Living in Canada, we are used to paying high prices for our cell phone plans. In fact, many people say that we have among the highest rates for mobile data in the whole world. Recently, I traveled to the USA, but I did not want to pay the exorbitant roaming fees on the US carriers, and I wanted to do better than the roaming travel plan offered by my Canadian cell phone provider. Most of the big Canadian providers offer similar plans, many of which charge a lot of money for not very much in return. I hoped to find something better for my trip to the States, something for less money, with hopefully more data and calling time. Surprisingly, I found something – and you can take advantage of this to save money on your cell phone plan when you travel too!

The thing you have to do if you want a cheap talk and data plan while traveling in the US is to get yourself a Roam Mobility SIM card and plan. By doing this, you don’t have to worry about paying super high roaming fees by tapping into the US networks. With a Roam Mobility plan, you connect directly to their network! (If you don’t believe me about the savings, take a look at this comparison: http://www.roammobility.com/compare) Here’s how you do it. Important note here: you must have an unlocked phone to do this!

Purchase a Roam Mobility SIM card. You can find these in many stores where cell phones are sold. I purchased mine at London Drugs. Alternately, you could order one from www.roammobility.com and have it shipped to you. Either way, the SIM card will cost you $19.95 + tax. This may seem somewhat pricey at first, but the SIM is reusable and will be issued a US phone number when you activate it online. As long as you don’t let it sit inactive for more than a year, your phone number will remain yours, and you won’t have to repurchase a new SIM for your next trip to the States. The only additional cost after the SIM card is your plan.

Before your trip begins, log on to your Roam Mobility account on their website, and select the plan that you’d like to add. Choose from:

Text + Data (for $1.95 per day):

  • Unlimited global texting
  • Unlimited 2G data
  • Unlimited global MMS

Talk + Text (for $2.95 per day):

  • Unlimited Nationwide talk
  • Unlimited long-distance calling to Canada
  • Unlimited global texting

Talk + Text + Data (for $3.95 per day):

  • Unlimited Nationwide talk
  • Unlimited long-distance calling to Canada
  • Unlimited global texting
  • Unlimited global MMS
  • Unlimited 2G data
  • 300 MB 4G LTE data per day (Technically, you are buying 300 MB times the number of days. You won’t be limited to 300 MB per day. You can use all 1.2 GB on the first of your four day trip, if that’s what you want to do! Beyond that, you would then tap into your unlimited 2G data!)

When you have decided on which plan you’d like to go ahead with, you can then say how many days you would like to use the plan and then proceed to purchase. The site will do the math for you, so you don’t have to do any heavy lifting here. You will see what your total cost will be, and you can also select precisely when you would like the plan to begin. This is a fantastic feature, especially if you have the foresight to do this ahead of time. You can specify when you will be crossing the border (or when your plane will be landing, if that would be a better use of your plan’s time!), or you can set it to begin immediately. The plan will activate at that time, regardless of whether you are actually ready to take advantage. The good thing, though, is that you also then get a definite end time for when your plan will expire. And if you decide to extend your travel, you can also log on to the Roam website and modify your plan. You can even do this by SMS! Check out their website for more details about this, if you think you might take advantage of this feature.

So, if you’re purchased and activated your Roam Mobility SIM card, and you’ve selected and scheduled your plan according to your needs, you are just about finished! There is no need to insert your new SIM card into your phone until you are in the States and ready to use it. Having said that, make sure that you remember to pack it for your travels (I keep mine in my wallet for safekeeping). And for all you iPhone users, also remember to take your SIM card ejection tool (you know, that Liquidmetal paperclip-looking thing you got with your phone and only used one time? You’ll actually use it again!) As soon as you get into the States, and your SIM has been installed in your phone, you will automatically connect to the Roam Mobility network, and you’re good to go! You can now talk on the phone or use your data-hungry apps while you’re in the States, and not worry about piling up a ridiculous bill because of all the roaming charges. You can use it in comfort, knowing that you were smart enough to activate a cheap cell phone plan ahead of time!

Leave a Reply