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5 Best Phone Plans for International Travel in 2018

If there’s one thing that can ruin any overseas vacation, it’s international roaming fees. It doesn’t take much more than a few calls to friends and family and perhaps a couple of online searches before your phone bill grows a few extra digits. That is, of course, unless you have one of our top 5 best phone plans for international travel in 2017.

International SIM Card

Option 1: International SIM Card

International SIM cards are a hassle-free solution how you can stay connected during your international travels. With an international SIM card, you can keep your existing plan and just swap out your current SIM card for a new one for the duration of your travel.

The one we like the most is the new Europe Plus SIM from Mobal. For just $59, you can enjoy excellent coverage in over 100 countries with unlimited incoming calls and texts. 1 GB of fast 4G internet access is included for free, and you can purchase more data for $10 per each gigabyte of data you use. Calls to the USA and Canada cost 30c per minute, and you can visit the official website of the Europe Plus SIM for a full list of call rates.

After you order your Europe Plus SIM, you receive a SIM package with activation instructions and a universally-compatible SIM card that works with any unlocked phone. To start using the SIM card, just follow the simple instructions. If you’d like to use the SIM card for more than one month, you can extend the service on a month-by-month basis for $59 a month.

Option 2: T-Mobile International Roaming

If you don’t mind paying $75 per month for the T-Mobile One plan, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better international roaming plan. Included with the plan are unlimited texting and 2G data in more than 140 countries as well as the ability to make phone calls for just $0.20 per minute.

Because there’s not much one can do these days with 2G internet speeds, T-Mobile gives customers the option to upgrade to 3G for $5 per month for the T-Mobile One Plus plan.

The offer is even more enticing if you travel to Mexico and Canada, where you get unlimited talk and text as well as access to your monthly 4G LTE data allotment.

Option 3: Verizon International Roaming

With Verizon, you can either pay $10 per day ($5 in Mexico and Canada) to use your phone outside of the country, or you can save some money when traveling for a longer time by going with the monthly international travel pricing, which starts from $25 per month (or $15 in Mexico and Canada).

With the daily pricing, Verizon bases talk, text, and data on your domestic plan’s allowance. The $25 monthly plan has 100 MB data allowance, but no free phone call minutes or texts. One minute of talk costs $1.79, and Verizon charges $0.50 for an outbound text and $0.05 for an inbound text.

Due to how steep the talk and text prices are, we recommend the $40 monthly plan instead. With it, you get 100 free minutes of talk and 100 free outbound messages, with inbound messages being completely free.

Option 4: AT&T International Roaming

AT&T’s basic roaming plan, AT&T Passport, costs $40 for a one-time charge that lasts 30 days. The charge includes unlimited text and Wi-Fi access in over 200 countries as well as 200 MB of mobile data.

The problem with AT&T’s mobile data are those $0.25 they charge for every megabyte above the rather cramped limit. When you consider than a single minute of a low-definition YouTube video consumes 1 MB, and with websites itching their way towards two-digit sizes, AT&T Passport isn’t the right international roaming plan for someone who needs to be connected around the clock.

It’s, however, a great plan for existing AT&T customers who occasionally travel abroad and don’t want to switch carriers or buy an additional SIM card. With the basic plan, you’ll pay $1.00 per minute to any country, but the price drops up to $0.35 per minute with the AT&T Passport Gold plan.

Option 5: Google’s Project Fi Prepaid International Roaming

If you own the Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X and Nexus 6, or a Pixel device, you can sign up for Project Fi, a mobile virtual network operator by Google that provides an attractive prepaid plan starting at $20 per month. The plan, Fi Basics, includes unlimited domestic and international texts as well as unlimited domestic calls. Calls usually cost $0.20 per minute, and you can check the international rates page for more information.

Google charges the same $10 per GB for high-speed data in over 135+ countries and destinations around the world as they do for domestic data. For more information about Project Fi’s international rates, visit this page.

For owners of a supported smartphone who heavily rely on mobile data, Project Fi seems like a complete no-brainer. Others must decide whether Google’s prepaid plan is worth the switch to a Nexus or Pixel device.

International SIM Card

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