How To Save On Roaming Charges In The US

Frequent readers who follow my travels know that I mention two things over and over again:

  1. Canadian carriers charge way too much for using your cell phone overseas.
  2. To avoid roaming charges overseas, have an unlocked phone and use a local SIM card.

That works pretty much everywhere except the United States where it is difficult to get a local SIM card. But because of a recent business trip, I can now share with you a way to get around that. Assuming that you have an unlocked cell phone, here’s what you do:

  1. Head to a gas station, WalMart, Target, or anywhere else that sells pre-paid credit cards. Then put at least $30 USD on it.
  2. Next head for the nearest T-Mobile store and sign up for their tourist plan which serves up 1,000 talk minutes and 2GB of LTE data for $30 USD. The only catch is that it is only good for three weeks. But that’s not a problem for most people who travel to the US. You’ll need the pre-paid credit card from step 1 to pay for this plan as you can’t pay for cell service in the US with a non-US credit card.
  3. Declare victory and have a beer.

I did this and it worked fine for me. Thus I have no doubt that it will work for you. Plus it is way cheaper than anything that Rogers, Bell, or Telus offers with minimal hassle, assuming you’ll be away for a week or more. Now you’ll lose your Canadian number, but that isn’t the biggest deal in the world if you save a few bucks. Let me know if you try this route the next time you travel to the US by leaving a comment.

One Response to “How To Save On Roaming Charges In The US”

  1. I’ve always had luck with You can buy the SIM card at staples. Canadian company that buys air time down south. About the same price as roam like home, but more data and unlimited talk and text.

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