Having cell service while traveling is great – you can keep in touch with loved ones, have peace of mind that you can contact someone whenever you need, keep up with your social media, and post pics of your adventures. Until – you notice your cell bill has completely exploded!
How can you avoid exploding your cell bill when traveling to Grenada? You can:
- Purchase a SIM card from a local carrier like Digicel or Flow;
- Purchase an international day pass or cell plan from your cell provider (if offered);
- Turn your phone on airplane mode and only use wifi when it’s available.
To make sure you can travel to Grenada and not have to worry about your cell bill exceeding the cost of your airfare, I’ll walk you through why cell bills can explode in the first place, ways to make sure that doesn’t happen, and all the other specifics you need to know.
Like most people, when I travel, I want to be able to use my phone for all its capabilities. You know – to call or text family and friends, upload pics of my travel adventures, stay up-to-date with social media, and a digital lifeline in the event of an emergency.
There’s just one big issue we all still face when traveling internationally, though: extremely high cell phone charges and bills.
Thankfully, your cell phone bill doesn’t have to skyrocket and explode when you travel to Grenada. I’m going to show you ways to make sure it doesn’t happen.
Learn Why Cell Bills Get So Expensive When Traveling
If you haven’t experienced it yourself, you likely know someone who has gone on an international trip, made calls, texts, and used data as usual, then had to pick themselves off the floor when the cell bill arrived.
Why is that? You have an unlimited plan, and everyone around you is using a cell phone. So why do you get such a high bill? Exactly how and why does your cell phone bill seem to skyrocket so easily and quickly?
While reasons can be different for every cell service carrier, there are a few things we know for sure.
One of the biggest, if not the biggest, culprits of high cell phone bills during and after traveling is roaming charges.
Roaming charges are fees billed by your service provider that you can incur when you’ve traveled outside of your “home” network. Roaming charges essentially mean you have “roamed” into another provider’s coverage area.Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
According to research conducted by The Washington Post, roaming charges cost more than five times as much as normal, non-roaming fees!
So, if you’ve “roamed” outside of your “home” network coverage area, the roaming charges are high – and they add up quickly.
But why are roaming charges so high? Don’t different networks essentially offer the same services?
Unfortunately, a lot of it comes down to price gouging and pricing that isn’t straightforward.
It’s difficult for phone companies and cell carriers to manage and control your data use and roaming while you’re traveling internationally and “roaming” on those other carriers’ networks.
Cell carriers have to be in contact with the other networks a user is “roaming” on in order to see their usage. Often, it’s near impossible for cell carriers to get real-time updates from other networks. After all, just think of how many cell service providers and cell phone users there are around the globe!
So, since your provider doesn’t know what costs they will incur by using the networks of other carriers, they charge higher rates to ensure they will be able to cover any costs you may have incurred while “roaming” on those other networks.
Sometimes, if cell carriers have been able to contact another cell carrier or network, they can work out deals for roaming charges for their customers. It all comes down to being able to communicate among networks.
Some large phone companies tend to have the stance that they don’t have the “bargaining power” to ask for lower rates for their customers from foreign networks; in some cases, that may be true. In other cases, we can’t know for sure.
One thing we do know is that thankfully, communication between phone networks around the globe has improved, and phone companies are starting to lower their roaming costs.
Naturally, large phone companies simply can charge hefty roaming charges, and they do – because they know they’ll (in most instances) get paid.
Now, how can you avoid those high priced roaming charges?
#1: Purchase an International Plan or Day Pass from Your Carrier
In today’s day and age, it’s pretty safe to assume you already have a cell phone carrier in the U.S. Thankfully, several U.S. cell phone providers offer international plans or “day passes” for an additional charge on your bill.
You may be wondering, “Isn’t the point to avoid extra charges on my cell bill?” While it would be awesome to avoid extra charges on your cell phone bill altogether, that isn’t entirely possible without just leaving your phone at home while you travel (and who wants to do that?).
International plans and day passes offered by your U.S. carrier are helpful because while they don’t totally eliminate the potential costs of using your cell phone while in Grenada, they’re much less expensive than roaming charges you can incur. Plus, you know exactly what you’re getting and the exact amount you have to spend.
Let’s take a look at the international coverage and passes offered by some of the large U.S. cell carriers.
First, it’s important to note that coverage in Grenada for major US carriers is relatively good and reliable on the outer rims of the island, but coverage dwindles quickly as you travel more inland.
