Moving Internationally? Here’s How To Handle Your Cell Phone Plan

If you’re moving out of the country, it’s tough to figure out what to do with your cell phone plan. Let’s take a look at how to stay connected to the people you love as you make an international move.

  • Talk to your current service provider. While they likely don’t serve every country in the world, most large cell phone service providers do offer some international coverage. They’ll be able to advise you on the plan that makes the most sense for you in your new home. This may require you to get a new phone number and cancel your current service agreement. If you’re set on keeping your current phone number, don’t worry – you may have options.
  • Check out Google Voice. When you set up an account with Google Voice, your friends and family members in the United States will be able to call your old number and have their calls and data messages forwarded to your device, no matter where you are in the world. Many who are unsure of how long they’ll be away from the U.S. choose to stick with their U.S. number and service plan and use Google Voice while abroad. At $20 a month, this option is reasonably low-cost and convenient.
  • Another option for people who are moving abroad is to purchase a new SIM card for your phone. This allows your phone to function in your new home. Beware, however – while your phone is the same, your phone number will change.
  • Go with a temporary fix while you figure out what makes the most sense for you and your family permanently. You don’t have to have your cell phone figured out before you get to your new home. Using Google Voice, Facebook Messenger, Skype, WhatsApp, and other data-based options are great ways to communicate while you get settled in your new home.
  • After you’re settled, head to a cell phone plan provider. If you’ve decided that you don’t want to stick with your United States-based provider, explore options in your new country. Talk to providers about the plans available. The cost of a cell phone plan may differ significantly from what you paid in the U.S. It all depends on what country is now your home.
  • Don’t forget to alert friends and family to changes. A simple way to let friends and family know if your number has changed, or if you’d like them to contact you in a new way, is to change your outgoing voicemail message. Something like, “Hello! You’ve reached Amanda. I’m currently living in London, and you can contact me at <mobile number> or via Facebook Messenger.” This way, your friends and family won’t think you’re dodging their calls as you get settled in your new home.

Moving abroad can be challenging, but the benefits usually outweigh the negatives. While staying in contact with friends and family back home is undoubtedly a priority, don’t forget to put down your phone every once in a while and enjoy your new home.