When you think of a trip to Belize, what do you imagine? Blue skies, ocean waves, and plenty of relaxation probably spring to mind. But although you may be visiting Belize to get away from it all, you may not want to be cut off from family, friends, or work for the duration of your trip.
Luckily, these days, you don’t need to be cell-less, as most people are easily able to use their phones abroad.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to using your US cell while visiting Belize.
1. Make sure your cell phone is unlocked
Step one is a simple one: make sure your cell phone is unlocked. That means it’s not tied to one specific service provider. If you check and your phone is locked into a provider, you can ask them to unlock the phone, which should be an easy – and free – service. Check your provider’s website for more information.
2. Inform your cell provider you’re traveling to Belize
You’ll need to let your cell provider know that you’re leaving the US to visit Belize. They will activate roaming, which will mean you’re able to access all the usual services via the Belizean network from the moment you switch on your phone.
3. Make sure voice and text services are activated
When arranging roaming services in Belize, check with your provider that you will be able to use voice and texting services. You may find only voice service is activated as standard. So if both communication types are important to you, make sure you’re set before leaving home.
4. Check the cost of international roaming fees
Considering how cheap cell plans are at home, it’s surprising how much you can be charged for roaming fees. Charges for phone calls can amount to multiple dollars per minute, which would make for a nasty surprise when your next bill arrives. Make sure you’ve checked this out before you arrive.
5. For heavy use: Buy a SIM card in Belize
If you’ll be using your phone a lot in Belize, another option is to buy a Belize SIM card when you arrive. As long as your phone is unlocked and can operate on 1900 GSM frequency, you’ll be able to do this, and there are some great deals to be had on purchasing pre-loaded SIM cards.
6. Take an international plug adaptor to charge your cell
Of course, your cell won’t be much use if it runs out of juice, so one of the most important pieces of kit to take with you is an international plug adaptor.
Belize uses two voltages – 110V and 220V – and this can change depending on your location in the country. Belize also uses more than one plug type, and in many places, a three-pronged US plug won’t work (although a two-pronged one will). Take an adaptor to make sure you’re covered whatever the socket type.
7. Check whether Wi-Fi is available
While you can get some pretty decent data plans in Belize, the best way to avoid any additional charges is to check if there’s Wi-Fi in your hotel, or in the restaurants and bars that you’re visiting. If so, you can schedule your internet browsing, or even a WhatsApp voice call, when you’re not having to cover the cost.