These days more people are concerned about how much data they are getting on a plan rather than how many minutes they get to actually make calls. Calling has become a bit of an afterthought for some people who prefer texting. It is just a less intrusive way to be able to contact virtually anyone. That being said, there are, of course, different ways that you could literally send a text to someone. In this particular article, we are going to be talking about SMS, or text messages and how they happen to work internationally. Just kind of as a prologue the first thing that we can say is that you are going to be able to send text messages to international phones. Also, if you happen to have a specific type of plan you are going to be able to text relatively normally as if you were doing so locally while abroad. In some cases though, international texting can be overly expensive.
That is why part of what we want to talk about are the different ways that you could effectively text without it costing you a fortune. One of the options is going to be texting through a mobile app. This is actually a more popular way to text in many countries where the use of regular SMS texts is all but extinct. That cultural clash is another one of the things that you are going to want to consider before you press send. Here are some of the main topics that are going to be covered in this particular article.
- Send an international text to a local contact
- Texting while you are the one that is abroad.
- International SIM cards that offer international text options
- Why is texting different across the world?
- Texting to Mexico and Canda
- The pros and cons of using mobile apps to text internationally
- Is sending international texts through my regular plan a good idea?
Send an international text to a local contact
In these cases, we are talking about texting a friend who happens to be the one that is traveling abroad. You are not traveling abroad in this scenario. This is very simple, you are going to be able to text this person as you normally would. The problem here though is that they may not get your text if they don’t have any type of coverage abroad. Still, the numbers that you are going to have to dial and things like that, are exactly the same. In these cases, it all comes down to coverage. You won’t be charged extra either if you happen to be the person that sends the text.
Things could change if you are sending a text to someone who has bought a local SIM. This is something that not a lot of people have in mind. If you have a plan that includes unlimited texts just make sure that you read the fine print about international texting. Also, you are going to have to make sure that you dial the country code correctly. In this particular case it would not necessarily be dialing, per se, but inputting the right number. Usually, if you have a local plan with unlimited texting this could include international texts. Still, this is something that you are going to want to look into if a very close friend or partner happens to be traveling abroad. Especially if they happen to buy a foreign SIM and you want to send them text messages to that particular number.
Texting while you are the one that is abroad
When you are the one abroad you are usually going to have three options when it comes to texting. One option is going to be to do so on your local plan. There are many benefits to this you are going to be using your regular phone number to text. So, you won’t have to text your friends or business associates through a foreign number that looks fishy. The problem with this particular way of texting is that it is most likely going to be costing you a lot more money. If you have an unlimited plan with some of the main providers in the US unlimited texting is going to be included in the 10 dollar a day for service abroad plan. Most companies are going to charge 5 dollars if you are in Mexico or Canada. Again this is 10 or 5 dollars a day. This means that the bill can get pretty expensive over time. There are some prepaid plans that could see you spending less money even while using your regular phone number. That could be one of the options that fit your needs best.
The next option would be to get a foreign SIM card that is going to allow you to text internationally. SIM cards come in literally wide varieties. If you are someone who is looking for more minutes then, you should get a card that is geared towards that. If you are looking for internet coverage then that could be your priority. Obviously, if texting is what you need most you are probably going to want to get a SIM card that offers unlimited texting. What is the downside to this? Texting is not as cheap in other places as it is in the US. It is also not as common so not every SIM card provider will feature how many texts you get while advertising their SIM card. That is something you should keep in mind. This way to text is probably going to be cheaper. The downside to this is the fact that your number is going to change. Even if you have dual SIM capabilities on your phone. You would have to use your foreign phone to text.
The last option is to use texting apps like WhatsApp, Telegram or even Google Hangouts. The upside that you are going to have with these apps is that you are going to be wasting data, but texting itself is free. So you could text from your regular number or account with a wifi connection. The biggest downside to the use of these apps is the fact that the person you want to contact has to have the app on their phone as well. This could pose a problem when contacting certain people. If you have a close group of friends though it may be a good idea to go on one of these apps.
International SIM cards that offer international text options
This is something that we kind of brushed upon just recently. The main issue that you could have is not being certain what the texting policy is. A lot of times you are going to have a certain rate for local texts and another rate for foreign texts. Make sure to keep that very much in mind. Some times, foreign SIM cards will be advertised as offering free social media or texting apps. This goes for regular apps and SMS text messages. You could be in a bit of a pickle though if you don’t read the fine print though. Especially if you buy one of these SIM cards and start using Youtube like crazy thinking that it does not affect the amount of data that you have left.
