I have written before about staying connected while on the road. In this week’s article, I will present more options available to you for maintaining cell and data connection while traveling. Note that this commentary is by no means exhaustive since I have not personally tried or tested every connectivity option out there.
Although most readers of this post likely reside in the USA, this site is also frequented by Canadians such as myself. We are cursed with one of the highest cellular rates in the world, so while Americans are generally able to travel throughout North America without having to worry about high cell and data rates, Canucks are not so lucky. If you are from north of the 49th or have a more restrictive US plan, this article may be of interest. Certain Canadian (and some US) cell phone providers are starting to recognize the importance of affordable USA roaming plans. For instance, my son’s carrier charges $10 per day for US data, talk, and text use up to a maximum of $50, which is fairly reasonable. My provider charges $7 per day with no maximum. This gets expensive after a short time. Before traveling to the USA, I insert my US SIM card from a company called Roam Mobility. This is a product offered by an entrepreneurial Vancouver
company. They sell the card through select retailers for $10, and you can load it up for US or Mexico (and now worldwide) travel at about $5 per day. Their popular Talk, Text, and Data plan gives unlimited talk and text with no long distance and 500MB of data per day of the plan. If you are a Canadian traveling across the border, or an American with a restricted plan, compare the USA roaming plans from your provider with other options such as Roam Mobility. Roam Mobility doesn’t actually limit the amount of data; they simply throttle the speed down from 4G/LTE once your allotment is fulfilled. You can also top-up if you need more.
In terms of keeping your data flowing on other devices, my method of choice is a mobile hotspot. Using a second Roam Mobility SIM card, this time loaded with data-only, I can keep all my devices connected as long as there is data service in the area I am traveling in. Their data rates are very reasonable, and I now have a choice between my own hotspot and other options such as RV park or coffee shop service.
Whether you are from the United States or Canada this article is a good reminder to seek out options when planning your cell and data service while on the road.
About the Author:
Steve Froese, an avid RV owner, traveler, and Coach-Net member since 2013, is the principal of “A Word to the Wise Technical Communications”, a published RV author, certified RV technician, and licensed Professional Engineer. He frequently collaborates with the “RV Doctor”, Gary Bunzer, and has worked with the RVIA/RVDA as a technical and training writer and consultant. Professionally, he works as a quality engineer and musician. Watch for more of Steve’s work in upcoming Coach-Net publications.
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Some Canadian friends of ours that travel to the US often have purchased a US plan and carry two phones. I don’t go to Canada, or Mexico, often, but my US carrier, T-Mobile does not charge extra for calls made in either of those countries.
Mark Hurst said:
I strongly recommend RV-ers take a look at http://www.rvmobileinternet.com for technical resources. Chris and Cherie that run the site are full-time RV-ers and as a recent full-timer myself, I have found the information to be extremely valuable in terms of time and money saved.