Long Distance

Cheap Cell Phone And Data Plans For Traveling To The USA

cheapcellphoneanddataplansfortravelingtotheusa.jpgI'm going to be leaving for the American personal finance bloggers conference called FinCon in a couple of days to meet up with like minded people and try to learn ways to make HowToSaveMoney.ca better.

While there, I'm going want to be able to use my cell phone to call home as well as have data access for Google Maps, keeping up on email, checking on my site, looking up restaurants and attractions, tethering to my surface so I can work anywhere, and the list goes on.

There are a lot of options out there and not everyone is aware that you have more choices than just paying through the nose with your existing provider. Here are a few of the choices you have:

The Easiest Way To Go

The easiest thing to do is to check with your current cell phone provider to see what kind of add-ons they have for traveling to the USA. If you plan to use your phone for more than 1 or 2 calls or texts, then this is almost certainly a better option than paying per use.

Pay per use rates are typically around $1.50 per minute talked, up to $1 per text sent, and as much as 5 cents per kilobyte of data used which works out to $500 for 100MB of data, which is insane. Pay per use rates vary by provider, but they are never very attractively priced.

Only considering a combination of talk, text, and data, these are the cheapest rates offered by some popular Canadian providers in no particular order.

* In some cases I had to piece together rates for a talk, text, and data plan where no such plan was offered. In cases where a period of less than 1 month was available, I chose pricing for packages of 7-10 days in duration which would cover the length of a typical vacation.





Text (Sent)




50 minutes



31 days



100 minutes


1000 messages

30 days



50 minutes


150 messages

30 days






10 days



50 minutes



31 days



100 minutes


1000 messages

30 days






1 month

The Pretty Cheap And Pretty Easy Way To Go

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$108 – My Cost For High Speed Internet, TV, 2 Cell Phones, Home Phone, Long Distance, And Movies

108mycostforhighspeedinternettv2cellphoneshomephonelongdistanceandmovies2.jpgI’ve been meaning to write a post for probably a year now on how much I pay all together for my communications and entertainment services on a monthly basis and while reading this post over at Add Vodka earlier today I was inspired to finally get doing it! I’ve written a lot here on how to save money on your monthly bills but I’ve never actually broken down my own costs as a real life example and I think that’s worthwhile, so here goes. All prices include taxes and fees.

$66.61 – High Speed Internet (50mbps Down / 30mbps Up)

Here in Atlantic Canada we have some of the best high speed internet service in all of Canada. We don’t have much competition or low cost providers, Rogers and BellAliant are pretty much it for choices, but Aliant has always been an early pioneer for high speed internet in Canada. My parents actually had 8mbps fibre optic high speed at their house all the way back in 1997!  Unfortunately, it was before its time and they later discontinued it in favour of much slower and cheaper DSL, but since 2009 fibre has returned with even higher speeds in their new FibreOp service!

I’m actually on the lowest speed at 20mbps 50mbps (they upped it for free), which is more than enough, but they also offer download speeds of up to 250mbps! Even better, there is no download cap so I can stream and download as much multimedia as I want. By calling and negotiating a better deal, I was able to get a $10 monthly discount off the regular rates. Keep in mind, I have no other services with them but internet so they don’t usually like to discount things too much unless you bundle multiple services together, so I think I did pretty well there to even get a discount.

Cost Breakdown: $68.95 – $10.00 + $7.66 tax = $66.61

FREE – Unlimited On Demand TV

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magicJack: A Canadian Review Of The Money Saving Telephone Device

magicJack Magic Jack, officially spelled “magicJack”, is a small easy to use device that allows you to make unlimited local and long distance phone calls anywhere in Canada and the United States for only $20/year. Yes, that’s year, not month! Impressive, right?

When I hear numbers like that, the first thing that crosses my mind, and probably yours as well, is that there must be some sort of catch or the entire thing is a scam. However, I have to admit that I was very intrigued so I started researching the device thoroughly with cautious optimism and finally purchased one about 2 months ago. We have been using it successfully ever since and I’m happy to report that it is definitely not a scam! That’s not to say that there weren’t any problems with it, there were, but they were trivial in comparison to the amount of money that magicJack will save us every month for as long as we continue to use it.

Related: Get 5% Cash Back on Gas and Groceries

How magicJack Works

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How To Eliminate Your Home Phone Bill And Long Distance Charges!

It is clear that the internet has revolutionized the way we communicate by introducing email, instant messaging, video conferencing, message forums, newsgroups, and blogs. But not only that, it is also becoming the only infrastructure necessary to do many of the things that used to require special mediums before like making phone calls, watching TV, listening to music, and so on. Yes, the internet can even help you completely eliminate your monthly home phone bill as well as the long distance charges you may have become accustomed to!

Most people have heard of Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) as it has been a big buzz word over the past several years. However, many people don’t fully understand how it works and think it is probably too complicated for them to bother using. That couldn’t be further from the truth! There are tons of VoIP devices and services on the market today and many of them are geared towards average people with little technical know how so that everyone can take full advantage of it. But how do you know which VoIP device or service provider to choose?

