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Verizon TravelPass (International calling) -- Does it actually work in England?

We're going to enable Verizon's TravelPass on our Pixel phones, which are on Verizon prepaid plans, for a trip to England.
We will add funds in advance to cover the cost.
It's supposed to work but we've seen a few online comments from people who had problems.

Has anyone had good or bad experience calling & texting using this?

Thanks!

Posted by
8871 posts

I have Verizon and budget knowing that each day I’m in Europe is going to be $10 per day.

To communicate with friends and family I use WhatsApp

Learned about it from an AirBnB owner who had a flat in London but was from China. She and her family in China were in contact daily with WhatsApp.

As an example how WhatsApp works I text Forum poster Nigel (who is in England) weekly. I’m in LA.

Doesn’t cost us anything.

So you should research and see if you can use it on your Pixel phones and if your family can download the app to their phones. Try it out before you go.

Posted by
76 posts

Thanks.
I'd guess that you're using WhatsApp through WiFi -- is that correct?
I'd think that any messaging app would work if you've got a WiFi connection. But I don't see how WhatsApp or any of them would work without WiFi or cell service. Maybe I'm missing something?

Still, my wife's mother is 100 years old so she'd like to be able to call her periodically. I think I read somewhere that WiFi calling doesn't work for Verizon phones internationally -- not sure about that but it's floating in my head from not long ago.

Posted by
2853 posts

I was in England this past May and my Verizon service worked great. I always get the monthly international plan when I travel and never have any problems. I make and receive calls, text, use the map app, upload photos to my cloud, etc.

I have an iphone.

Posted by
5687 posts

Yes, Jim, you need WiFi or mobile data to use WhatsApp or any other communication app. If you keep your phone in airplane mode then turn on WiFI, you can do all the messaging you want with any app and avoid the $10/day fee. But if use 1mb of mobile data or receive one text, then you'll be charged the $10 fee for the day.

Verizon doesn't have service in the UK. But they do have roaming partners - so that's how your phone will work there. Get off the plane in the UK and turn your phone on, and you'll connect to the local mobile/cell phone company there who is a Verizon roaming partner.

Many people including some Verizon customers buy SIM cards when traveling to avoid the roaming fees. But, most Verizon users in the forums seem not to be using Verizon prepaid plans. If these are phones you bought FROM Verizon, they are locked so you can't buy a SIM card in the UK. I'm not sure if you will ever be able to unlock them. (Legitimately.)

Posted by
76 posts

Blockquote
I was in England this past May and my Verizon service worked great. I always get the monthly international plan when I travel and never have any problems. I make and receive calls, text, use the map app, upload photos to my cloud, etc.
I have an iphone.
Blockquote

Thanks Carrie. We're going for 20 days so I'd get the monthly plan too.
Did that cover all the costs, or where there roaming charges added on?

Blockquote
Yes, Jim, you need WiFi or mobile data to use WhatsApp or any other communication app. If you keep your phone in airplane mode then turn on WiFI, you can do all the messaging you want with any app and avoid the $10/day fee. But if use 1mb of mobile data or receive one text, then you'll be charged the $10 fee for the day.
Verizon doesn't have service in the UK. But they do have roaming partners - so that's how your phone will work there. Get off the plane in the UK and turn your phone on, and you'll connect to the local mobile/cell phone company there who is a Verizon roaming partner.
Many people including some Verizon customers buy SIM cards when traveling to avoid the roaming fees. But, most Verizon users in the forums seem not to be using Verizon prepaid plans. If these are phones you bought FROM Verizon, they are locked so you can't buy a SIM card in the UK. I'm not sure if you will ever be able to unlock them. (Legitimately.)
Blockquote

Thanks Andrew. For the length of time we're going I'd get the monthly plan, so using any amount for a day won't matter. (I've got unlimited talk and text, data limit of 5gb but I'll utilize WiFi for that as much as possible.)
My phone is unlocked -- I bought it from Amazon and then got a SIM card from Verizon, which was a bit more inconvenient than expected but worked out fine in the end. But I'd prefer not to mess with SIM cards if it's avoidable. I had a problem with that in Italy with a different phone a few years ago -- it took two hours at the phone store to get it working, and that was only with the help of another customer who patiently translated between me and the clerk.

Posted by
2912 posts

I use Verizon’s Travel Pass. But if your mother-in-law’s phone is a landline, setting up Google Voice works to call cellphone to landline using WiFi. You will be given a different phone number so let anyone you are calling or texting know calls from that number are you and not junk. It’s free for US numbers. My hubby won’t use his flip phone or a computer. So when I go to Europe I call him using Google Voice to our landline. FYI, if your hotel WiFi is weak, the calls will cut off. But it saves me Verizon’s $10/day. I turn cell data on for travel days when I need real time maps and other access.
I have an iPhone with Verizon’s unlimited domestic plan so don’t know it this will work with your pre-paid Pixel plan.

Edit: be sure to turn on international roaming for your Verizon international plan to work. Put your phone in airplane mode on days you don’t want Verizon’s plan. Also remember that Verizon’s “days” are based on New York time, not local time.

Posted by
5687 posts

Jim, I understand your reluctance to try a SIM card again, but it might be easier this time. In Italy, SIM cards must be registered with your passport etc, so usually you have to go to a mobile store. In the UK, they don't have to be registered - you can buy them at a grocery store or even a convenience store. They don't cost much. If you try one and it doesn't work, you've wasted maybe $10 or something but you try it at our hotel, not waste two hours at a mobile store.

Plus a modern Pixel phone is I'd guess more likely to work with a UK SIM than some older Verizon phone that was CDMA-based but had to roam on GSM in Europe.

Here's some info on UK SIM cards if you want to learn more:

https://prepaid-data-sim-card.fandom.com/wiki/United_Kingdom

An eSIM might be an option as well.

I highly recommend Google Voice too - you can make unlimited voice calls even to landlines through the Google Voice app, though as with WhatsApp you need mobile data or WiFi to make that work. For this Google gives you another (free) US phone number to use with the Google Voice app. In the old days, Google was picky about prepaid calling plans and would not allow you to use the service or get a phone number with one. I haven't tried getting a new Google Voice number for a few years now - it's worth trying now to see if it works. Nothing to lose if it doesn't. If you can get a Google number now through Google Voice, you can use it in Europe with WiFi or mobile data for calling and texting. I use Google Voice the US for most of my calling and texting anyway, so when I go to Europe and use my Dutch Vodaphone SIM there, my calling and texting wok the same as at home.

Posted by
76 posts

I had never heard of Google Voice so that sounds promising. WiFi is pretty much everywhere. I'll be using NordVPN for security -- I suppose Google Voice won't care that its over a VPN?

My phone has a nano-SIM and an eSIM. I've never used the eSIM. I'm aware of the general idea but not exactly how to implement it. Anyway I like the idea of those for a backup plan.

horsewoofie, thanks for the international roaming reminder, and also for the New York "time" tip -- I wouldn't have thought of that.

Andrew and Carrie, thanks for the links, very helpful.