I am not a cellular mavin and I haven't actually done this yet, but today I spoke with Verizon and understand that we can suspend our cell phone service while we are abroad for 3 weeks next month and pay a prorated amount rather than the regular monthly amount. That would be a substantial savings that is gladly welcomed. We do not use our cell phones in Europe but rely on wifi only iPad if and when we need it. I THINK I got this right, and will check again in a few weeks. Suspending the service will extend my contract by one month and that would be fine with us.
Yes, we have done that with Sprint and AT&T -- costs about $10 per line per month but saves many times that. Phones still work for data and email with hotel wifi, still take pictures even locate you via GPS on previously downloaded maps.
Extra benefit: NO chance we would run up huge bills by mistake.
We bought Eurobuzz phones for occasional calls to/from hotels etc. at $0.79 per minute. Less than $10 for a month trip, after $50 cost of two phones which can be used again.
I do this for 88-89 days every summer. It extends the contract but that's all. You can have service reconnected online at My Verizon.
My Verizon Android phone didn't work in Europe despite them sending me a new SIM card and supposedly doing the necessary programming at their end. My wife's Verizon iPhone worked fine.
I also had some Eurobuzz phones and they worked just fine. It also looked like they work in the US on T Mobile so you can use them during your departure if needed.