you may be OK, but just be careful about being an Expat while keeping the service.  The T&C's of the service are pretty clear on who is eligible for the service (US residents only) and how it's for primary use in the US.  Google has cracked down on enforcing those terms over the last 24-36 months and many people who thought they were in the clear have had service shut down.

Thanks, good advice and I should have mentioned it. I read about some experiencing service termination before moving. I keep my service paused for the most part when I'm in Europe. Google does know where I live now and sent an email last year about it stating:

 

We associate your Google Account with a country (or territory) so that we can better provide our services to you. Your country association will change within 30 days

  • from United States
  • to Norway 

Your country association affects the terms of service that apply to your use of our services.

 

I won't be surprised if service is terminated and have to use an alternative when I'm back in the states. I would probably use a prepaid sim or just add the US to my Norwegian plan.

Edited by sicness4x4
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6 hours ago, mking8288 said:

Google Fi has been our "go to" option for about 5 years now, when it was initially known as Project Fi - which used mainly T-Mobile's expanding network and newer 5G bands at "home" as the integration of the formerly Sprint (PCS/CDMA) network is nearly/done.  

 

For cruising, we seldom pay extra for any additional onboard WiFi services, except for extending 10 to 14+ days of sailings with more days at sea - with Goggle Fi's vast network, and 5G coverage expanding gradually, we usually picked up a land tower's signal 30 to 45+ minutes before the ship docked at the pier or drop its anchor, retrieve our voicemails and read/skimmed thru our emails & text messages, etc. - and it's been good lately, mainly fast 4G and often LTE coverage at inexpensive rates, sometimes falling back to usable 3G signals.  

 

With newer Android devices, including my Pixel 3aXL and Pixel 5 and DW's Samsung Galaxy S21 5G and backup iPhone SE 2020, we now have dual numbers on them by using the eSim options with Google Fi's data only sim inserted, allowing us to make mostly free VoWiFi calls vs. VoLTE calls, using our secondary Google Voice numbers.  

 

For a typical 7 nights cruise in the Americas, our total extra Fi charges are usually just a few dollars for 2 of us and even for those 10, 12 and 14 days - we've managed to keep the extra expenses to under $15 or $20 at most, using maybe 1 or no more than 2 GB of 4G/LTE data abroad - when carefully planned & managed with our usual 300+ to 400 "free" NCL minutes on the ship's WiFi signal.  

 

We don't need to add, sign for and cancel those "extra" global plans each & every time we travel abroad - it is basically "pay-as-you-go" option - with each primary Google Fi lines plus up to 3 "data-only" sim/eSim options as add-on.  There are unlimited, flexible as well as multi-line discount plans - just like the 3 major US carriers.  

 

With "Fi" fast roaming data is billed at the same rate, $10 per 1 GB in 140 countries - much, much better than cruise ship rates onboard NCL at relatively slow rates - Carnival & RCL's satellite data with different & lower orbital tech are faster and superior. 

 

The other tip for less-seasoned worldwide users is to "invest" in a good global dual-sim smartphone, factory unlocked with radio bands that are compatible with carriers outside of the Americas (Nokia's and Motorola have them, not sold or subsidized by "home" carriers) or, as mentioned above - one that support & work with DSDS tech standards (iPhone X series, 11's and 12's along with SE 2020's and newer) that aren't locked to a carrier.  

 

Of course, directly-dialed maritime calling shore-to-ship or vice versa is "only" $5 a minute or less in case of emergencies, charged immediately to the caller's credit/debit card or stateroom account ... it add up quickly.  

i have used fi since they started, keep it as a backup phone. every 2 years i buy 2 of  the largest iphone (one fi, one verizon)   only 20 A  month when not using data and its always working.   it is great for travelling,      I have a Verizon line for the US because i dont like the fi in US as it uses tmo.  out of more than 150 countries i have visited, it did not like africa, china, or ironically bermuda.  

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