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How to Save Money on Cellular Service While Traveling

Travel can be expensive. Part of properly planning a budget for your next vacation involves looking at all aspects and costs associated with your trip. This includes ancillary costs, such as using your cell phone in another country.

Using your cell phone outside of your home country can have big costs associated with it, so it is smart to look at some of the options available to you to ensure that you don’t rack up a big bill on your travels. A few of the options that you might want to consider include Google Fi, eSims, and purchasing a local sim card in your destination country.

Google Fi

Google Fi is a US-based service that offers various plans for cell phone data, talk, and text. They offer three plans: flexible, simply unlimited, and unlimited plus. These plans

While Google Fi is a US-based service, their plans offer cell phone service and data in foreign countries at a reasonable price. For example, if you are on the “Flexible” plan, data is charged at a rate of $10/GB. While this is more expensive than the options below, it might be a good fit, especially if you are already a Google Fi customer.

On the other hand, the “Unlimited Plus” plan at a cost of $70/month offers unlimited data in over 200 countries as part of the plan. If you are already a Google Fi customer, this might be a great solution if you are planning on traveling for an extended period of time and want to retain your cell phone number and existing plan.

The other benefit of Google Fi is that service can easily be paused when you are not traveling. This means that you do not need to endlessly pay for the service, but instead, can only activate it when you need to utilize it while on vacation.


eSims are digital sim cards that allow you to access cheap cellular data while traveling in many countries around the world. These digital sim cards are installed directly on your cellular device if supported. More and more cellular devices are starting to support eSims, but it is important that you check that your device supports them.

There are many providers that offer eSims, such as Airalo. Do some searching to find a provider that works best for your data needs and that supports the country that you will be traveling to.

Once purchased, you can quickly install the eSim to your cell phone by scanning a QR code and following the instructions presented. Once you arrive in the destination country, all you need to do is switch the active sim on your device and you will immediately be connected to the network!

Local Sim Cards

Depending on where you are traveling, purchasing a local sim card upon arriving may be the most budget-friendly option. If you go with this route, all you will need to do is insert the local sim card into your phone once you are in your destination country.

For example, in Japan, Mobal offers prepaid sim cards that you can either have shipped to you before you travel or pick up when you arrive in Japan. All of their plans offer unlimited cell data for pre-defined periods of time. Depending on your needs, this might be a great solution (especially if you are staying for an extended vacation).

Prices and plans will vary depending on your destination, so do some research before you depart.


With a little bit of preparation, it is easy to save on your cell phone text, talk, and data during your next vacation. Part of being a Frugal Flyer is understanding the cellular service options that are available to you will ensure that you are able to save a bigger amount of your budget for the actual fun part of the vacation!

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