Do You Need an International Travel Plan?

posted in: Italy Travel | 18

Electronics Photo by Margie Miklas iPhone iPadDo I need an international travel plan? Whenever I travel internationally one of my key concerns is communication. How can I communicate with friends and family back home? How can I communicate with friends or businesses in Italy?

Every time I have gone to Italy I have spent hours researching the most reliable and efficient way to do this.  The past few years I have taken my iPhone to use as a camera and to communicate via Skype or Whats App.

apple iphone6These are okay but   Wi-Fi is needed and in some places of Italy, it can be sketchy or nonexistent.

Wi fiIn addition, I took an old Blackberry (and I mean old) which I would use for calling local numbers in Italy. For this Blackberry phone I would purchase an Italian SIM card and was able to make and receive calls in Italy. Several problems occurred with this habit. One, I had to take two phones and two chargers. Two, whenever I had a voice message or text from the Italian provider like Vodafone or TIM on the Blackberry, it was in Italian and molto frustante. And to make matters worse, the red END button didn’t work on the Blackberry, so to hang up I always had to insert the phone into its case.

blackberry Photo by Margie MiklasI am thrilled to report that just recently I have discovered a new plan that makes life much simpler. Actually, Victoria De Maio, my friend and travel companion on my upcoming Sicily trip with #2SicilianGals, gave me the heads up about Verizon’s new International Travel Plan.  She shared the number ( 908) 559-4899 with me and when I called them, I was excited to learn that yes, their plan was exactly as how she had described!

The pleasant and efficient Brandi from Verizon’s International Roaming Department explained it all and set me up in about 15 minutes. She informed me that this has only been in effect since the beginning of 2015.

Basically here is the plan I selected. Since I will be in Italy for a month this works perfectly. For $40 I am covered for 30 days, beginning with the day I arrive in Italy. This allows me to use my iPhone to make 100 minutes’ worth of calls from Italy to the USA or anywhere else. In addition I can send 100 text messages and receive unlimited amounts, since it is free to receive text messages. I also have 100 mb of data, and if I need to, I can increase for an extra $25. Other travel plans are available as well, depending on what works best for you.

verizon-pricing-plansMostly I am interested in using the plan for the phone and text messages, but it is nice to have it for data in case I absolutely have to look something up or check email when I do not have Wi-Fi. Even if I needed to use Google Maps it could come in handy, but I have learned the hard way that the  Google Maps app definitely uses up a lot of data plus battery power on an iPhone.

Brandi even took me through the settings program on my phone, specifying what I needed to enable or turn off, and then she sent an email, detailing all this information again.

So I am ready to go. I leave for Italy in a week and I am psyched! Follow my travels on FacebookTwitter and Instagram, where I will be posting sooner than on my blog.

Photo by Emirates Airline
Photo by Emirates Airline

An international travel plan is a key component when traveling overseas. It doesn’t have to be complicated. A little research can make a world of difference.

Have you experienced frustration in figuring out how to stay connected while traveling internationally? I’d love to hear your stories, so please leave a comment.

Ciao and Grazie.








18 Responses

  1. apollard

    I have used prepaid zero the last 2 years in a row and it’s been great. I get 3 Gigs of data and a bit of phone/text but not much because I just message everyone on messenger. I get all that data so i am free of having to only use internet when i get free wifi, …I feel so connected travelling solo with this lot. My times of greatest challenge technologically is sometimes charging, the accommodations sometimes have the 3 skinny pins, sometimes the 2 skinny pins, sometimes the 2 fat pins, and I only have the adapter for the 2 fat pins. The management sometimes can lend me an adapter, sometimes even the cleaning staff have adapters for the vacuum, and sometimes to my horror I have a flat phone. 🙁 The trains with recharging are a godsend.I have just arrived home yesterday after my month in Italy and am immersed in thinking about it still. I’ll follow your travels with joy. xx

  2. Ginny Fazzino

    AT&T has a similar plan for $40 a month, I am only paying for one month, with unlimited texting and phone calls are $1 minute. They also have ATT international app included in the $40 which lets you hook up to free wi-fi. Hotels offer free wi-fi code, and when on escorted bus trips they have free wi-fi on the buses.

  3. lynne latham

    Thanks for the info. My phone didn’t work in St. John’s, but I had Henry’s. Become too reliant on him. Cudos to you for going it alone! Have a wonderful time.

    • margieinitaly

      Thank you Lynne. I know phones and WiFi are sketchy sometimes in other locations. I guess the name of the game is flexibility. Thank you so much for following my blog and sharing your experience.

      I’d encourage you to travel solo sometime. I’d be happy to help with any questions you might have in planning

  4. Un po' di pepe

    I use my iphone and ipad for facetime, what’s app, and using wifi. I have a separate phone with an Italian sim card or I put the sim card in my iphone. I’ve had the number for 9 years, so all of my friends and family in Italia know the number. I do a pay as you go and do a lot of texting. I also have a Vodafone USB internet key, but it’s now kind of outdated and slow, so I go to the 2 bars in town that have wifi! Buon Viaggio, Cristina

  5. Florence

    Prior to leaving for Italy, Verizon was to add the international plan for me. Since nothing worked on my arrival, and since I was alone a great deal of time, I needed the ability to connect with family back home. I learned that for 5 Euro I could get many minutes to call international, using the hotel room phone. Worked wonderfully, gave me peace of mind knowing I could connect, leaving me to totally fall in love with Italy.
    Have a wonderful journey Margie! Look forward to reading when you have time to write.
    Be inspired and look forward to your new book!

    • Florence

      My apology for a slip…
      It was five Euro for an international phone card purchased at a tabacchi, that I used from my hotel room phone

  6. Greg Soeck

    As I sit here 530 am in Firenze airport I read your post. The photos of what we bring are almost identical. I unlocked my iPhone (thanks Att) and am trying T Mobile. It has been quite good. $70 a month 20cents a min and unlimited text and data. Has babe great for last 16 days. Now back to Florida. Enjoy your trip weather has been great in Toscana. Ciao

    • margieinitaly

      Thanks Greg. Great to hear from you from Firenze! I’ll look forward to seeing your posts and pics. Glad you’ve had good weather too. Buon viaggio. Weather has been good here too!

  7. stellalucentellc

    Good recommendation Margie! I used this same plan this summer and it worked seamlessly… until I entered Sicily. Messaging worked but no phone or data. For that I had to switch my phone carrier to Vodaphone. So keep that 800 number they give you for help handy! And have a wonderful trip!

  8. Kickin' It With Rae

    I posted an update about this just the other day in my blog 😊 Thankfully I had wifi access in our rentals. I also used the Verizon plan as a backup. Sounds like you’re good to go, you’re a seasoned veteran at this stuff 😉 It’s getting close, so exciting!!!!!!

I'm always interested in your thoughts, so please leave a comment.