Travel

USA data only sim card for short visits and etc?

  • Last Updated:
  • May 29th, 2018 12:49 pm
[OP]
Deal Addict
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Apr 30, 2005
3272 posts
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Mars

USA data only sim card for short visits and etc?

your info and advice is very much appreciated:

1. about 2-week visit. is there cheap data only card I could get like the ones in Thailand, for navigation and skype etc, any company and plan you could suggest, could i get it right in the airport, say San Francisco or have to visit local shop?

2. will rent a car for couple of days, don't know how much data will be consumed say for 2 days' drive, such as from SF to LA along coastal highway? does google map have turn-by-turn voice prompt?

3. is there any free navi apps (for android) that is good for driving, preferably with voice prompt? I have used maps.me to walk around by foot in other countries, the free one, doesn't seem to have voice prompt? does Here, Sygic have voice?
24 replies
Deal Addict
Oct 23, 2017
1906 posts
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GTA West
We were in LA last summer and Google Maps and Waze both worked well and they are free. Yes, they do turn by turn with rerouting options for congestion. Why not load the apps at home and try them here first?

We use T-Mobile prepaid when we are in the US and buy daily or weekly data passes as needed. Look on their web site for details.
Member
Jan 25, 2015
395 posts
147 upvotes
Toronto, ON
Dealmaker1945 wrote: We were in LA last summer and Google Maps and Waze both worked well and they are free. Yes, they do turn by turn with rerouting options for congestion. Why not load the apps at home and try them here first?

We use T-Mobile prepaid when we are in the US and buy daily or weekly data passes as needed. Look on their web site for details.
I've done this as well.
Before leaving home, download Google Maps (offline) and it works quite well.

There aren't "cheap" any plan options in North America similar to what's available in South Asia or most emerging markets.
Deal Addict
Oct 23, 2017
1906 posts
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GTA West
I find in using the offline maps that the reroute doesn't work as well. So I get the 1 Gb weekly data pass from T-Mobile for $10. But of course that is an add-on to my $3 per month prepaid plan. There is no contract but there is a minimum top up of around $25 so you have to spend that plus the data pass. I travel in the US enough to justify this cost; it may not suit a one-time traveller.
Deal Fanatic
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Aug 10, 2011
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Somewhere
I've used Roam Mobility for a while now. Works good.
:confused:
Member
Mar 6, 2015
341 posts
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New Brunswick
I've found the MAPS.ME app to be better than Google offline for directions.

As for data you're probably better off getting a travel pass or roam like home from your provider.
Deal Addict
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Nov 12, 2011
4129 posts
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Niagara-on-the-Lake
bunmin wrote: I've found the MAPS.ME app to be better than Google offline for directions.

As for data you're probably better off getting a travel pass or roam like home from your provider.
Interesting. I found maps.me to be quite inaccurate driving from Buffalo to Ogdensburg. The turn by turn navigation was incredibly slow announcing things and also announced things that didn't match up with the map/road signs. I used Google offline and found that to be much better.

Looking for another alternative.
Deal Addict
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Mar 13, 2006
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Toronto
Typhoonz wrote: Interesting. I found maps.me to be quite inaccurate driving from Buffalo to Ogdensburg. The turn by turn navigation was incredibly slow announcing things and also announced things that didn't match up with the map/road signs. I used Google offline and found that to be much better.

Looking for another alternative.
Here maps are also available offline which I have found to be reliable:

Android App - https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... e.app.maps
iOS App - https://itunes.apple.com/app/id955837609?mt=8

Website - https://wego.here.com
Moderator
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Sep 21, 2004
10717 posts
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Calgary
https://prepaid-phones.t-mobile.com/pre ... urist-plan

$30 T-mo tourist plan. Good for 3 weeks, 2gb of data. Add another $10 for the sim card.

As for navigation, Google Map is unbearable. Download the LA and SF metro area to offline maps and you are good to go. In general Google Maps doesn't consume too much data.
Deal Addict
Jul 30, 2003
1940 posts
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Toronto
For less than seven days of travel to the US, about 1Gb of data (min voice and text), what is the best sim card option? Is roam mobility plan ($5/day) the best?
Newbie
Mar 7, 2011
62 posts
38 upvotes
I had Roam Mobility for years and I thought it was great...until I found a sister company that they advertised on their site not too long ago.
https://alwaysonlinewireless.com

The plans are cheaper and I went with them when I went to New York early February. No issues with coverage. But I only needed data and no voice/text.
Newbie
Mar 7, 2011
62 posts
38 upvotes
Was with Roam Mobility when I go on 3-day USA trips, but then I discovered a sister company or..similar. It's actually advertised on their website as a card that can be used worldwide.
Either way, their USA plans are cheaper than Roam...

https://alwaysonlinewireless.com
Deal Addict
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Nov 10, 2001
1864 posts
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Sudbury
Try Red Pocket. 1000 talk minutes plus 1000 texts plus 1G of data ....$15 for 30 Days
[OP]
Deal Addict
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Apr 30, 2005
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Mars
thank you all for the info. I'm using 7-11 here, so no roaming option for me. I will try HERE, I have it on my phone,will test it local. or probably just bring garmin with me, but it's a pain to carry it for months and only use for 2 weeks in states. probably just have to suck up the cost and get some data plan for 2 weeks.

even data plans in better developed non "$hithole countries" like Norway is better than we have in Canada and USA, and all those "shithole countries" I have been to have way easier, better and cheaper data plans, I don't know which one really is shithole country.
Deal Addict
Jan 12, 2005
4809 posts
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Scarborough
If you have Roam like home or Fido Roam, it's maxes out at 10 days. In the states I would recommend Roam Mobility or Straight Talk (buy from US Walmart)
Deal Addict
Sep 15, 2008
1570 posts
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Pawtucket
Freedompop is tough to beat IF you are willing to jump through the hoops. Not as good as it used to be but still a great option.
Member
Feb 9, 2017
235 posts
260 upvotes
redboy69 wrote: Freedompop is tough to beat IF you are willing to jump through the hoops. Not as good as it used to be but still a great option.
They don't do free anymore. You need to pay $15 to downgrade from free and you have to pay a $5 monthly fee to disable auto top-up.
Member
Feb 9, 2017
235 posts
260 upvotes
b166er1337 wrote: https://prepaid-phones.t-mobile.com/pre ... urist-plan

$30 T-mo tourist plan. Good for 3 weeks, 2gb of data. Add another $10 for the sim card.

As for navigation, Google Map is unbearable. Download the LA and SF metro area to offline maps and you are good to go. In general Google Maps doesn't consume too much data.
If you are like me and you go down to the USA a lot, get the $40-50 plan which gives you unlimited talk, text, data within North America (or in T-Mobile's case - international roaming).

If you have a family, you can get 4 lines at $100 with unlimited talk, text and data. You can even roam in Canada if you need extra data here.
Deal Addict
Sep 15, 2008
1570 posts
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Pawtucket
AShenCA wrote: They don't do free anymore. You need to pay $15 to downgrade from free and you have to pay a $5 monthly fee to disable auto top-up.
True, but you can avoid the downgrade fee by signing up for the free plan from the start. You just need to buy a sim card from Target or Best Buy for $0.99 (when on sale) and then pay another $0.99 to activate on the free plan. The $5 fee to disable top-up has been around for awhile but I usually just keep it on as I have multiple sims.
Member
Feb 9, 2017
235 posts
260 upvotes
Its $5 per month to turn off auto top up now. Its a monthly fee as of Feb 2018.

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