Happy Travels Series - Can you hear me now? Phones abroad.

It seems like everyone has a cell phone these days (Pew says it's about 95% of North Americans that own some kind of cell phone now).  They're great, not only are they phones, most cell phones now-a-days are 'smart' phones.  That means that we can make calls, take pictures, surf the web, watch movies, edit documents on the cloud, listen to music, take video, post on social media, etc, etc...  Which is all great and good, but what about traveling with our phones?

Well, not too long ago our phone plans didn't travel with us, heck, our phone might not even work in the country we're traveling to (do those darn Swiss use a GSM or CDMA network?)  I can remember having to call in to my carrier and ask for a phone that would work in the country I was traveling to and they'd promptly ship me a 'vacation' phone with a nice expensive plan added so I could make a call, send a text, or get online, if I needed to.  Sometimes their 'special' phone didn't work so well either, but they never seemed to have a problem charging me for it.  Hmmm...

Thankfully, there are a number of options now and I have happily been a customer of T Mobile now for a few years and their One Plan, which gives me unlimited data and texting in 140+ countries at no extra cost.  And best of all, I don't have to call in an get a 'special' phone and let them know where I'll be.  Wherever I step off a plane, or cross a boarder, I get a nice text saying welcome to (where ever I happen to be) have a good one you phone still works and you still have data (not exactly what the message says, but in a nutshell).  I love it!

Some folks I know buy a SIM card in the country they're visiting and swap it out during their trip, which ends up saving them a lot of money and they have a local number if anyone in country needs to reach them too (although I'm not sure how important that is as no hotel, or car rental company in a country I'm visiting said they couldn't call me because I had an international number.  However, if your visiting friends or family in a foreign country it'd be a lot cheaper for them to call a local number).  This has always seemed to me like a little more work and a little more complicated that what I wanted, so I've loved my T Mobile One plan, but those that do it swear it's quite straight forward and easy.  If you're interested in this options here's some more info. 

Another group of folks seem to swear by Google Fi.  I'm not qualified to make any comments on it, so please use the link to learn more about it.

In my opinion T Mobile has had the best international plan out of the major carriers, however, Sprint is making a run at the international traveler by releasing a new international plan of their own.

See Sprint's announcement here and compare it with T Mobile's One plan to see who might give you the best convenience, service, and bang for your buck, so that you can get the most out of your phone while travelling!