Cell phones are so engrained in our lifestyles now that we don't even think twice about bringing them along on our vacations and using them normally. This can be a big mistake, especially if you're on a trip to get hyperbaric therapy in the United States, because connecting with American cell phone networks on your Canadian phone can end up costing you big bucks. Here's a run down on how roaming works and how to avoid big bills after your vacation.
Roaming is defined as taking your cell phone outside of the coverage umbrella provided by your network. Here in Canada, most companies offer free nationwide roaming though deals with one another, but in the United States things are different. Deals between your company and an American one may allow you to place calls back home to your fitness clubs in Toronto, but you will end up paying through the nose for it, sometimes even if you don't make any calls at all.
It's always a good idea to check with your cell phone provider before you take your phone outside the country. Some companies may only charge you for calls, texts, or mobile data usage done outside the network but others will charge you just for connecting to the network in the first place, meaning you can incur feels while you're buying FramedCanvasArt.ca prints just by having your phone on in your pocket, even if you're not using it for anything. Arguing about the bill after the fact with your provider will only end in frustration, so don't assume you can just say "I didn't know."
With the recent controversy over roaming charges, some of which can reach $1,500 per month, most cell phone companies now offer deal plans for roaming in the United States and other countries, but you can only take advantage of them if you sign up for one before you leave your PEI beach house rentals. Otherwise you'll end up paying several dollars per minute to use your phone. When traveling overseas, unless your phone has a SIM card (as opposed to the built in GMS most North American providers use) you won't be able to connect to other networks at all.
Some options for avoiding roaming charges while traveling including turning your phone off completely, using it only to connect to the free wi-fi networks in hotels and cafes, or buying a locally based pay as you go phone when you get to money exchange Vancouver.