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Internet access while traveling and the best device

by Ellen
(Wyebridge ON)

Hi Marianne
Do you have any recommendations regarding how best to access the internet and type of device.
We have Iphones which are great in Canada but are not prepared to pay for roaming charges while in the US.

We are thinking of purchasing a tablet to use when ever WIFI is available and to download your ebooks into.

Does this seem reasonable/doable? any other advice welcome.

Comments for Internet access while traveling and the best device

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Nov 17, 2017
Sim card for us but your needs may differ
by: Marianne

For our purposes, a USA sim card for our unlocked phone and purchasing pre-paid top ups is still our preference.
On this year's trip (2017) we got it directly from AT&T. Concerned that they might reject a non-US address, we paid cash and used a friend's address (with permission) but I don't think that was even necessary.
If we went more often, or for longer, we might consider a contract to save a few dollars. Many people buy a Trackphone from Walmart. We haven't tried that but I think it's still popular with travelers. It very much will depend you your own needs.
I won't pretend to know the "best" solution for RVers, plus it keeps changing all the time. But I can direct you to who does: Chris and Cherie at dedicate their lives to keeping us up to date on the latest. Absolutely a great resource.

Nov 17, 2017
by: Mike R

Since this info is about two years old, have you found an easier way to get data while in the US for Canadians travelling south?

Sep 22, 2015
Internet and phone for Canadians in USA
by: Marianne

We have tried our various options over our trips. None of them are particularly geared toward Canadians.

On this year's trip we purchased a Consumer Cellular sim card (sold at some Sears stores in the USA) for my unlocked android phone.

They run on the AT&T network. Verizon actually gets better coverage in many western states. We chose this, however, after much research as the best affordable option for us.

The cost of the sim card is minor and refunded from your first month's Consumer Cellular service. No contract is required. We chose their $50 per month plan for unlimited talk and text plus 3 gig data. There are less expensive options that may work for you.

Then for $10.00 (one time purchase) we downloaded a product called Easy Tether.

This let us use the data on the laptop (via the usb cable or bluetooth) so in a sense the phone became a hot spot. Most other cellular plans won't let you create a hotspot without paying extra per month but Consumer Cellular don't offer it themselves so there was no problem. Calls to Canada were additional cost but at a very reasonable rate.

The biggest hassle was getting it set up. Only USA billing address and a credit card at that address can be used. We got around that by using a friend's address and buying one of those preloaded credit cards they sell at Walmart, then registered that card to the US address so we could use it to activate the Consumer Cellular sim card. Once activated, we were able to chance the billing to charge it to our Canadian address credit card without a problem.

On two previous trips we had purchased Verizon's usb stick (around $150.00) for the laptop and then bought prepaid cards for it. The monthly data cost was the same but didn't give us a US based phone - just Internet and only 1 gig of data. Once again, we had to register it at a US address but the Best Buy Store where we bought it offered we could use their store address.

Walmart stores in USA sell a cheap prepaid cell phone that many Canadians use while down there. But that didn't solve our need for data.

Not sure if these solutions would work with an iPhone or not.

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All tips and advice on this web site are purely the personal opinion of the author who assumes no responsibility or liability for any consequences resulting from following said advice.