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Which Canadian Phone Plans is Most Affordable for International Travel?

They are all not very affordable...

· 4 min read

Embarking on an international journey is an exciting adventure, but staying connected while abroad can often come with hefty roaming charges. For Canadian travelers, where domestic data is already very expensive, finding the right phone plan that offers both affordability and international connectivity is probably not going to be easy. In this article, we'll explore the different Canadian phone plans for international travel to find the one that is the most affordable.

Summary

Here is a TL;DR if you don't want to read through the article:

  • Freedom Mobile generally offers the best roaming packages amongst all telcos. However, they provide coverage in way less destinations.
  • Freedom Mobile offers volume plans. Other telcos offer daily passes for you to use data allowance from your home plan. Costs could add up to if you are going on longer trips.
  • For a much cheaper alternative, don't roam. Get a Nomad travel eSIM instead.
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Telus

As one of the leading telecommunications provider in Canada, Telus is a popular option for many Canadians. They offer roaming packages - known as Easy Roam - on top of the standard pay-per-use plans. As with most providers, pay-per-use plans are usually not at all cost-efficient.

The Easy Roam plans are charged at 14CAD per day for roaming in the US and 16CAD per day for roaming in other countries, and you will use your data allowance from your plan. A pay-per-use plan is charged at 5CAD per MB of data in the US or 10CAD per MB of data in other countries — crazy, isn't it?

Rogers

Like Telus, Rogers is a large player in the telecommunications space in Canada. If you are already on a Rogers plan, or considering to switch over to Rogers and trying to find out their charging model for international roaming, you will be glad to find that their charges are slightly more affordable than Telus.

Rogers offers a “Roam Like Home” feature that allows users to utilize their existing plans in over 180 destinations. If you are traveling to the US, you will be charged 12CAD per day, and if you are traveling internationally, it will be at 15CAD per day.

Rogers caps the charges at a maximum of 20 days per billing cycle - which means that even if you are traveling and roaming for the entire month, you will only pay for 20 days (which adds up to a maximum of 300CAD).

Bell

Bell is commonly known to be the most affordable of the three biggest telcos. However, when it comes to roaming, their charges are not significantly different from the other two carriers.

Bell offers the Roam Better plan, which allows you to use data from your home plan at a daily charge. If you are traveling within the US, you can activate roaming for 13CAD per day; and if you are traveling to other countries, it is charged at 16CAD per day.

Note that in both cases, high-speed data is capped at 5GB per day. After which, the speed gets throttled to 512Kbps for the rest of the day.

Freedom Mobile

Freedom Mobile, while it isn't one of the big three telcos, is becoming increasingly popular due to its budget-friendly plans.

When it comes to international roaming, they offer three types of plans - the monthly Roam Beyond Rate Plan, the one-time Roam Beyond Pass, and the pay-per-use plan.

With the Roam Beyond Rate plan, you will pay 65CAD per month for 60GB of data across 73 destinations worldwide. Alternatively, you can get a Roam Beyond Pass which gives you 1GB of data at 20CAD or 5GB of data at 30CAD, valid for 30 days. They also have a 94-country Roam Beyond Pass at 30CAD for 1GB of data or 50CAD for 5GB of data.

While the prices are much more affordable than Rogers and Telus, it is important to note that the plan only covers 73 countries. While it includes most major European cities, it has very limited coverage for Asian destinations. Be sure to check that your destination is included in the list of 73 (or 94) countries that is covered by the plan.

Fido

Fido is another option that is supposed to be more affordable. However, when we take a look at their rates, we find that the options are fairly similar to that of Rogers, Bell, and Telus.

Fido offers a similar model where you pay a fee per day to use data from your home plan. For travels within the US, you will pay 12CAD per day; and for travels outside the US, it will be at 15CAD per day.

Similar to Rogers, the roaming rates are capped at 20 days per billing cycle - which corresponds to a maximum of 300CAD per billing cycle.

Forget Roaming. Get a Travel eSIM instead.

The roaming packages offered by the Canadian telcos are not cheap. For a day-trip or a weekend-trip to the US, you will minimally have to pay 20CAD for 1GB of data with Freedom Mobile.

For longer trips - or if you are a heavy data user - your roaming charges can easily hit 50CAD and above.

A better alternative would be to get a travel eSIM. Travel eSIMs allow you to get data at much more affordable rates across many countries in the world.

Get a Nomad Travel eSIM for your next trip

Nomad offers data plans in over 165 countries, and you can be sure to find one that is suitable for your travel needs. And if you will be traveling across multiple countries, there are also regional plans available so you can stay seamlessly connected as you hop between countries. Data plans are available from as low as $1.50/GB.

If you are unsure about how much data you need for your trip, Nomad also has a Data Calculator that can help you find the plan that is most suitable for you. Also check out our blog post on data-saving tips when traveling to keep your data usage in check when traveling.