Saving Money on International Roaming Calls

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We’re headed into the location independence zone today. We’re talking phone calls. You won’t be getting your daily dose of marketing, management, and technology advice.

I suppose you could call this finance advice, so maybe you’ll want to keep reading. It’s about cell phones and international travel.

I’m back from nearly a month in Eastern Europe.

While traveling, I use my cell phone—a lot. I’m using my phone all day for calls, maps, apps, etc. I can’t keep my hands off my phone. I’m addicted.

How much did I spend on the phone?

On previous trips, I signed up for a Verizon data plan. It cost me about $20 per 100 MB of data. I tend to use just under 100 MB a day, so, that’s $20 a day. A 10-day trip means $200 in data.

On this most recent trip, I used the usual amount of data. It cost less.

How much did I spend?

A grand total of $10. That’s awesome.

How to Save $20 Every Day You Travel Abroad

Sadly, the way I saved the money is an option only for Americans. Sorry, rest of the world.

A week before departure, I signed up for a T-Mobile data plan.

Currently, this plan is offered for $10 per month. It’s normally $20. The special price is only available in T-Mobile stores. If you order it online, you’ll pay $20 per month. The special ends soon. There is no contract, and you can cancel at any time.

This is a data plan: no phone calls are included. The plan provides 1 GB of high-speed U.S. data plus unlimited texts. It also—and this is the key—provides unlimited international data at a lower speed.

In every country I’ve visited, the lower speed has been sufficient to do what needs doing, including making calls on Skype or Google Hangouts (both of which allow calls to phone numbers).

I typically spend $20 a day on data. With the T-Mobile card, I’m spending $10 a month. Big, big savings, right?

The T-Mobile deal is irresistible if you travel. However, it’s not for digital nomads living permanently on the road. T-Mobile limits the use of the plan to part-time travel.

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