Earlier this year, Laura and I wrote about our frustration trying to use Verizon abroad. In short it was a terrible experience and I was just about ready to switch to T Mobile afterward.

But Verizon seems to be slowly learning, and has now announced a new option designed to make international cellphone use much easier.

TravelPass, as this new option is called, let’s travelers use their regular minutes, texts, and data while abroad. In other words (and as I understand it), the user experience while abroad should be virtually the same as it is while traveling domestically in the U.S. — with the exception of getting a text message after arriving overseas.

This new service costs $2 a day in Canada and Mexico, and $10 a day in 65 other countries. The list is decent if you’re heading to Europe, but very few countries in South America or Asia are included, which is a fairly significant weakness.

The plan seems to be a direct response to competitors like T Mobile and Sprint touting their own international plans:

Unlike other providers, Verizon doesn’t use gimmicks like “free data roaming” to lure you in and then put you on a slower network and restrict your data use while outside of the U.S. With TravelPass you’ll get great international service – which is just what you would expect from Verizon.

Verizon says you just need to activate the service online, after which you’re only charged when you actually use it. (Presumably that means you’d have to deactivate cellular data to prevent your phone from automatically connecting, though it’s not entirely clear to me.) That sounds simple enough, though my last experience activating Verizon international services was more complicated than I would have ever expected.

For a variety of reasons, I haven’t yet switched over to T Mobile. I also will be in England and France in just a few weeks, which means I’ll get a chance to try this service out very soon. I’ll do another post then on how easy, reliable, fast, etc. it ends up being.

— Jim Dalrymple II


Written by Jim Dalrymple II

Urbanism and travel writer. Also a journalist covering the news.

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