UPDATED MARCH 2018
Visiting exotic places across the globe is a dream come true for any true Digital Nomad. Naturally, being a Digital Nomad has a lot of perks, but it also comes with some problems as well. One of the biggest issues with this lifestyle is definitely the feeling of isolation. Fortunately, we live in a digital era, and the Internet is the primary tool for communication these days, but cell phones are a lot more personal, and to be quite honest, a lot more practical as well.
However, talking to your friends at relatives while in a foreign country across the ocean can also put a serious strain on your budget. There is no need to worry, though, in this article we will name the best options for Digital Nomads in regards to cell phone plans. Stick around, you might find out something useful.
T-Mobile’s Simple Choice North America
Right off the bat, we present the most popular option. Although T-Mobile does not have the best reputation for coverage in the United States, they really thrive overseas. After you pay up $50 up front, you’ll be rewarded with unlimited talk, data and text, including 2GB of LTE fast connection. Best of all, you won’t even have to sign a contract. One of the main advantages of this plan includes free 2G data in over 120 countries. While this connection is painfully slow for any real work, it’s more than enough for different messenger apps, and it can also help when checking emails or Google maps, in case you’re patient enough to watch it loading for ages. This feature looks almost tailor made for us Digital Nomads!
If the country of your destination is Canada or Mexico, know that you’ll also get unlimited bonuses regarding calling and texting of any U.S. number, along with the 4G LTE fast connection. It almost sounds too good to be true. However, if you’re among those travelers that enjoy visiting exotic places, know that calls to foreign countries include a 20 cents per minute additional fee. That doesn’t sound too drastic, but don’t get carried away, or your bills can mount up very quickly!
$49 Unlimited International Plan By Lycamobile
Despite their fantastic offers, Lycamobile is somehow still flying under the radar, but let’s blow this thing wide open, and enjoy the benefits today! All joking aside, but it’s somehow puzzling that most individuals only speak of T-Mobile’s offers, while Lycamoblie somehow fails to be even mentioned. All right, enough with the rant for now, let’s focus on the positives.
If you sign up for their $49 plan, you’ll get plenty of perks, including free 1GB of 4G LTE and unlimited international texting. Still, the best is yet to come. Besides texting, Lycamobile users can also enjoy in the free international calling in 29 different countries! However, what makes this a cannot miss deal are the unlimited free calls you can use with any other Lycamobile number worldwide!
That’s right, you’ve read that correctly. In case you’re interested in having long talks with your family completely free of charge, from anywhere in the world, all you’ll have to do is sign a deal with the same carrier. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. Furthermore, feel free to visit their website for more information, as they also offer this feature in some of their more affordable plans. If you ask me, this is a cannot miss deal not too many people are aware of just yet. Use it while you’re still ahead!
The Inner Circle by Virgin
Virgin is one of those carriers lurking from the shadows, offering a tremendous plan. Their deals start with $50 per month, and there are some serious benefits to them. First of all, you won’t have to make a commitment to their contracts. This option is especially important to Digital Nomads who always need to find as much flexibility as possible. Virgin also offers some intriguing amenities to their customers, but today, we’ll look into their International Calling Plan.
If you choose to add $5 per month to your bill, you’ll be awarded with unlimited calls to Canada and Mexico. This might not sound like much, but if you’re into texting, you’ll be happy to hear that this plan also includes a free worldwide text messaging bonus. However, if you go with the International+ plan, you’ll unlock some seriously cool options. It includes all of the previous features, and then some. The first one includes unlimited calls to over 70 countries by landlines. The story doesn’t end there, though. You’ll also be awarded with 200 minutes you can spend to selected mobiles in 50 plus countries worldwide. Finally, International+ plan comes with reduced rates to over 200 countries worldwide.
Verizon Data Only Plan
Out of all major carriers in the US, Verizon often gets a bad rep when it comes to international travelers. Truth be told, they can be really expensive if you decide to simply go abroad, and continue business as usual. A word of advice: you don’t need this problem in your life. Well, unless you’re a millionaire, then I guess you’d manage.
Still, with their regular roaming plans being pretty bad, what’s the positive side? Well, they offer some interesting deals, known as Data Only Plans. You get to choose your preferred monthly plan, ranging from 2Gb all the way to 100Gb per month. Considering that the latter will set you back $710 each month, we believe you’d stick with a more reasonable plan. Their best seller is the 4Gb option, which goes for $30/month. Now, we understand that 4Gb is not a lot of data, but knowing that digital nomads have access to WiFi networks most of the time, it can be worth it. With a plethora of apps you can choose from, including Viber, WhatsApp or Skype, you won’t have problems with availability at any given time.
Sprint Global Roaming
Digital Nomads have been turning to T-Mobile for years, because they really didn’t have a viable alternative, but luckily, those days are now over. It couldn’t have come at a better time, as T-Mobile has been contently driving the prices upwards, while the service wasn’t getting any better, at least according to my personal experience. The carrier that’s causing all the stir up is none other than Sprint, with their great plan called Global Roaming.
When it comes to this offer, it’s pretty straight forward. For $45 each month, you’ll get free unlimited text messaging to almost all countries. Unfortunately, the HBO streaming option is nowhere to be found, but when it comes to actual coverage, Sprint is your best option, as it covers 150+ countries, compared to T-Mobile which sits at the 140+ range. If we’re talking about data, depending on your desired location, you might be looking at some poor 2G speeds, but don’t despair. Sprint offers “Speed Pass” packages which improve your connection to 3G. Finally, most international calls will set you back about 20 cents, which truly isn’t a whole lot of money, but be careful, these costs can add up pretty fast. The good news is that Digital Nomads finally have the option to choose between several carriers, where each deal brings some positives to the table. Check out the Sprint Global Roaming in detail, we believe that you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Choose some of the local carriers instead
There is a reason why this option is mentioned last. Although it might actually be the most affordable one out there, the fact is that most Digital Nomads won’t even use it. Why is that? Well, think about it for a second. First of all, most Digital Nomads are restless souls, constantly moving from one place to another. Do you think that switching between several numbers is really an ideal option? However, if you are among those individuals that like to stay in one spot for longer periods of time, this is definitely something worth considering. It can save you quite a few bucks along the way. That’s what it’s all about!
Naturally, your phone would have to be unlocked first, and only then will you be able to use SIM cards from different carriers. What I suggest is buying a cell phone which has two dedicated SIM card slots. This way, you won’t have to pick and choose between your international and old card all the time.