A Breakdown of 2023’s Best International Phone Plans
Whether you’re a frequent international traveler or a digital nomad, these are the best international phone plans to keep you reliably connected.
Whether you’re a frequent international traveler or one of the 35 million digital nomads in the world, having an international phone plan is critical to staying connected.
Below we’ll break down the best international cell phone plans for frequent travelers, so you can rely on high-speed data when you’re abroad.
What to Look For in an International Phone Plan
Every service provider has its pros and cons, but when searching for the perfect international plan, you should look for the following:
- Unlimited data (or, at minimum, a plan without a data cap)
- High-speed data (LTE, 4G, or 5G)
- International phone calls and unlimited texts
- Limited international roaming charges
- International hotspot capabilities
- Flexible cancellation policies
- Affordable costs
- Availability in the countries you’re traveling
Who Offers The Best Mobile Plan For International Travelers?
There’s no one-size-fits-all monthly plan for travelers — everyone has their own needs. However, we’ve put together a list of some of the best international mobile phone and data plans available for travelers.
Xfinity Mobile’s international plans support talk, text messages, and data usage in more than 200 countries. The Global Travel Pass has an international services add-on that can be included with any plan. They also have a pay-as-you-go option, so you only have to pay for the services you use while traveling.
Did you know that every Spectrum Mobile plan already includes international calling and SMS text capabilities? That means you don’t need to do anything special or get an international SIM card before using your Android or Apple iPhone abroad. You just pay as you go, with costs starting as low as $0.01 per megabyte. Spectrum Mobile’s international plan is available in more than 200 countries.
If you’re internationally roaming in Canada or Mexico, select GCI mobile plans already include calling, texting, and up to 5 GB of data. If you exceed that 5 GB limit, you pay $12 for every additional GB used.
Calling, texting, and data usage per GB is charged at these affordable rates if you’re traveling to countries other than Canada and Mexico. The best is that there’s no monthly fee — you only pay for what you use.
The price of the pass is dependent on the country you’re traveling to. An international day pass can range from $10-$35, while weekly passes range from $40-$100.
For $10/line per day, Verizon’s TravelPass allows you to bring your unlimited talk, text, and data just about everywhere you go (more than 210 countries and destinations).
Verizon’s unlimited plans even offer free roaming in Mexico and Canada.
Many phone carriers offer international calling and data plans. The best option for you depends on your travel, communication, and data needs. With that in mind, a few more phone carriers that have international travel plans, and perks include:
- Google Fi
Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Phone Plans for Travelers
Do I need a special phone plan for international travel?
It depends on your service provider. Some U.S. providers have international capabilities built into every plan. Other providers require you to sign up for international roaming plans.
What's the cheapest way to use your phone overseas?
The most affordable way to use your phone abroad is to purchase a local SIM card. It’s cheaper than an international roaming plan, and you’ll have a local number people can call.
SIM cards are affordable and can typically be purchased at the airport in many countries. You can even buy eSIM cards, digital SIM, that don’t require you to swap out a physical component of your phone. You just need to make sure to buy a card that’s compatible with your device.
How can I avoid international fees on my cell phone?
The easiest way to avoid international fees is to sign up for a plan that doesn’t have them. If that’s not an option, you can use local plans in the country you’re traveling, free WiFi (best to use a VPN as well), Starlink, or other sources of data.
Can a U.S. phone be used internationally?
In most cases, yes, you can use your U.S. phone internationally. These are the most common ways to do it:
- Pay international roaming fees: Most major carriers have international roaming options, so you can simply bring your existing phone and use the data. However, this option can be extremely expensive depending on your carrier and how you use your phone.
- Purchase a temporary data pass: Some carriers offer set amounts of roaming data for a one-time cost. For example, a carrier may offer a data pass that charges you $10/day to use unlimited 4G data while you're out of the country.
- Get a local SIM card: When you arrive at your destination, you can buy a local SIM card (or use an eSIM). This allows you to use your phone as much as you'd like. You just have to remember to unlock your phone before you leave.
Find the Right Carrier for Your Next Trip
Now that you know the ins and outs of the top international plans, you’ll be more prepared to keep connected the next time you travel out of the country.
If you’re still unsure which plan fits your state-side and international travel needs, explore the SmartMove-approved mobile carriers today.
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