AT&T’s International Coverage Options for Grenada
AT&T is well known for its International Day Pass that costs just $10 USD per day per line when you want to use it, but that’s not all the cell carrier company offers as far as cell coverage in Grenada.
AT&T also offers a Passport option, which is a $70 USD, one-time charge that’s valid for 30 days (or longer, if you want to extend it). If you wish, you can get Pay-Per-Use rates from AT&T when traveling to Grenada. Pay-Per-Use rates start at $2.05 USD per MB of international data.
The available options and technology AT&T offers in Grenada under its International Day Passes, Passport options, and Pay-Per-Use rates are 2G, 3G, and 4G data speeds, data, text, and calling, and photo and video sending.
For a complete breakdown of the services AT&T offers in Grenada (and every other country they offer cell services in, for that matter), check out AT&T’s list here.
Verizon’s International Coverage Options for Grenada
Verizon’s cell coverage options for Grenada are a little more limited than AT&T, but they’re still great, especially for those who already use Verizon as their cell service provider.
If you’ve got Verizon and plan on traveling to Grenada, you’ll first want to make sure that you have a global phone. Verizon states that most of its phones are global phones, but that each user is encouraged to check their phone eligibility and compatibility.
Global phones are phones that are compatible with technology and services in countries outside of the United States, and they basically work wherever you find yourself traveling. .How Stuff Works
With two specific carriers – AT&T and T-Mobile – the networks and phones are built based on the Global System for Mobile communication (GSM) technology. Their phones work just about anywhere
Verizon makes it more complicated because not all of its phones and technology are compatible with GSM.
Verizon still offers international plans and coverage in Grenada, as long as you have a GSM compatible phone (check with Verizon to find out if your phone is compatible).
Verizon customers can get 4G LTE, 3G, and Prepaid talk, text, and data in Grenada with GSM-compatible phones.
While the prices for these services aren’t listed outright, Verizon does offer a $10 USD per day per line TravelPass as well as several month-to-month and pay-as-you-go options.
T-Mobile’s International Coverage Options for Grenada
T-Mobile users with Simple Global plans can utilize unlimited talk, text, and 2G data at no extra cost in Grenada!
Users that have other T-Mobile plans have the option to utilize a pay-as-you-go feature, which offers data at $15.00 USD per MB, $0.50 USD per text sent, and $0.25 USD per call minute.
T-Mobile also offers several cruise plans for those who may be visiting Grenada via cruise ship. You can also check with them to make sure your device is compatible with their coverage in Grenada.
For full details on T-Mobile’s Grenada plans and coverage, check out their site here.
Recap: U.S. Cell Carrier Options for Grenada
To make things easy and simple, you can refer to the chart below for a look at the options some of the U.S. cell carriers offer for coverage in Grenada.
|Carrier||International Plan Pricing||Pay-Per-Use Pricing||Coverage|
|AT&T||• International Day Pass for $10 per day per line. |
• Passport for $70 per month per line needed
|Starting at $2.05 per MB of data used per line||• 2G|
|Verizon||• Depends on plan and phone compatibility|
• TravelPass for $10 per day per line
|Starting at $2.05 per MB of data used per line||• 4G LTE|
|T-Mobile||• Simple Global Plan offers Grenada coverage at no extra cost||• $15.00 per MB of data used per line|
• $0.50 per text sent
• $0.25 per minute of calling
#2: Purchase a SIM Card from a Local Carrier
Another great way to go about having cell service in Grenada while not breaking the bank is to purchase a SIM card from a local carrier.
SIM cards are, put simply, portable memory chips for your cell phone that store information about you as a cell phone user. They are portable and can be transferred from device to device (if compatible, of course), and allow your phone to connect with cell networks.Kwik Boost
Grenada has its own cell phone carriers that provide service around the island, and those carriers offer options in which you can purchase a SIM card for your phone to utilize that service. Grenada even has several SIM card deals and discounts just for travelers!
Grenada has two main phone operators and cell phone providers, and those companies are Digicel and Flow. Both offer good prices (especially in USD), promotions, and pay-per-use plans.
The good news– Grenada’s SIM cards and plans from local carriers are very often much less expensive than the plans and rates offered by U.S. cell providers!
Purchasing a SIM card from a local carrier in Grenada is likely the best and least expensive option for those who plan to stay in Grenada for more than a day or so.
