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Old 04-20-2014, 10:16 PM   #1
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Telephones

Back in 2002 we camped in Canada for two weeks without a cell phone. Every now and then we found a pay phone, called home and everyone survived. Now that the whole word is connected 24/7 I realize that we can't use our Verizon cell phones without some kind of upgrade. So what do you all do when you cross the border? Calling card? Disposable phone? Smoke signals?
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Old 04-20-2014, 10:32 PM   #2
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Check out "7-eleven speakout", it might have something that'll work for you. We have about the highest rates in the world. When we're in the US we use a pay as you go T-Mobile card and it's less than our 7-Eleven card in Canada

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Old 04-20-2014, 11:03 PM   #3
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We and the kid make sure roaming is turned off. We use texting from WiFi hot spots. Can send pix too that way.
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Old 04-20-2014, 11:55 PM   #4
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Would try to go pre-paid route for anything over a 2 week trip or everyday calling, or get a pre-paid card from Costco and use landline phones (they charge a premium to use payphones). Unless its changed in the last few years the Canadian cell carriers charge LD from your pre-paid city # to where you are when you take the call. That's what it was like in the U.S. 20 years ago! Telecomm changes rapidly and you have to research constantly to get the best deal.
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Old 04-21-2014, 12:01 AM   #5
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I "talked" to my daughter in Europe and San Francisco, Portland etc. by texting from WiFi hot spots.
Cost nothing at all. You just don't get a voice at the other end hemming and hawing or having to make you wait while they go to the bathroom.
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Old 04-21-2014, 12:16 AM   #6
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Call it creature comfort, but I, like most people these days like to be somewhat more connected. Hopefully Canadian cellphone providers are coming out of the rip-off-age and offering more choices for foreigners. In the older days AT&T had Canada calling as a rate plan in partnership with Rogers. That stopped in about 2010.
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Old 04-21-2014, 12:20 AM   #7
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We travel frequently between the US and Canada as we have family in both places. We have a Verizon phone for the US and a Fido phone for Canada. Cost for Verizon is $100 per year and cost for Fido is $10 per month. We use a land line in Canada for most of our calling when we are here. In the US we use free WiFi where available and our home WiFi network when in Canada. Works for us. We are always as connected as we want to be.
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Old 04-21-2014, 12:22 AM   #8
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Everybody loves to hate the cell providers.
Remember when it cost $3 a minute to call long distance? The old days, before you could send pictures from your phone from the middle of nowhere?
Says I, as I reload my Apple TV software because Netflix keeps giving me an error message...
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Old 04-21-2014, 12:29 AM   #9
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Apple? Don't get me started. Yeah, I remember the $4/min "boat phone" charge in the BVI's. And you had to show proof of residence of one year to get pre-paid. Was in that biz for 20 years and will tell you its now like used cars. Do the research, then keep doing it.
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Old 04-21-2014, 07:13 AM   #10
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There was something very nice about really being disconnected -- knowing we couldn't be found unless we wanted to be found. So wait -- I can text for no extra charge from Verizon when I'm in Canada? And how do you find a landline when you are camping? Does that mean pay phones actually still exist in Canada?
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Old 04-21-2014, 07:36 AM   #11
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I have Verizon service and recently asked them about travel in Canada. The person in the store said that we could add an international plan for $25 a month that we could add for our travel there and that as soon as we got back we could take it off and it would be pro-rated for the time it was used (in our case we will use it for two weeks so will pay $12.50ish). This will allow us to make calls and text. He also told us to avoid using data there as it would be very costly.
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Old 04-21-2014, 07:56 AM   #12
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Whenever I go to the US or Mexico, I just contact my cell phone provider (TELUS), and get a roaming package. It gives me a whole bunch of free minutes and text, and bumps my data package to where it works just fine for me. Unfortunately, it is not prorated, and I have to pay for a full month, but the service automatically drops off after one month.

Of course I only have that added for one month. If I was to spend more time down there I would look for a different solution. A friend who has an apartment in Santa Monica, just swaps SIM cards in his phone.
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Old 04-21-2014, 08:30 AM   #13
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Called the local Verizon store, added the Canada plan for $15 per month pro-rated. Added plan just before going into Canada, called again when back. If I remember correctly, the full charge is added the first month, then money is credited back the following month for unused time. Same as Tash on the data warning, just used the phone for voice and text and found wi-fi as needed.
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Old 04-21-2014, 08:35 AM   #14
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telephone

i'll call Verizon again. We are grandfathered in on some plan that allows us unlimited texting so yesterday the guy said we couldn't get the Canada plan. But they also have an international plan that maybe we can add on. I really can't stand VErizon except that they have what has always seemed to be the widest coverage. However, as soon as the youngest child can get booted off the plan (when they graduate from college we graduate them from our family plan) I want to switch.
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Old 04-21-2014, 11:38 AM   #15
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Verizon texting will cost you if you are using data.
You go to a nearby free WiFi spot and text from there. Any Starbucks, McDonalds, a lot of grocery stores. They are everywhere. But not the middle of the bush.
I used my iPhone as a WiFi hot spot at the Escape Rally because I didn't want to pay the resort for access. I connected my Mac to it by Bluetooth and sent some pix to the forum from my trailer.
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Old 04-21-2014, 11:58 AM   #16
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AT&T in the US has a voice plan and a data plan that you can add on a monthly basis. No prorate and it is good for 30 days. Costs are $30 each and the data plan offers 120MB for the 30 days, but with proper management and using WiFi when available it is doable. The calling side only offers 80 minutes of talk time.

The data side is handled by Rogers in Canada and appears to have very good coverage with LTE in many areas.

We plan to add both these to our phones for our visit in late May. Probably data on one phone and voice on the other. There is a bit of a payoff when we visit the Olympic peninsula, many complaints from US phone users getting dinged for Canadian minutes and data usage in that area as Victoria is a closer connection than any towers on the US side.
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Old 04-21-2014, 12:01 PM   #17
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And, Canadians in Victoria getting dinged US roaming charges. I thought they had fixed that.
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Old 04-21-2014, 12:10 PM   #18
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They may well have fixed it, what I am reading on the internet could be five years old. On the other hand how do you test it? I think you can turn off roaming on some phones, it will take me 20 minutes of research to figure that out, by that time who needs the phone.
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Old 04-21-2014, 12:33 PM   #19
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You only have to turn off roaming once.
Mine is turned off. Look around in Settings if you have an iPhone.
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Old 04-21-2014, 01:34 PM   #20
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With smart phones (most have them now), you will incur data usage without knowing it if you don't turn data roaming off, and huge charges may occur. Get to know your phone is the best advice there. Also, you will incur voice roaming charges if an incoming call goes to VM. We turned off our voicemail prior to our last trip to Vancouver Island.

Over the last few years pre-paid has arguably become the better deal in the U.S.- that's what is primarily used in Europe. You don't get that subsidized phone, but no crummy 2 year contract either. I just hope the next time we go to Canada there are better options for pre-paid than our last trip.
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