When you’re researching phone plans for Canadian Snowbirds, it can be overwhelming to review all potential cell phone options and decide which one is best.
Today, we’re keeping things simple and outlining how Canadians can affordably call and text on their regular cell phone while they’re spending part of the year in the United States.
The most affordable phone plans for Canadian Snowbirds
1. Get a U.S. phone number for $4.99/month
It’s easy with the free Hushed app, available on iTunes and Google Play. You’ll get your own private U.S. phone number in seconds.
Just choose a state (like Florida or Arizona), pick your area code, and you can have your very own U.S. phone number for just $4.99 USD/month. It works over Wi-Fi or data (see below), and you’ll have unlimited calling and texting (all U.S. and Canadian numbers).
2. Get prepaid U.S. data for $11/month
Just grab the free aloSIM app, also available on iTunes and Google Play, choose the United States, and grab a 30-day data package for $11 USD. You’ll get plenty of data to power your Hushed phone number (see above) anywhere you travel in the U.S., and it will also power your favourite apps (email, messaging, video calling, etc.) whenever you don’t have Wi-Fi.
Your grand total will be $15.99/month
By using a Hushed phone number for the United States ($4.99/month) and an aloSIM data package for the United States ($11.99/month), you’ll be able to call and text easily while you’re in the U.S. for the winter months.
When you return to Canada, it will only cost $4.99/month to keep your U.S. phone number active and working, just in case you want to keep it until the next year. Or you can cancel it anytime, and just buy a different U.S. phone number when you return to the States in the fall.
Can I still use my Canadian cell phone number?
You can definitely still use your Canadian phone number if you want, but your Canadian carrier will probably charge you for those calls and texts. (iMessage doesn’t count, since those go over the internet and not through your phone number.)
Yes, I want to use my Canadian number in the U.S.
Before you leave for the U.S., chat with your cell phone carrier here in Canada and make sure you will only be charged ‘pay-per-use’ rates for any active calling minutes or texts that use your Canadian phone number. You do not want a ‘travel plan’ that charges you a flat daily rate.
No, I don’t want to use my Canadian number in the U.S.
Right before you get on the plane or cross the border to enter the U.S., toggle off your Canadian SIM card. Then you won’t be at risk for any roaming charges while you’re in the States.
Curious about other phone options?
If you’re interested in exploring all of your phone options, we’ve written a much longer article that explains EVERY cell phone plan option for Canadian Snowbirds, broken down by how much they each cost. The full list of options includes like using your Canadian phone plan (very expensive, do not recommend), using a Canadian carrier travel plan and a working U.S. phone number, and how it works to rely solely on Wi-Fi while you’re in the States.
Ready to set up your phone?
Steps to follow before you leave Canada:
1. Download the free Hushed app and buy a U.S. phone number ($4.99/month)
2. Download the free aloSIM app and buy a U.S. data package ($11/month)
3. Install your digital United States SIM card so it’s ready to use
4. Prepare your phone to cross the border (to avoid roaming charges)
Steps to follow when you arrive in the United States:
1. Activate your data package so you have U.S. data anywhere you go
2. Enjoy your U.S. data and U.S. phone number with unlimited calling and texting!
Questions about phone plans for Canadian Snowbirds?
Not sure about the best solution for your time in the U.S.? Feel free to reach out to our Canadian team anytime by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d be happy to help!