First Things First: Make Sure Your Phone is GSM Compatible
Even if you purchase a SIM card from a local carrier in Grenada, your phone still needs to be GSM-compatible. You may hear someone use the term “unlocked.” It’s another way of saying GSM-compatible.
If your phone isn’t GSM-compatible or you don’t believe it is, don’t panic just yet. You can purchase a relatively inexpensive GSM international phone to use with the local SIM card.
In fact, you can even find an unlocked GSM international phone and have it shipped to you before you go!
Digicel is called Grenada’s market leader when it comes to cell coverage. With Digicel, you can expect to utilize 2G, 3G, and 4G wireless services. SIM cards can be purchased in Digicel stores or from approved resellers, but you’ll need to make sure you’ve got your passport in order to purchase one.
Once you’ve purchased a Digicel SIM, you can load your SIM with credit, or purchase a prepaid data plan depending on your use and how long you plan to stay.
According to Finder.com, Digicel offers the following plans at the following rates:
|Data||Amount of Time||Data Rate|
|400MB||Valid for 1 day||XCD6.00 ($2.22 USD)|
|2GB||Valid for 3 days||XCD15.00 ($5.55 USD)|
|4GB||Valid for 7 days||XCD28.00 ($10.36 USD)|
|10GB||Valid for 30 days||XCD95.00 ($35.15 USD)|
Flow is Grenada’s other market leader when it comes to phone coverage and cell service. According to users, there are great promotions and even better prices! Flow also offers a wide large variety of plans and “Travel Passes.”
Flow offers 2G, 3G and 4G wireless services, and SIM cards, like with Digicel, can be purchased from Flow stores or approved resellers. A passport is also required to purchase a SIM card from Flow.
Again, much like with Digicel, you can purchase credit for your SIM or purchase a prepaid plan. Some of the prepaid plans and rates offered by Flow include:
|Data||Amount of Time||Data Rate|
|60MB||Valid for 1 day||XCD2.70 ($1.00 USD)|
|120MB||Valid for 1 day||XCD3.69 ($1.37 USD)|
|300MB||Valid for 3 days||XCD11.99 ($4.44 USD)|
|500MB||Valid for 7 days||XCD16.99 ($6.29 USD)|
|1GB||Valid for 7 days||XCD27.00 ($9.99 USD)|
|500 MB||Valid for 14 days||XCD29.99 ($11.10 USD)|
|1GB||Valid for 14 days||XCD38.99 ($14.43 USD)|
#3: Take Advantage of Wifi
Perhaps the way to spend the least amount of money on your cell bill when traveling to Grenada is to turn your phone on airplane mode and utilize wifi when you can find it.
Today, a lot of places in Grenada offer wifi for customers and visitors. Some of the places you can find wifi in Grenada are:
- Yacht Marinas
- Ports (for cruise ships, etc.)
Just remember you may not be able to call, text and use data anywhere and everywhere you go. But wifi is available in many places Grenada.
Other Tips to Keep Your Cell Bill from Exploding When Traveling to Grenada
There are a few other things you can do to ensure your cell bill stays low and doesn’t skyrocket when you’re traveling to Grenada.
Don’t Let Apps Use Cell Service in the Background
If you’ve used popular apps like Snapchat that offer location services and other services, you may have received a notification before that says something along the lines of “Snapchat has been using your location in the background for ‘x amount of time.’”
That means Snapchat (or any app that can use your cell services in the background, for that matter), was using your cellular data even while you weren’t on the app. Quite a few apps do the same thing, and when roaming charges are so high, this can get very costly!
When traveling internationally, certain apps may be using your cell service in the background – meaning they’re using your cell service even when you aren’t actually on the app – and that can explode a cell phone bill sneakily and quickly.
To see which apps are using your cellular data in the background, check your phone’s settings and navigate to the settings for your cellular service. Your phone may have an option that says something along the lines of “Restrict Background Data,” or you can turn the background data of apps off individually.
You’re obviously a cost-conscious traveler so maybe you’d be interested in my article to help save money on food while you’re visiting Grenada – Cost of Food in Grenada + Tips to Avoid Busting your Food Budget.
If you’re traveling to Grenada, you’ve likely been wondering how you can utilize cell service there without exploding your cell bill and breaking the bank. Luckily, there are several options so that you can save more money for your trip – and spend less on charges you might not get an explanation for anyways.
No matter what you decide to do, remember to enjoy all that Grenada has to offer (whether you post a few photos along the way or not), and stay safe while doing so!