Travel

Data for US Trip

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  • Jun 7th, 2019 2:43 pm
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[OP]
Sr. Member
Oct 12, 2014
629 posts
91 upvotes
North York, ON

Data for US Trip

I need unlimited data plan for a 2 week US trip, primarily for GPS for my phone as I drive.

Is this $39.95 plan from roammobility a good deal or is something better out there?

https://roammobility.com/monthly-plans

Or is Rogers Roam Like Home for $7/per day a better option if I have a 10 GB plan?
34 replies
Sr. Member
User avatar
Oct 17, 2010
640 posts
298 upvotes
Terrace
yellowlight18 wrote: I need unlimited data plan for a 2 week US trip, primarily for GPS for my phone as I drive.

Is this $39.95 plan from roammobility a good deal or is something better out there?

https://roammobility.com/monthly-plans

Or is Rogers Roam Like Home for $7/per day a better option if I have a 10 GB plan?
You can pick up one of these t-mobile prepaid data only plan in the US. For the 6gb $25usd plan or above you also have 5gb can be used in Canada as well if you wanna keep it after the 2 weeks trip.

" Includes up to 6GB High Speed Data, available for use in the U.S. and up to 5GB for use in Mexico & Canada "
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Deal Expert
Feb 7, 2017
15481 posts
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Eastern Ontario
I understand Data Plans for Travellers to the US for things like work etc
BUT, for GPS MAPS... on your phone ?

This I don’t get.

Assuming from the way you’ve written the post, it sounds like you want your phone on a lot / all the time so you have a live feed.

Why not...

(A) Just get a portable GPS Unit for your vehicle ?
One with lifetime maps you can continually upgrade.
One that calculates live traffic info etc
These units have come down a lot on recent years... and are ALWAYS ON SALE Somewhere
(Or pick up a used one, for a song)

(B) forget data entirely
Just use FREE Wifi
And download the needed Map / Directions to your phone before you hit the road daily

We have done both of these with great success

But still have Roam Like Home on our phone when we are in the USA for a fairly easy cheap way to use talk, data & messaging whenever we are away from a spot with FREE wifi

NOTE - Consideration... this option is ONLY good value for short trips.
As it is a daily charge, up to a maximum of 20 Days per month / billing period.
After the one week mark out of country, it adds up, and becomes a very expensive option / lux convenience
In which case there are better ways to handle longer term travel communications
Deal Expert
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Feb 9, 2003
18465 posts
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Langley
You can save the GPS data to your phone before you go on your trip. It's a good idea to do even if you have a data plan, just because there might be gaps in coverage while you travel. Google maps can do this, you just select an area and save it to your phone. There's also other free apps that have offline maps, but I don't bother with those since Google works fine for me.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Oct 12, 2014
629 posts
91 upvotes
North York, ON
Tobsterboi wrote: You can pick up one of these t-mobile prepaid data only plan in the US. For the 6gb $25usd plan or above you also have 5gb can be used in Canada as well if you wanna keep it after the 2 weeks trip.

" Includes up to 6GB High Speed Data, available for use in the U.S. and up to 5GB for use in Mexico & Canada "
Do I need a US sim card for this?
Sr. Member
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Oct 17, 2010
640 posts
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Terrace
yellowlight18 wrote: Do I need a US sim card for this?
Yes tmobile is from the US. You can go to any tmobile in the USA and sign up. They are like Rogers or Telus here in canada.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Oct 12, 2014
629 posts
91 upvotes
North York, ON
Tobsterboi wrote: Yes tmobile is from the US. You can go to any tmobile in the USA and sign up. They are like Rogers or Telus here in canada.
Ok. So I would need to create an account with Tmobile? Is credit check required?
Deal Guru
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Sep 1, 2005
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Markham
Depending on where you're going and type of phone DATA from different carriers may or may not be very good. I wouldn't rely on it. A GPS for car is better IMO. Borrow one from family/friend as people have them but likely only use them periodically (I have one and never use it except when I travel).
We're all bozos on the bus until we find a way to express ourselves...

Failure is always an option...just not the preferred one!
Sr. Member
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Oct 17, 2010
640 posts
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Terrace
yellowlight18 wrote: Ok. So I would need to create an account with Tmobile? Is credit check required?
It's prepaid no credit check. just go visit any of the tmobile store while in the US. I'm sure you can find one easily as soon as you cross the border.
Deal Fanatic
Jul 4, 2004
5969 posts
2068 upvotes
Ottawa
Since it appears that you are on Rogers, if you are considering using Roam Like Home, you might be better off contacting them to see if you can add "North-America wide" to your plan (my wife has it and it's an extra $10/month but it means she doesn't get any roaming fees anywhere in Canada or US. This is particularly useful if you make multiple trips to the US per year (we tend to go 3-4 times or more per year and probably spend at 6+ weeks per year in the US so for us, it's a no brainer).

One thing to keep in mind if you are going to use Roam Mobility or T-Mobile or any of US provider is that you have to use a new SIM and, unless you have a dual-SIM phone and use both SIMs (which will likely mean roaming fees on the Rogers account), you will not receive calls / texts sent to your Canadian phone number (not sure if that's an issue for you; for us, we need to be reachable on our cell any time so using a different SIM is not an option).

