5 of the Best International Cell Phone Plans 2024

Know details of your cell phone plan before you go, to avoid extra charges and big bills.
Kelsey Sheehy
By Kelsey Sheehy 
Updated
Edited by Kathy Hinson

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You come home from vacation. You’re relaxed. You’re refreshed. Then you check your cell phone bill and find that you owe $800.

International roaming rates are nothing to mess around with, so it’s important to know what you’re on the hook for before you travel abroad. We surveyed the mobile landscape to find carriers and plans that are friendly to out-of-country travelers.

Some choices below are add-ons to an existing plan, paid either daily or monthly when needed, while others are monthly service plans that include good international access in their features.

International roaming plans: postpaid

AT&T

  • Plan: International Day Pass.

  • Price: $10 per day for first line, $5 for additional lines used in the same 24-hour period, on top of your regular phone plan cost. Requires an AT&T unlimited, AT&T 4 GB, or Mobile Share plan.

  • At a glance: Calls from and between the U.S. and included countries are free.

  • Things to know: Once you have signed up, it activates automatically when you travel.

T-Mobile

  • Plan: Go5G.

  • Price: $80 per month, $5 autopay discount available.

  • At a glance: Talk is at a flat 25 cents per minute in more than 215 countries. Unlimited texting and up to 5GB of high-speed data in Canada and Mexico. Unlimited data at 256Kbps speeds in more than 215 other countries.

  • Things to know: Price includes taxes and fees, but add-ons such as insurance or device payments are still assessed. You can upgrade to Go5G Plus for $15 per month, per line to get extra features, including 4K video streaming, 50GB of mobile hot spot data, faster data speeds in more than 215 countries and unlimited in-flight Wi-Fi on some flights.

Verizon

  • Plan: International Monthly Plan.

  • Price: $100 per line per month.

  • At a glance: The plan includes unlimited data plus 250 minutes of talk and unlimited texts. It can be used in more than 210 countries.

  • Things to know: If you don’t opt in to the international plan, then you will be charged “pay as you go” rates when you travel overseas. Looking for options? Verizon also offers a cruise-specific plan for $20 a month or the Travel Pass for $10 per day, which comes with unlimited calls, texts and data.

International roaming: prepaid

Google Fi Wireless

  • Plan: Flexible.

  • Price: $20 per month, plus $10 per GB of data. Taxes and fees are extra.

  • At a glance: Unlimited talk and text in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Unlimited texting while abroad. High-speed data is a flat $10 per gigabyte, even when roaming internationally, but speeds are slower after 15GB of use.

  • Things to know: Texts and data in more than 200 countries for the same price you pay at home. Calls are an additional cost. The Flexible plan includes bill protection, where usage is free after you hit a certain monthly threshold — 6GB for one line, 10GB for two lines, 12GB for three lines, 14GB for four lines and 16GB for five lines. Google Fi uses the T-Mobile network and does not slow down speeds even when the network is busy.

Boost

  • Plan: International Connect and eSIM.

  • Price: For $10 additional per month on any Boost plan, International Connect adds calling to more than 120 countries and texting to more than 200. It requires using an eSIM card on an unlocked phone; once you have an eSIM you can add data for as low as $5 for 1GB over a seven-day timeframe. Use Boost’s country list to identify specific costs for data packages.

  • At a glance: An eSIM is a digital SIM card that allows you to activate roaming services without needing a physical SIM card. A Dual SIM option supports two numbers at the same time, such as separate numbers for personal and business use.

  • Things to know: ESIM cards only provide access to data; you will not be able to call or text unless you add International Connect or use internet-based apps or services like Skype or FaceTime.

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METHODOLOGY

We surveyed major international roaming cell phone plans, checking the price of the international roaming option, data costs, and the price of international calls and texts.