Guide for Canadians Who Want to Travel in the US

If you are one of the many Canadians who travel to the United States for business or pleasure, you are likely aware that data roaming charges can rapidly add up; hopefully, you did not learn this lesson the hard way.

The good news for Canadians traveling to the United States is that many of the larger Canadian service providers have agreements with their American counterparts and offer roaming plans that can save you a fortune. This article will explore these plans and cover everything you need to know about US roaming so that you can choose a plan that suits your needs and helps you avoid roaming fees.

Let’s immediately discuss your data and network options when traveling to the United States.

1: Daily Roaming Add-On

Daily roaming add-ons are without a doubt the easiest and most convenient solution if you will be in the United States for less than a week. Simply contact your network service provider and inform them that you will be in the United States and would like to add data roaming, then enable data roaming in your device’s settings, and you’re good to go.

Guide for Canadians Who Want to Travel in the US

Your cell phone will seamlessly connect to an American network, at which point you will be able to make voice calls and access data as usual. Keep in mind that this is the most expensive option, and depending on your data consumption, the cost of this type of roaming can skyrocket to $1,000 or more.

However, some of the largest Canadian network providers offer daily add-on plans that can limit the amount of money you spend on daily data roaming add-ons in the United States. Let’s examine them now.

Telus US Easy Roam

The TELUS Easy Roam plan allows you to use your regular minutes, texts, and data while traveling to the United States (and almost anywhere else in the world). Even better? They offer the lowest daily travel rates, $7 per 24-hour period to the United States and $12 to more than 150 countries internationally. For travel to the United States, Roam Easy will add $12 per day to your monthly bill. Each “day” concludes twenty-four hours after its activation. You will not be charged again until you use your minutes, SMS, or data, at which point $12 will buy you an additional 24 hours. While traveling, you only pay for the days you use data, speak, or text.

Rogers Roam Like Home

Rogers provides one of the finest daily data roaming add-on packages for Canadians staying in the United States for extended periods. Roger’s customers with Share Everything plans can make calls, send text messages, and use their data plan from home for $5 per day with the Roam Like Home package.

Customers who are in the US for more than ten days are capped at a maximum of $50 per month, meaning that you will not spend more than $50 for data roaming in the US if you do not exceed the parameters of your home plan.

Bell Roam Better

Bell Canada’s Bell Roam Better plan is considerably inferior to Rogers’ Roam Like Home service. It costs $5 per day and includes 100 megabytes of data, which is roughly equivalent to one YouTube video. If you wish to view a second YouTube video, you can always pay an additional $5 per day for an additional 100 MB. In contrast to Rogers, this plan does not have a daily limit, so you will continue to pay $5 or more per day indefinitely while the plan is operative.

Freedom Mobile

When it comes to data roaming in the United States, Freedom has a fairly decent plan. Unlimited Canada-US voice and text, along with 1GB of data, are included for an additional $15 per month. The plan’s value is enhanced by the fact that once you exceed 1GB of data, Freedom merely throttles your data while continuing to provide unlimited internet at no additional cost. All things considered, this is a decent plan, particularly if you intend to connect to Wi-Fi while in the United States, which will allow you to conserve high-speed data.

2- Travel Packs for Extended Vacations

Guide for Canadians Who Want to Travel in the US

Buying a daily roaming add-on is probably the best way to use your Canadian cell phone plan while you are in the US. Still, daily add-ons can be very expensive, especially if you plan to stay in the US for a long time. Snowbirds from Canada who plan to stay in the US for more than a week are often better off signing up for a travel pack, which will let them roam for much less money than daily roaming add-ons.

Most of the big Canadian cell phone companies offer US trip packs that include talk time between Canada and the US, SMS text messages, and a small amount of data. The good thing about these trip packs is that they let you keep your Canadian phone number. Even with everything taken into account, these travel packs are still too expensive.

For example, Virgin Plus’s US internet travel pass costs $60 per month for 30 days of service, but it only gives you 200 minutes of talk time and 1GB of data. You can add two more gigs of data for an extra $40. We don’t think that’s a very good idea. Other Canadian companies offer vacation packs that are just as cheap.

3- Canada-US Plans

Guide for Canadians Who Want to Travel in the US

Some Canadians spend up to six months at a time in the United States. In that case, adding a Canada-US plan can be a much better way to move. Most of the big Canadian networks providers, like Bell, Rogers, and TELUS, have plans that let Canadians reach their home networks in both Canada and the US.

These plans don’t give you more data or minutes. Instead, they let you keep using the plan you already have while you’re in the South. Most of the time, these plans cost an extra $20–$40 per month. This is a lot cheaper than buying daily data add-ons or trip packs for the same amount of time. Don’t forget that this fee is on top of your regular monthly service fee.

You might not know this, but there is one problem with a Canada-US plan that you might not know about. Once you get back to Canada, you might want to switch back to a plan that only works in Canada to save the extra $20–$40 per month. But you should be careful because most carriers won’t let you switch back to a Canada-US plan for at least a year. This means that when you’re ready to move back to the US next year, you might not be able to sign up for another Canada-US plan unless you switch carriers.

What if Your Carrier Doesn’t Offer Roaming Bundles or Travel Add-ons?

If your Canadian cell phone service company doesn’t offer any US roaming bundles, you can still save a lot of money by using the following ways. Keep in mind that in some cases, these choices might be even better than signing up for a roaming bundle with your present provider, so it makes sense to look into each one to figure out which plan is best for you.

Purchase a Prepaid Phone in the Us

Depending on how long you plan to stay in the US, you may also want to buy a prepaid phone in the South. Compared to their Canadian cousins, pre-paid cell phones in the US tend to be very cheap. When you look at how much Canadian roaming plans cost, it may be cheaper to buy a prepaid phone that you can use in the US.

Use WhatsApp and Wi-Fi For Calling

If all else fails, you can always use WhatsApp to make free talk calls, video calls, and text messages. The trick with this method is to only use WhatsApp when you’re connected to Wi-Fi. If you don’t, you could end up paying expensive roaming fees.

Still, Wi-Fi is everywhere in the US, so it shouldn’t be too hard for you to find one. Once you’re linked to Wi-Fi, all you have to do is open the app and call whoever you want, whenever you want. It won’t cost you a dime. If you want to use this method, make sure to turn off internet roaming on your phone. You can do this in your phone’s settings.

How Do I Know for Sure That My Phone Will Work in the U.s.?

You can check to see if your cell phone will work in the US on a number of websites. A quick Google search will show you about ten of them. But the quickest way to find out is to call your Canadian service provider and ask if your phone’s IMEI number will work with US coverage. Most current smartphones will work anywhere in the world, but you should always check just in case.

Bottom Line

No matter what, data travel is expensive, but there are a few ways for Canadians to save money while they are down south. If you can, think about getting a Canada-US plan. If your company doesn’t have a Canada-US deal, you could get your phone unlocked and put a US sim card in it. If nothing else works or you just don’t want to pay for roaming, stick to Wi-Fi and use WhatsApp for free talk calls, video calls, and text messages. Just make sure to turn off data roaming before you use this method, or you’ll be charged a lot for roaming.

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