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Do I need an unlimited data plan when traveling overseas?

Written by editor

If you have travel planned overseas, you have a lot to look forward to! But unless you’re a standard world traveler, there are certain elements that are unknown and highly stressful, namely what do to with your phone to make sure you can still use to to contact friends and family while you’re abroad. Do you need an unlimited data plan? The answer to that question and more are included below.

Do you need an unlimited data plan?

The short answer is “no” – you don’t need an unlimited data plan to travel overseas. There are many options for how to continue to use your own phone and phone service, or even to use a temporary phone when you travel.

An unlimited data plan is certainly an option: but many “unlimited” data plans have daily data usage caps, that they may or may not tell you about when you go over them, which can lead to extra fees. The biggest drawback of unlimited data plans is, while they guarantee you service and data usage, you will likely end up paying more than you need to. If you are deadest on going with an unlimited data plan, make sure you do your research so you are able to find the cheapest unlimited data plan, and not waste unnecessary money. Here are a few other options for you to consider for phone use overseas.

Grab a SIM Card for your phone

When you arrive in your destination airport, if it’s available to you, stop into a tech store a purchase a SIM card to install in your phone. This is fairly easy to do, and will save you a lot of time, since you won’t have to worry about roaming charges or paying for an overseas or unlimited data plan.

This is a smart option because when you purchase a SIM card, you’re able to tap into the networks of the region you’re traveling to, which will ensure you have consistent service, and save you the hassle of paying for a phone plan. One thing to note though: if you purchase a SIM card, your base phone number will change, so you may not be able to receive texts messages and calls as normal.

 Purchase a wide-service range phone

 Another way to continue to have reliable cell service while overseas is to temporarily use a different cell phone that works well in your destination of choice. Many phone providers offer phones with service in several companies. If you’d rather just temporarily switch phones before traveling overseas, and not deal with the hassle of phone plans, and SIM cards, this is a great option.

 As you can see, there are many different ways you can go to continue to use your phone and have reliable service when traveling overseas. Getting an unlimited data plan is certainly an option, and your local phone carrier can help you set one up that you feel comfortable with and fully understand. But make sure you explore all options to be able to make an informed decision prior to departure.

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About the author


Editor in chief is Linda Hohnholz.