As far as needing unlimited data for Google Maps, you really don't need that much; as someone else mentioned, just download the maps for offline you need (they really aren't that big) and even if you don't download the maps offline, Google Maps doesn't use that much - I'd be surprised if you can even use 1GB in a month with Google Maps - more likely, you'll probably use a few hundred MBs at most.
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Jun 12, 2007
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London
michelb wrote: .. Google Maps doesn't use that much - I'd be surprised if you can even use 1GB in a month with Google Maps - more likely, you'll probably use a few hundred MBs at most.
I haven’t checked for a while, but it used to be 5-10MB per hour or 40-80 MB for an 8 hour day
Deal Fanatic
Jul 4, 2004
5969 posts
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Ottawa
yellowlight18 wrote: So how does the US sim card work? Will it give me a temporary US number? If so, if I call back to Canada will it be long distance for the person receiving the call?
Yes, new SIM means new phone number (so you will not get calls / texts sent to your CND number unless they are forwarded (not sure if you can do that with SMS / MMS).

Good point about calling Canada, it won't be long distance for the person calling but it will be for you so you need to make sure you can call Canada (we have a pre-paid Tracfone and you can call Canada but you cannot send SMS to Canadian numbers which is a real pain for us).
Deal Addict
Sep 3, 2005
3151 posts
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Vaughan
OP, if you can get by with wifi.

I use tomtom go app on my phone. Its $8.99 for a month or $28.99 a year. GPS doesn't require data. I've traveled several times to the US using this app, and it's always been flawless. If you decide to go this route, just make sure you download the appropriate maps before traveling through the US.
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[OP]
Sr. Member
Oct 12, 2014
629 posts
91 upvotes
North York, ON
michelb wrote: Yes, new SIM means new phone number (so you will not get calls / texts sent to your CND number unless they are forwarded (not sure if you can do that with SMS / MMS).

Good point about calling Canada, it won't be long distance for the person calling but it will be for you so you need to make sure you can call Canada (we have a pre-paid Tracfone and you can call Canada but you cannot send SMS to Canadian numbers which is a real pain for us).
If I going to US in end of month and I just go the SIM card today, should I activate it now or wait?
Deal Fanatic
Jul 4, 2004
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Ottawa
yellowlight18 wrote: If I going to US in end of month and I just go the SIM card today, should I activate it now or wait?
If you are using RoamMobility, you can actually specify the date on which you want your service to start. If you are going with a company like AT&T, I think you can only activate in person at a store in the US so you might have to wait until the 1st or 2nd day of your trip.
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Aug 22, 2006
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PointsHubby wrote: (A) Just get a portable GPS Unit for your vehicle ?
One with lifetime maps you can continually upgrade.
One that calculates live traffic info etc
These units have come down a lot on recent years... and are ALWAYS ON SALE Somewhere
(Or pick up a used one, for a song)
Assuming OP already has a phone, you're looking at $100 (average between $300 new and let's say $50 for used) compared to $25USD that can be used for other things.
Besides... I've never met a standalone unit that's been even close to as good as Google Maps. I'd pay extra just for it.

(B) forget data entirely
Just use FREE Wifi
And download the needed Map / Directions to your phone before you hit the road daily
You don't even need to do it daily.
Google Maps allows you to load an area that's good for a couple weeks.
It's not as good as live (especially when you're picking addresses) but it's workable.
That said, I'd rather pay the few bucks for live. Traffic alone is worth it depending on where OP is driving.
Deal Addict
Oct 23, 2017
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GTA West
PointsHubby wrote: I understand Data Plans for Travellers to the US for things like work etc
BUT, for GPS MAPS... on your phone ?

This I don’t get.
I would never travel in the US, or for that matter in any other country any more, without a cell phone able to use data. And it is almost always cheaper to use a local SIM. The costs are trivial compared to accommodation, food and gas, and attraction fees.

In addition to the normal voice uses like calling AAA and 911, here are some ways I use my phone with a data plan:

- checking motion alerts from my security cameras and the house temperature from my thermostat back home to ensure our house is heated during the winter and our house is secure, and our house minder is on the ball.
- checking credit card charges on our cards and getting VISA/MC alerts on suspicious activities
- reservations or changes or room selections (using the Hilton App)
- GPS - Google Maps and Waze are updated continuously, and suggests reroutes. There is no comparison with the periodic updates to GPS.
- if not driving, Uber and other services like Cabify in Mexico need a phone with an app.
- up to date restaurant info, to find good eats wherever you go, using Yelp, TA, Google reviews, etc.
- check on opening times for attractions, stores, etc.
- I still like to check the Canadian papers back home when we relax before going to bed.
- flight check-in and seat selection although that can usually be done via WIFI

Last year I didn't bother with a cell phone plan when we went to Grenada and regretted it all week. It was a simple vacation and we had WIFI in our accommodation, but not having a local phone and maps etc. still encumbered us in various ways.

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