When you’re moving internationally, one of the most comforting things you can have is the knowledge that you’re still able to get in contact with the people you love back home. One of the most common anxieties about moving abroad is how to handle cell phone service. With a little preparation, staying in contact with people back home doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated.
Let’s take a look at some of the best things you can do before and after your move to ensure that the lines of communication stay open between you and your loved ones.
Contact Current Provider
Before you leave the U.S., stop to see your current service provider, or give their customer service line a call. Explain that you’re moving abroad, and see if they offer cell phone service in your new home country. They may be able to set you up with a plan that makes sense for you in your new home.
If they don’t offer service in the area that you’re moving to, they’ll likely be able to provide you with recommendations on companies to consider. They can also set you up with a few weeks of bridge service. You’ll pay their international rates, but you’ll still be able to use your phone. This is a great way to stay in contact with loved ones while you’re still settling in your new home.
Try an Interim Solution
You’ll have some downtime between when you arrive in your new country and when you’re able to get to a cell phone company office to get your new phone set up and ready to go.
While you’re waiting to make the trip to an office, try Google Voice. For $20 per month, messages and phone calls from your U.S. phone number can be rerouted to the device of your choosing. This makes it easy for you to stay in touch with friends and family back home, all without having to sign up for a new cell phone plan.
Skype can also work well, as long as you have wireless service.
Provide a Message
Set up an outgoing voicemail message explaining your move. Give people an alternative way to contact you (such as through email or Facebook Messenger). While total cell downtime will likely be minimal, you’ll want people back home to know you’re not ignoring their calls.
Identify a New Provider
Once you’ve got some of your clothes unpacked and you’re ready to venture out and explore your new neighborhood, head to a cell phone provider. Asking new friends and co-workers about whether they like their current cell phone provider is a great way to get a list of offices you’d like to visit to learn more about getting signed up for a plan.
Figuring out what to do with your cell phone plan can be a stressful part of moving. Does it have to be that way? Nope! A little planning on the front end before you get on the plane can help you know exactly what to do to stay in touch with the people you love while you get settled into your new home.