How Do You Do it? Using a Cell Phone When Travelling in Mexico

Last Updated: May 21, 2021 by
Categories: Tips, Cell Phone

In our increasingly connected world, our mobile phones aren’t just used to make calls, they contain much of our most valuable information. Since we always keep them with us, they’re a convenient place to store everything from our family photos to important documents. They even help us get around with GPS and map systems. When on vacation in Mexico or anywhere else, we use them to find new and exciting things to do, places to eat, music to listen to, and more.

If you’re planning on spending time in Mexico, you’re probably going to want to use your cell phone. It’s likely the best way to stay in touch with someone, get directions, and a convenient way to provide proof of important documentation, like region-specific insurance policies for travelling to Mexico.

Since using your phone internationally can sometimes be tricky, it’s important to know your options and prepare ahead of time for how you’ll stay connected when you’re outside your home country.

Using a US Cell Phone in Mexico

International Plans

With so many changes in cell phone plans and technology over the years, you may have international calling and data available on your phone as part of your service plan already. In that case, you’re good to go. Enjoy using your phone in Mexico.

Some cell phone carriers have international features or add-ons you can request for your phone plan, or international agreements that allow you to use your cell phone in Mexico.

Be sure to contact your cell phone carrier/company to determine if your current cell phone plan includes international service, what costs are associated, if any, and how you will be charged. Be sure to ask about extra costs that could show up on your monthly bill, roaming, and data charges.

Using Wi-Fi Only

It’s possible that these options aren’t available to you. Without add-ons or built in international plans, you’ll only have data access on your phone over Wi-Fi.

If you’re not worried about being connected constantly, this may be the best option for you. Disconnecting while travelling can often be liberating.

Before you go, you may want to be sure Wi-Fi access is included with your accommodations or find a place nearby with Wi-Fi. This will allow you to have some cell phone access at specific areas that you determine ahead of time.

Download Important Apps in the US if Possible

If your provider doesn’t allow Wi-Fi calling, you may also want to download an app that allows calling and messaging over Wi-Fi, such as WhatsApp. Contact your provider for more information about this option.

Before you leave, be sure to download important apps, documents and/or entertainment needs, in case you have a slow Wi-Fi connection in Mexico.

Buying a Cell Phone in Mexico While Travelling

In some cases, it could be less expensive for you to buy a phone in Mexico, especially if you’ll be using your phone often.

While you lose the convenience of having your personal digital ecosystem, data, logins, pictures, etc., using a phone purchased in Mexico means that you won’t have to worry about things like connection availability or pricing.

Mexico’s TelCel service has numerous easy-to-understand plans and instructions online that can help you get set up quickly and conveniently. You can also contact any major phone provider about their International phone or prepaid travel options.

How to Make a Call to the US or Canada from Mexico

Making international phone calls isn’t as simple as dialing the phone numbers like you do in your home country.

International calls require first dialing the exit code of the country you’re currently in, followed by the country code of where you’re trying to call, then, finally the standard phone number.

If you’re calling the US from Mexico:

  1. Dial Mexico’s exit code, “00”

  2. Then dial “1,” the country code for the US and Canada

  3. Then dial the full US phone number, including the area code.

For example, if you’re trying to call someone in the US from Mexico, you would dial “00-1-area code-###-####.”

Purchasing and Providing Proof of Mexico Insurance on your Cell Phone

If you’re driving to Mexico in your own vehicle, you’re going to need Mexico-specific car insurance.

Luckily, you’re in the right place to find it quickly, easily and affordably with Mexpro.

For more information on our quoting and insurance purchasing process, visit our detailed explanation and breakdown.

Once you’ve wrapped up the purchasing process, we’ll send you an email with your insurance policy as a PDF. We suggest you print this out as soon as possible and keep it on you at all times while travelling. As a backup, you should also have a digital version on your phone:

  1. Open up the policy PDF on your phone.

  2. Make sure to download it or save it to your device so that you can access it without a data or Wi-Fi connection.

  3. Know how to find it when you’ll need it by reading how to find files on your Android or iPhone.

It Pays to Be Prepared

Whether you’re looking to keep your digital ecosystem – from your vacation photos to your important documents – all in one place, or you want to avoid the stress of surprise charges on your phone bill, it pays to be prepared before travelling to Mexico.

Before you leave, remember to check with your current phone provider about your options, compare those to your options on the ground in Mexico, and make a well-informed decision about how you’d like to travel.

While you’re away, be sure to be safe and have fun. You can find more useful tips for travelling to Mexico from our Mexpro blog.