Roaming The World Without Roaming Charges: Is It Possible?

If you’ve been out of the country before, odds are good you’ve had some experience with roaming charges. It often feels like your cell phone service provider slaps those roaming fees on your bill as soon as you step foot over the border—yes, even if you’re just going across the border into Canada or Mexico for the day. And, given how high those fees can be, no one wants to deal with roaming charges. Of course, if you’re only going to be out of country for a few days, adding an international plan to your cell phone service doesn’t make a whole lot of sense either. So, is it possible to avoid roaming charges while traveling abroad?


Choosing A Connection Method

Phone Service

The biggest factor to ditching roaming charges, as you may imagine, is how you’re going to connect. Specifically, the answer will vary depending on whether you need phone service or an internet connection. Whether you add an international plan to your existing cell phone service or you choose to buy a pay-as-you-go phone when you arrive in your destination, there will be additional expenses to call across country borders. Depending on where you go, there may even be additional charges associated with calling another region, even if it’s still within the same country. Whichever option you choose, you can expect to pay more to place a phone call that goes across country lines.



The other option, one that many of us forget about but is perfect for travelers, is to place your calls by way of a video calling service or instant messaging app. Options like FaceTime, Skype, Google Hangouts, and other similar services allow you to call other users over an internet connection on any device with a speaker and a camera (or using a set of headphones with a microphone). The biggest benefit to these services is that they will generally work across borders with no additional costs incurred—as long as you call from one internet connected device to another. All you need is a free account, and for anyone you want to call to sign up for an account as well. Of course, the only potential problem with using this as a way to stay connected to others while you travel is finding an internet connection.


Overseas Internet Options

Finding an internet connection to use when you’re traveling isn’t quite as easy as hopping online the way you would at home. For one thing, you can’t exactly take your home internet service with you just by packing an overseas WiFi router. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really work that way. And, where many of us might rely on our smartphones to create a temporary internet hotspot, doing so overseas will undoubtedly incur extra charges on your phone bill. Generally, finding internet while you’re traveling internationally means one of the following:

  • An internet cafe
  • Hotel/hostel internet
  • A pay-as-you-go smartphone
  • A portable internet hotspot device

Of the above options, there are potential downsides to each, so you will need to do a bit of research about where you’re traveling to in order to figure out which option will work best for you. Keep in mind that internet cafes may not allow you to use your own device to get online, so you might get stuck with the dial-up modem and the keyboard missing a dozen letters. Your lodging for the trip may offer internet service, but it may be the case that you can only connect with an ethernet cable, and you may be charged extra. A pay as you go smartphone purchased at your destination will probably allow you to create a hotspot to connect other devices, but this is probably not the most economical way to get online for anything more than brief internet use.


Of all the options above, a wireless internet hotspot device can be your best option, providing you know what to look for. As with cell phones, you’ll want to ensure you find a device that works in all of the countries you’ll be visiting or that you can swap out the SIM card to make it work as you travel. Of course, the other big component to any overseas WiFi router option is how that device will get an internet connection. Many portable internet device options require a contract, similar to your cell phone or home internet service, so if you’re traveling to multiple locations or you’ll only be visiting for a short time, that contract could make a pocket WiFi device less worthwhile.

Choosing The Best Overseas WiFi Router

An international WiFi hotspot device is generally going to offer you the best service options. Its sole job is to produce a wireless internet signal, so the WiFi connection you get will generally be faster than any of the other above options. With a portable WiFi modem made for travelers, you’ll be able to easily slip it in a pocket or purse, but it will put out a strong enough WiFi signal that you can connect multiple devices at once. And, with the right device, you can even go contract-free so you don’t have to pay for a full contract just to cover a short trip.


At Sapphire Mobile Hotspot, we know how important an internet connection can be when you’re traveling, but also how much of a hassle it can be. With our overseas WiFi router device, Sapphire, you can connect just about anywhere in the world, contract free. Learn more about our international WiFi hotspot device, or get yours today!