Depending on your traveling style, and budget limit, Mexico may not be an expensive country to visit and there are more ways to make your stay even cheaper. Phone bills are some of the important expenses you are likely to incur while traveling because it is essential to keep in touch with your friends and family wherever you are in the world.
Some people tend to ignore phone bills in their traveling budget, and only realize later after getting back home to unexpectedly high phone bills that can quickly ruin the glow of your post-travel experience.
It is important to learn how to save on data roaming costs while in Mexico. It can be really difficult to figure out how to post Instagram photos without having to pay for Data Roaming. Sometimes you have to talk to your phone company through the phone or conduct some research on it.
In this article, we are going to look at top tips provided by experts to help frequent American travelers to Mexico use their phones without going into debt. We will also look at the best top-up option available.
1. Adjusting Phone’s Settings
It may seem obvious, but you should turn off Data Roaming while you travel because it is the single most important thing to do to avoid data bills when you are traveling internationally. Depending on your phone model, you can disable Data Roaming from Settings by tapping Cellular, then sliding it off.
Turn off cellular data as well, for an extra layer of protection. This means you can only access the Internet with your phone via Wi-Fi. Once again you can do this by going back to Settings and tap Cellular again, then slide the Cellular Data switch off.
2. Get US Prepaid Plan That Offers Good Rates
You can use this option if you want to check your email or just use Instagram without having to find an open Wi-Fi network. You can get better and cheaper data plans in the USA to use while in Mexico. For example, you can get 2.5GB of data every month with the T-Mobile Connect plan for only $15. (This amount is up from the previous amount of 2GB.) If you need more, you can upgrade to T-Mobile Connect for $25 a month for 5.5GB. This is enough data for most travelers, but may not be enough if you need data for business or GPS.
Make sure you talk to your cell phone provider before leaving for your trip and find out how much it will cost you to answer the phone if, for example, your mom calls while you’re in Mexico. According to experts, some cellular providers offer very competitive packages. Therefore, you should read the fine print before going, as there may be a couple of catches.
3. Control the Cellular Data of Each App
Even if you have a data package, you may want to block some apps from updating while you’re in Mexico. Some apps will be able to access cellular data but not others if your smartphone runs iOS 7 or later. Navigate to Settings, tap Cellular, and then scroll down to the Use Cellular Data For section. Here, you can turn off any apps that you do not wish to consume your data while traveling.
If you have purchased a data package, you should keep in mind how much data you have used while roaming. If you are using an iPhone, you can find it by going to Settings, select Cellular, then click Current Period Roaming, then click Cellular Data Usage. Don’t forget to tap “Reset Statistics” before your trip (you can find it at the very bottom of the page) in order to restart the tracker.
4. Purchase a Local SIM Card
If you are traveling with an unlocked phone, you can easily purchase a local SIM card while in Mexico. SIM cards are easy and cheap to acquire in Mexico. Seriously. Getting data there is easy and cheap, and that says a lot. It’s super easy to sign up and the internet packages are really great. They come with a lot of perks you probably aren’t used to. Just remember that with the local SIM cards you won’t be able to receive texts and calls from your regular number, however, you can set up forwarding in your phone settings if you like.
Of all the available SIM cards you can buy in Mexico, Telcel is cheaper and the most popularly used by locals. Most travelers from America are usually reluctant to buy local SIM cards. Sometimes this is because of difficulty in top-ups or language barrier because the Spanish language is used in nearly all phone shops and websites. The good news is you can now top-up or recharge easily from anywhere in the world with the Recharge.com US shop. It is one of the best ways you can send instant mobile recharge to the US from any part of the world.
There are major language options available, including English, and the icing on the cake is you don’t have to go through the hassle of using the local payment method. You can still use other regular methods you are used to including PayPal.
5. Avoid Calls and Use Messaging Apps
If you are in Mexico, another way to save on mobile bills is to send notifications and messages via WhatsApp and Viber to friends and family who are using the same apps. Other apps include Google Voice, Skype, and iMessage, which are free and work with Wi-Fi networks. If you are not sure about getting WiFi connection as not all parts of Mexico will have one, you can still buy a local or American with data only. Note that, not all mobile carriers can offer data for international use, so check with your provider to ensure you are getting the right option for you.
Before you travel, be sure to download messaging apps and other apps you will need such as Google maps to avoid extra data cost.