There are many options for staying connected when traveling abroad, including using your mobile phone service with an international calling app. Google Voice is one option that offers excellent integrations, competitive international rates, and dual functionality for personal and business use.
Other services offer a range of plans starting at $25 per month, with reduced rates when paid annually.
Get a Local SIM Card
Buying a local SIM card in each country you travel to is one of the cheapest options for accessing phone services like North Dakota home phone service and the internet. Many tourist SIM cards offer cheap data bundles for a fixed price, and some even include a calling plan!
However, the downside to a local SIM is that your friends and family back home will have to call you on your new number. To avoid this, it's best to tell everyone you plan on traveling to download a free telephony app (such as WhatsApp) and use that instead of your regular phone number.
An alternative to this is an international SIM card. KnowRoaming offers physical SIM cards and eSIMs, which you can purchase and activate in any country with just a few button clicks. These plans typically include a US-based phone number and cheap prepaid calls, texts, and data rates.
Buy a Data Plan
When it comes to international calls, you can avoid the hassle and expense of calling cards by buying a mobile data plan with your favorite carrier that offers cheap international rates. Many MVNOs, including the big three cellular providers, have options that can save you hundreds of dollars each year.
Ting is a popular MVNO with affordable talk, text, and data allotments for landlines and smartphones. Its Magenta and Magenta Max plans include unlimited international calling in more than 210 countries. It has an International Day Pass, a 30-day bolt-on that offers discounted calls and data in over 50 countries. You'll also find international plans from AT&T and Verizon that are easy to use. However, these plans can be expensive if you're using them frequently.
Use a Cloud-Based Phone
A cloud phone system is an IP technology that uses the internet to connect business calls. It replaces traditional hardware systems like private branch exchange (PBX) and copper cables to manage business calls. With this technology, you can access information and data from anywhere with an internet connection and a smartphone app or computer software. This system reduces upfront investment in telecommunications infrastructure and maintenance costs.
A popular choice is GoTo Connect, which provides a comprehensive set of tools for companies that make many international calls. Their plans include unlimited calling in over 50 countries, making it an affordable option for businesses that want to expand globally.
Another cloud-based service is Zoom Phone, which includes a virtual PBX and UCaaS platform that bundles VoIP calling with SMS and team chat. The platform supports routing, queuing, IVR, and contact monitoring tools.
Buy a SIM Card in the Country
Thanks to free WiFi hotspots, communication apps like WhatsApp, and many international phone plans, it's easier and cheaper than ever to use a phone abroad. Depending on how long your trip is, it might be worth it to buy an international SIM card while you're traveling (make sure your phone is unlocked).
The best option for a global plan is to offer cheap rates in 116 countries and work with most unlocked phones. You can also get a regional eSIM for a specific country, such as Airalo, which has excellent coverage in Europe and other popular destinations. And if you're going to be country hopping, Mint Mobile has low roaming rates in 160+ countries. The company also has an app that makes purchasing eSIMs easy and fast.
Talk to Your Carrier
International calls can get expensive if you need to learn how to minimize the cost. Many pay-as-you-go options, including those that give you the rate upfront, are available.
If you have a plan that includes international calling, ask about the rates to the countries you call most often. Then, shop around to find the best deal.
Using an online messaging app like Skype, Google Duo, or Facebook Messenger is another way to avoid international roaming charges. Keep in mind that data rates apply unless you are connected to WiFi.
You can also purchase a prepaid SIM or calling card. These are popular in some countries and can offer lower per-minute rates than traditional phone services. They are also easy to use and can be purchased from most local retailers.