How To Choose A VoIP Provider

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Is It Time You Switched Long Distance Providers?

Most people who have a home phone stick with their home phone service provider for all of their long distance needs, but is that really the most cost effective thing to do? It really isn’t! There are so many long distance service providers in Canada that you can definitely save money by switching away from Bell, MTS, Rogers, SaskTel, or Telus. Switching is easy, sometimes not even requiring you to make any changes to your existing service, so there is really no reason not to switch!

As part of the new Services section, our Guide To Saving Money Using Long Distance Providers is now complete and lists all of the major long distance service providers that you can choose to save big on your long distance costs through your home phone and, in some cases, your cell phone as well. Here are a few highlights:

Direct Dial Long Distance – 2.2 Cents Per Minute

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Save Money Using VoIP Devices And Services

savemoneyusingvoipdevicesandservices.jpgVoice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is, at its heart, just a method for communicating by voice over the Internet instead of through traditional phone lines. Simple.

However, with it comes a whole new set of technology challenges because communication through the internet is typically much slower than a direct telephone connection. This is because of how internet traffic is routed and because data sent through the internet is usually split up into very small chunks before it is transmitted and is reassembled later when it is received. These things can introduce big delays that are very annoying when speaking to someone else, causing you to constantly talk over each other, as well as causing garbled speech when all of the data isn’t received in a timely fashion or if it is in the incorrect sequence.

Fortunately VoIP has been around for quite a few years now and due to advances in the technology and faster internet speeds, these problems aren’t nearly as troublesome. Many companies have embraced VoIP and launched consumer friendly devices and services that are easy to use, cheap, and work extremely well. This guide will cover the most popular VoIP services that can ultimately save you a lot of money on your phone service and long distance charges.

In This Guide

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Save Money Using Long Distance Providers

savemoneyusinglongdistanceproviders.jpgThere are so many long distance providers available to Canadians that it can be difficult to evaluate them all, but in this guide I’m going to give it my best effort! There are essentially three types of long distance providers that you might consider using and that is what this guide is all about.

In This Guide

Direct Dial Long Distance Through Your Home Phone Provider

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Save Money Using Calling Cards

savemoneyusingcallingcards.jpgCalling cards have been kicking around convenience stores forever and have always offered significant savings off the standard long distance rates charged by phone service providers, yet still many people choose not to use them. People like the convenience of being able to pick up the phone, quickly dial a number, and be immediately connected to their desired party. In other cases it may not be an issue of convenience, but instead an issue of complexity. Calling cards can be complex with huge lists of local access numbers, different rules and fees for using every card, and lots of fine print to read.

It is true that calling cards add in extra steps that can be cumbersome, so is using a calling card really worth it? I believe the answer to that question is yes! They can save you a lot of money, so in that regard they are worth it, and, after reading this guide, you should have a much better understanding of how they work, how you can make use of them without too much hassle, and what the best calling cards are for your personal needs.

In This Guide

Understanding How Calling Cards Work

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How To Save Money On Long Distance

howtosavemoneyonlongdistance.jpgLong distance used to be so expensive that conversations were typically kept short and loved ones in distant cities were called infrequently because the costs were just too prohibitive for most people to have frequent or lengthy conversations. In recent years all that has changed as prices have dropped dramatically from what they once were and there is a plethora of options for saving money on long distance thanks to modern advances in technology. So then why is it that cell phone companies in Canada are still charging as much as 40 cents per minute for domestic long distance? That’s practically highway robbery!

With everyone used to paying astronomical prices for their long distance, many people think that the prices charged by their phone company are reasonable because they have dropped so much. Paying 10 cents per minute would definitely be acceptable to many and 5 cents per minute would seem like a bargain to those same folks! They might be shocked to find out that there are many ways to get long distance much cheaper than that and in some cases you can even get long distance to Canada and the United States for FREE.

This guide will cover all of cheapest and best options for Canadians to save money on long distance so lets get started! Keep reading » about How To Save Money On Long Distance

Long Distance Is Cheap: Are You Paying Too Much?

longdistanceischeapareyoupayingtoomuch.jpgWith technology developing at breakneck speeds, the price of long distance has plummeted rapidly in the past ten years. Not only has the cost of long distance over wired phone lines dropped dramatically, but it is even less when using internet technologies like Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP). However, this doesn’t stop your home phone or cell phone service providers from trying to gouge you with rates as high as 35 cents per minute for long distance within Canada and the USA.

Nowadays, many home phone providers have dropped their rates to be more competitive and a common rate to pay would be 5 cents per minute. This seems like an amazing improvement when you consider the older rates, but the fact of the matter is you can easily achieve rates as low as 1 cent per minute using calling cards or FREE or almost free using VoIP related technologies and services! Make sure you read the entire post so you get to see all of the best and free options! Keep reading » about Long Distance Is Cheap: Are You Paying Too Much?