The pros and cons of: Adding a roaming plan to your phone

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(Originally published on http://globalnews.ca/)

With just over a week until Christmas, work is winding down and minds are shifting to vacation mode. However, there are still a few minor details to think about before we shut down for another year: one being deciding the “how fast can we exile snow-laden Canada” last-minute vacation spot, the other – and this is the kicker – is the ever-daunting conundrum of “to get, or not get a roaming plan” for said vacation.

A recent study conducted by Rogers Wireless shows that 60 per cent of Canadians consider access to maps important when travelling – ranking it above checking email, the weather and social media. From a crowd-sourced perspective (I asked 10 people as I walked around the city), the clear, convenient choice is adding a roaming package; some of which start as low as $7.99 per day for 50mb of data access. For others, who are more techno-literate, unlocking their device seemed to be the clear choice. That decision allows for use of a prepaid SIM card anywhere, at any time. Despite these options, many are unable to confidently say that they knew what to do when it came to the topic of travel and connectivity.

Being the generous technophile that I am, I figured as my holiday gift to my loyal readers, I would explain a few pros and cons of investing in a carrier-specific roaming plan. Hopefully it clears the air a bit!

Pros:

  • One number to be reached on
  • Extensive and consistent coverage – chances are your carrier has roaming agreements with carriers around the world, benefiting you with the fastest speeds possible
  • Keep tabs on spending with one bill that includes roaming charges
  • Use your own device

Cons:

  • Remembering to ensure package is removed when not in use otherwise you’ll get billed the following month
  • Often not available ‘a-la-carte’, meaning you must pay for a month for only a week’s worth of usage

The purchase of prepaid roaming SIM cards is a cost-effective solution for those comfortable with the process of unlocking their device and changing the SIM when need arises. It also means you will have to memorize a second phone number and track your spending on both the card and your monthly bill. If you’re cringing at the thought of what I just wrote, a roaming package is probably your best option.

Which category do you fall in? Are you a frequent-travelling SIM changer? Or do you appreciate the benefits of roaming plans? Sound off below!

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