We fantasise about going on vacation and being disconnected from everything in the world and just relaxing and chilling. We dream of being alone on a deserted island with not a care in the world.
But in truth, gone are the days when we can totally be off the grid.
Sh*t does happen.
Family/work/house emergencies can occur back home, OR there can be issues during your vacation like flat tires, flight delays, need to cancel reservations, a last-minute search for excursions, etc.
Having a cell phone with you and being able to leave a contact number with family/friends/house sitter just makes safety sense regardless if it is a weekend cross-border shopping trip or a 3-week road trip to the Grand Canyon.
But roaming and data plans can be expensive!
There are time limits and data limits to worry about and so you have to keep an eye on the clock because if you go over your limit you’ll be hit with extra high surcharges.
Roam Mobility USA Travel SIM Card = Piece of Mind
As a frequent traveller to the United States and a person who needs to be “connected” for business and personal reasons, I wanted a cheaper alternative to just paying roaming fees with my home cell phone provider.
I searched online and asked some travel friends, and everyone suggested Roam Mobility. I’ve used it ever since….
The steps are simple.
- Purchase a SIM Card at either a retail reseller or online at the Roam Mobility website
- Activate your SIM Card
- Click on the “Top Up” column and buy your plan.
- Schedule the start date and time and “Add to Cart” and check out.
- Once you get the confirmation message you are all set. Super easy.
Once you are about to cross the US / Canada border, remove your regular Canadian SIM card from your unlocked cell phone and insert the Roam Mobility SIM card. It will connect automatically to the network once you are in the US and you will get a notification on your phone to set up your personal voice mailbox.
That’s it – set up is done.
When I started using Roam Mobility last year I was only able to get 3G speeds, but they’ve since improved their service, and plans and NOW I can talk and text to anyone in the US, Canada at 4G LTE network speeds without checking the clock.
- NEW 3-in-1 SIM cards which fit inside any device cost $9.95 CAD
- NEW USA Daily Plans – Text+Data starts at $1.95/day and Talk+Text+Data starts at $3.95/day
- NEW Snowbird Plans – Talk+Text starts at $19.95/month and Talk+Text+Data starts at $39.95/month
- NEW Data Only plans – starts at 300MB/3 days for $7.95 to 5GB/30 days for $59.95
- NEW Mexico Weekly Plans – Talk+Text+Data starting at $25
- NEW plan features including unlimited data, MMS, premium SMS and more
- NEW Enhanced Coverage (Add on) – For $1/day Roam Mobility lets you tap into their partner network providers to give better rural coverage nationwide in places like West Virginia (see note below)
- The cell phone must be unlocked, but Roam Mobility also offers cell phones for sale on their website.
- When I first used the plan in 2014 there were limits to the coverage within the US on the basic plan as I found out with a panic when my phone went dead while driving on the I-79 through West Virginia and Virginia. So, make sure you check the coverage map online (before leaving) to make sure that Roam Mobility offers coverage to where you are going. If your area of travel is not on the coverage map (such as in West Virginia or Alaska) think about paying $1/day extra for the “Enhanced Coverage”.
- If you plan on using an unlocked Android cell phone you need to configure the APN. Instructions are available online so, print these instructions out and bring them with you on your trip. I’ve found through use that you don’t have to do this every single time you travel with the SIM card – your phone will remember the settings.
- The website was very easy to navigate when activating the SIM and to purchase my plan, and the configuration instructions for the APN were clear and easy to follow.
- Being a non-techie, I was a bit confused about which direction to insert the SIM. There aren’t any photos or illustrations in the starter guide. So, pay attention when you remove your old SIM and remember how the card should sit in the tray. Otherwise, all documentation was easy to follow.
- Performance, once I had a signal, was excellent – I had no issues with speed using social media, surfing or texting and calls to Canada were clear.
- Setting up the voicemail was fast and easy to set up and access.
- Even though the phone didn’t work in the mountains of West Virginia and Virginia on the basic plan, I was shocked when our cruise ship was sailing past El Moro in San Juan, Puerto Rico and service instantly came on. After a few days sailing through the Caribbean, I was able to call home, tweet and Facebook some photos of the fort while still sailing on the cruise ship.
- In the case of data-only plans, I would buy the smallest plan that you think you are going to need. You can always top up online along the way if you think you are about to run out.
- If you have more than one SIM card, use the “rename” feature within your account to label each SIM card according to the intended device to avoid confusion i.e. Mary’s SIM
- Make sure that you “Top Up” for each SIM that you will be using.
- You will be provided with a personal US phone number for each SIM card. If you have a bad memory like I do – write it down and stick it on the back of your phone
- Get a SIM card case and carry it with you to hold your various cards when they aren’t inside a device. They are tiny and easy to misplace.
- Make sure you remember to bring along the SIM card tray eject pin to remove your SIM from your phone. They aren’t all the same size.
- Be careful that you don’t lose your regular SIM card. (I had a mild panic for about 5 minutes when I thought I lost mine they are so small)
- Make a note of the troubleshooting hotline number just in case you run into issues during your trip
Roam Mobility – Final Thoughts
I love that I don’t have to worry about my online security or searching for coffee shops that provide free Wi-Fi when I’m travelling. I also love that I can talk with my family and friends at any time when in the US or now in Mexico to check-in and not have to worry about the length of time we talk or surf or watch the clock if I’m at a Cyber café.
It’s a small price to pay for convenience, and I highly recommended it.
For another option when travelling with your cell phone check out:
Ready SIM for International Travellers to the US – Review
Roam Mobility provided me with a SIM card, and monthly plan for testing purposes. I did not receive any financial compensation and this in no way affected my review of this product. As always, my opinion is entirely my own.