When you hear most companies talking about free, apps or texts most of the time they are referring to just the actual “text” portion. This means that literally you can send as many text messages as you would like. You can even look at a text-only version of Facebook. If you send pictures, videos, or gifs, through social media or text messages those are going to be consuming your data. The easiest way to figure out what type of plan you are getting without really getting a chance to read the fine print is to see the price tags. This is very helpful because you may not be 100% familiar with the language and you are trying to buy a SIM card. If you get the cheapest plan and it says free everything that is usually too good to be true. There is usually a catch. So, just make sure that you are mindful of that. Another thing that you can do is buy a SIM card online before you arrive so that you can easily translate the add or the information provided on the website.
Why is texting different across the world?
This is one of the claims that you can find being made by a wide variety of people on blogs and social media. What does this exactly mean? It is really simple in certain parts of the world people use texting apps such as Whatsapp and Telegram instead of the conventional SMS text messages. This has led to many local service providers to just either include unlimited text messages or not really have them within your regular plan. In some cases, if you are not careful you are going to be getting charged a specific fee per text message. Which, will usually result in you gobbling up your prepaid plan budget pretty quickly.
Again, we understand though that texting apps may not work for some people. If the people that you want to contact are not on them, then it really does you no good to download one of these apps. The best thing that you can do in that regard is to make sure that whatever you chose to do you make sure texting is going to be available for you. Whether that be through your regular phone plan or a foreign SIM card that you happen to be getting local coverage from. It is not like it is overly hard to text while abroad you just need to make sure you have the right card or plan. This is especially important if you are going to be using dual SIM capabilities.
Texting to Mexico and Canda
A lot of the travel that US residents happen to make is right north or south of the border. That is why most companies have considerably lowered the rates that they offer for international roaming. There are really two ways that you can go about this with your regular phone and contract or SIM card. On long term contracts, you are going to be able to obtain coverage that is going to include texting in Mexico and Canada for around 5 dollars a day. This is something that Verizon offers, most other providers though are around the same rates.
The other option that you can go with is a prepaid plan. T-Mobile, for example, has a prepaid plan that really allows you to add coverage as you see fit. Specifically when traveling or calling to Mexico or Canada. What makes these prepaid plan options so appealing is the fact that you can choose to pay that particular add on only when you are traveling. So, it is going to be something that is going to force you to increase the budget that you have to spend on your phone bill. You are only going to have to see that increase one time or for the time that you are going to be traveling. Usually, with the long term plans, you are going to have to activate any add ons before you go and the price tag on them is mostly steeper. Of course, you can also choose to buy a foreign SIM card in Mexico or Canada. If none of the options that were mentioned here fit your budget or your overall needs.
The pros and cons of using mobile apps to text internationally
We just want to make sure that we recap this. Especially since there are certain people out there that don’t use mobile apps to text and they may be looking at them as a possibility while traveling internationally.
One of the biggest pros is that you are going to be able to text with a wifi connection as much as you would like. You are not going to have to change your number you are going to be able to talk to your regular contacts. This is going to allow you to set up a strategy if you chose to do so that could see you save a lot of money. You can even potentially make free calls just using a stable wifi connection from your regular number. If you want to have a phone for emergency purposes that you can use without a wifi connection you can buy a cheap phone and equip it with a cost-effective SIM card. This could mean that you are going to have to be juggling around 2 phones or 2 SIM cards that you can place on your own phone. If your phone has dual SIM capacity it makes things much easier. You certainly would need to go out and buy a phone. Also, you won’t be paying two unlimited plans for a month which is what some people end up doing.
The biggest con is that usually the people that you want to talk to have to be on the app as well. This can certainly prove difficult for business partners and even clients. With personal relationships, it is easier to get them on board with an app. Other than that, really the biggest risk would be to chose the wrong app or something like that. Whatsapp, Telegram, and even Skype could work. At the end of the day, it is really not a big deal. You can Facebook or Instagram even to contact people via text only. The fact is that there are a lot of options out there and a very slim downside. At least when it comes to personal connections.
Is Sending international text through my regular plan a good idea?
This is an option that we already explored, but does it turn out to be a good idea or not? There are different things that you are going to have to consider. Where you travel is going to affect your rates and at times even your coverage. The plan that you have can also make a difference. So, if you have a prepaid plan and you can easily get coverage by going on your provider’s mobile app it may make sense. If you are having to pay 10 dollars a day for coverage just for unlimited texting it may not make sense for a month-long trip.
If you are going to be there for just a couple of days and you don’t mind dishing out 30 or 40 dollars more plus your regular fee, then we could say it could be worth it. Sticking to your regular plan to the point where you would not have to change the normal way that you do things is important for people. That “comfort” comes at a price. For a lot of people that is a hefty price to pay. For others, they certainly prefer the comfort. It really depends on who you are and what happens to be important for you personally.