Roaming Costs: A Helpful Guide for Costs of Roaming to Other Countries
I write a lot on Landing Last Minute about the costs of roaming for different people around the world. Instead of writing it per destination, I collected all my experience and research and put together this guide to roaming costs for Americans, Canadians, British, Aussies, and Kiwis to help anyone travelling from these countries how much they can expect to pay in roaming costs.
Roaming typically costs between $8 per day and $12 per day depending on which country you live in and which country you are roaming in. Daily capped rates are often available for popular destinations, such as for Americans visiting Mexico. If daily rates are not available, calls and data can cost from $1 per minute and $1 per megabyte respectively.
This guide includes roaming costs for people who normally live in the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. I’ve used local currencies throughout this guide (e.g. when talking about AT&T it’s USD and when talking about Rogers it’s CAD) when talking about the costs involved.
A summary of what you can expect to pay if you are FROM these countries, based on popular plans from the leading providers:
|If you are from:
|Expect to pay for roaming:
In this guide I've broken down by HOME country and provider what you can expect to pay for roaming costs to popular destinations. Click your country to skip ahead:
I’ve also written guides for specific destinations. If you’re interested in how much it costs to roam to these places, click the link to read my guide on roaming costs:
In short, for Americans:
- AT&T has a blanket $10/day roaming pass,
- T-Mobile includes unlimited data and texting, but the data is at a slower speed (except for Canada and Mexico)
- Verizon offers daily or monthly plans starting at $5/day (more typically $10/day) or $70/month
For roaming to Mexico or Canada
Visiting Mexico and Canada attracts the cheapest roaming for US-based providers.
AT&T sticks with its blanked $10/day roaming pass which includes1:
- Data: Used from your quota
- Talk: Unlimited to US and to country you’re roaming in
- Text: Unlimited to US and to country you’re roaming in
Activating roaming is done on AT&T’s website after logging in to your account.
T-Mobile offers higher speed data when roaming in Mexico or Canada, specifically2:
- Data: Unlimited, 5GB at high-speed then unlimited at a slow speed (128kbps)
- Talk: 25 cents per minute
- Text: Unlimited to both the country you’re in and back to the States
Slow is subjective, but I’d find it hard to anything with 128kbps. It’s enough for Whatsapp but not enough for Youtube.
This deal is available for plans with Simple Global. There doesn’t seem to be a need to activate prior to arriving.
Verizon has a daily roaming TravelPass for $5/day in Mexico or Canada3 that includes:
- Data: Uses your plan (though speed is reduced after the first 500mb)
- Talk: Uses your plan
- Text: Uses your plan
Some Verizon plans (Start, Play, Do, Unlimited) offer this arrangement for $0/day
Alternatively, Verizon also has a $70/month roaming International Travel Plan (which applies in Mexico and Canada):
- Data: 500mb
- Talk: 100 mins
- Text: 100 sent, unlimited received
You can increase these limits on the $130/month plan.
Verizon TravelPass can be activated by stepping through their trip planner or by texting
Rest of the world
For Americans roaming to the rest of the world:
- AT&T sticks with its $10/day roaming pass with unlimited talk and text and data used from your plan;
- T-Mobile offers the same unlimited data and text deal for no extra cost (but the data is at the slower speed of 128kbps) and 25 cents per minute for calls;
- Verizon allows you to use your quota for roaming at $10/day (with reduced speed data after the first 500mb) or the monthly plans with their included quotas (see above).
Over 160 destinations are supported, so it’s likely the country you’re visiting is covered. Cruises and planes aren’t typically included though.
The three large providers are fairly consistent in their roaming, each costing typically $12/day for most of the world with a discounted price of $8/day for the States.
Rogers Roam Like Home is available for $12/day (or $8/day in the States) and includes4:
- Data: Uses your plan quota
- Calls: Uses your plan quota but is available to Canadian numbers and numbers local to your current roaming country
- Text: Uses your plan quota but is available to Canadian numbers and numbers local to your current roaming country
Calls and texts to other countries (i.e. not the one you’re in and not Canada) are charged as if you were making them from Canada.
