Everyone's nightmare is returning from a trip to find you've racked up extensive charges on your cell phone bill without realizing it. You want to avoid roaming charges on your phone, but still stay connected. Here are a few different options for you to consider for using your cell phone to stay connected during your trip to Mexico without breaking the bank.
Stick to Wifi
If you're not expecting any urgent calls and you don't need to be connected all the time, you can turn roaming and the data on your phone off and just use a wifi connection when you can get one, like at the Mexico City airport, and hopefully at your hotel.
Apps like Skype and Whatsapp will allow you to make calls over a wifi connection without using your data plan, so you can make calls home for free when you have a good wifi signal. Make sure you have a communications app installed on your phone before you leave.
Discuss Options with your Provider
Before your trip, inquire with your cell phone service provider about international calling and data plans. They may have packages available at a much lower price than you would normally pay for roaming.
Buy a Mexican Cell Phone or Chip
If you have an unlocked cell phone (if your phone is locked, you can unlock it at any cell phone repair shop in Mexico), you can buy a Mexican chip for your phone so that you can make and receive calls on a pay-as-you-go basis. This is a good way to keep track of your communication expenses and is an especially good option if you're planning a long stay in Mexico. Let your friends and family know your Mexican phone number if you choose this option.
Mexico has a few different cell phone company options. The largest and the company with the most extensive coverage across the country is with Telcel, but you may find that Movistar or Iusacell offer cheaper options.
Calling Mexican Cell Phones
If you are calling a cell phone from a land line within Mexico, the number is preceded by a 3 digit access code.
For calls to a local cell phone (within the area code that you are dialing from), dial 044 then the 10-digit number of the mobile phone. If you are calling a cell phone outside the area code that you are dialing from, dial 045 first.
More tips about making and receiving calls in Mexico.