There doesn’t seem to be any additional activation step, other than using your phone to roam to another country.
Telus Easy Roam is available for $12/day (or $8/day in the States) and includes5:
- Data: Uses your plan quota
- Calls: Uses your plan quota and can be used to Canadian numbers and numbers with the country you’re roaming to
- Text: Uses your plan quota but can be used on ANY phone number in the world
If you pay the daily roaming rate for more than 15 days (i.e. $120 for States or $180 elsewhere) then you can continue to roam at no additional charge.
Activation is done by self-serve, either logging in to your account or texting
Bell Roam Better costs $12/day (or $8/day in the States) and includes6:
- Data: Uses your plan quota, but is only full speed for the first 500mb per day (reduced speed is 512kbps, enough for messaging but not enough for video)
- Calls: Unlimited calls back to Canada and to the country you’re roaming in
- Text: Unlimited
To enable, text
8000 and then each day you make a call, send a text, or use data in another country the Roam Better charge will apply.
I’ve separated this out into roaming to elsewhere in the world OTHER than Europe, and then what roaming is line within Europe (part of EU roaming at time of writing).
Vodafone includes roaming on its higher end unlimited plans. For others, it costs £6/day and either way the inclusions are7:
- Data: Uses your UK allowance
- Calls: Uses your UK allowance to call (or receive calls from) the UK
- Texts: Uses your UK allowance
Making a call to the country you’re currently in or to other countries may attract a charge up to £3 per minute - an International Saver plan may be available to reduce this cost. I put together a separate guide on how to save money calling while travelling in other countries, check it out here: /calling-while-travelling-guide.
EE offers a mix of different plans for talk and text, and data8:
- Data: £4.80/day for 500mb
- Calls and texts: £6/day for unlimited calls and texts
Use outside these plans incurs casual rates in the order of £1.20/minute for calls and 60p/text.
O2 Travel Bolt On for £4.99/day gives an additional quota to use when roaming in countries outside Europe9:
- Data: Unlimited, but with speeds that may be slow at times
- Calls: 120 minutes to be used calling the UK or calling numbers local to your destination
- Texts: 120 texts to be used for sending to the UK or sending to numbers local to your destination
To activate roaming, log in to My O2 or give them a call, you’ll also need to activate the Travel Bolt On by texting
At the time of writing, UK providers still participate in the EU Roam Like at Home agreement.
Telstra has an International Day Pass for $10/day (or $5/day to New Zealand) which includes10:
- Data: 500mb/day
- Calls: Unlimited to the local country and back to Australia
- SMS: Unlimited to the local country and back to Australia
Vodafone allows you to use your quota overseas for $5/day11.
Optus offers a $10/day Roaming Pass which includes12:
- Data: 1GB
- Calls: Unlimited (some countries only)
- SMS: Unlimited (some countries only)
Spark has a Roaming Pack that works in just over 40 destinations. It costs $20/week and includes13:
- Data: 1GB
- Calls: 200 mins for outgoing, 200 mins for incoming
- Texts: 200 text messages
Vodafone has daily roaming for $7/day which allows you to use your plan quota in supported countries (mostly North America, Europe, and Asia)14.
How to save money on roaming
I wrote a whole guide about how various alternatives to roaming can save you money. In brief, the best ways to stay in touch with people instead of roaming are:
- Buying a local SIM card, cheap but it’s hard for people back home to reach you;
- Using Skype to make phone calls, cheap and easy to call people, but requires data (such as by WiFi or a local SIM card);
- Using an app, which is free but requires data and both parties to have the app; and/or
- Using VOIP, very cheap but hard to set up.
If you’re interested in more detail on how each of these options can be used, check out the guide here: alternatives-to-roaming
Written by Chris who travels frequently for work and understands what it can be like to arrive somewhere new and unfamiliar.
I wrote Landing Last Minute to help the hurried traveler get necessary information about any destination.