Like to travel internationally or have you considered vacationing or living in Cabo San Lucas? Want to avoid expensive roaming charges, text fees and still be able to call home when needed? Keep reading to discover ways to travel internationally, vacation or relocate out of the United States or Canada by implementing “simple” free applications or tools onto your mobile device, laptop or computer to avoid text, phone calls and roaming fees!
If you are like me and my wife, you LOVE to travel and you appreciate new experiences! Anyone who has traveled to a tropical paradise or a romantic city or throughout different parts of the world will express with excitement that taking vacations or traveling is not only therapeutic and necessary, but is also one of the most exciting life changing experiences that you can do. Discovering an unfamiliar culture or trying to understand a different language is challenging and sometimes frustrating. However, once you expose your mind to all the history surrounding you, “life” becomes clearer and “things” become less important…
Living and appreciating life is in my DNA and I can’t change that. We may not have traveled the whole world yet, but we did make a commitment to live outside the United States to venture off and explore different exciting locations. We encourage you to do the same – enjoy life and just explore! Who knows, perhaps you will discover a destination you love so much (like we have with living in Cabo San Lucas) that you and your family decide to pack your things and move. Imagine all that you will learn, all the new things you will appreciate and all the people you will meet. Sound impossible or perhaps not your thing? No worries mate, keep reading to discover some technology to make life easier and perhaps less expensive while travelling…
Regardless of your current situation, if you travel outside of the United States or Canada or if you plan to relocate to a new paradise destination like Cabo San Lucas, then this article is for you. This article is about adapting to simple technology changes, which will allow you to continue your communications with friends and family back home and work (if you choose to) utilizing some apps, plugins or software downloads.
I prepared a “to do” list of things you should do before you leave your home when travelling abroad or if you decide “living in Cabo San Lucas” is the right choice for you and your family. Disclaimer: I am NOT a tech guy, but I was so frustrated when my Netflix, Pandora, etc was not working outside the US that I became a master of discovering ways to thrive along any beach in the world and still maintain my Lounge Chair Marketing status!
After many hours of research, I have complied the following so YOU and YOUR family can travel and stay connected without any additional charges…
MUST DO before you travel or leave your home:
- FREE Calls and Text Messages: Set up a FREE Google Voice account as this allows you to receive or make phone calls, plus send and receive text messages via an Internet connection. Must do next step for FREE calls and text messages…
- FREE Mobile Apps: Install a mobile application that will work with Google Voice. Go into your App Store and search for Google Voice. We installed and use Mo + for all of our FREE Local and International phone calling, texting, and photo sharing! There are many FREE apps that work with Google Voice, but Mo + seems to be the most intuitive and works 99% of the time! Also install Voxer which is a “push to talk” FREE messaging service onto your mobile device as it works great OR visit their website and upload it
- Turn Data OFF: Before you hop on the plane or enter your country of destination, go into your phone settings and disable or turn OFF your Cellular Data! YES, you can still send and receive phone calls, you just won’t be able to surf the Internet. This prevents excessive roaming charges. Once you arrive to your destination, look for secured WIFI at your hotel, restaurant, mall etc…and enter their password. This will provide FREE Internet access to check your email (not that you want to), surf the Internet and use these apps!
- Phone Calls: Buy MagicJack! Still only $19.95 a YEAR for unlimited calls to the US and Canada. We use MagicJack all the time while travelling and living in Cabo San Lucas, plus we managed to keep our Orange County (949) number. When placing or receiving calls the “caller ID” shows area code (949) so unless I tell someone we are in Cabo San Lucas, they think we are still in southern CA. There is also a FREE app you can install onto your mobile device that works great IF you have strong WIFI. Could also use a program like Vonage but more expensive and essentially works the same.
- Video Chats: Install the FREE version of SKYPE Yes there is a paid version too, but I have made well over a 1,000 video chat sessions to friends and family and have never paid a penny with SKYPE. The FREE version works great plus there is a FREE app you can use on your mobile device! Google Hangouts are also FREE and great when you want to bring multiple people onto the conversation.
- Unit Converter: Install a FREE conversion app onto your mobile device. We use an app called Units which will show us the daily currency conversion rate from Dollars to Pesos, converts the metric system for us such as Miles to Kilometers, Fahrenheit to Celsius and Gallons to Liters, etc… Although most of the residents in Cabo speak English, we also installed the FREE Google Translation app to convert English to Spanish which assures us that we receive what we asked for. NO MORE onions on my hamburger, burrito, eggs or pizza…
Optional but WILL make things and life easier:
- US or Canada Based Internet Access: Try for FREE or purchase for $4.95 a month UnoTelly which allows you to experience the Internet without virtual borders. When we first moved to Cabo San Lucas our Internet searches was in Spanish. Plus Netflix, Hulu Plus and Pandora would NOT work in Mexico. Simple fix: change your IP address and DNS settings to reflect the United States! NOW all of our searches and mobile apps work because our IP address settings are in Los Angeles and NOT Mexico. Believe me, if you are going to be living in Cabo San Lucas or some other destination, get this service – worth every penny!
- Extreme WIFI: One of the most frustrating things we experienced once we moved to Cabo San Lucas was a weak WIFI signal. Plus operating, 2 cellular phones, one tablet, 2 laptops and one PC computer station would continuously reduce the Internet speed. Unlike the homes in the United States, houses in Cabo San Lucas are all cement, granite and rock! Therefore WIFI does not work well if you have a two story home or want to be poolside and have Internet access. Our solution was to purchase a WIFI enhancer that would allow a WIFI signal to penetrate concrete walls and travel upstairs or to our Jacuzzi. This baby is not cheap, but OMG I can practically check my messages via WIFI from several hundred yards away from my house. Apple AirPort Extreme is worth the investment.
- Streaming Music and Video: Purchase Apple TV or Google Chromecast which is the easiest and best way to enjoy online music and video on your TV.
Once you return to home, ENABLE or turn ON your Cellular Data so that your mobile device can surf the Internet again!
Some fun and interesting facts about Living in Cabo San Lucas:
- Road signs are only suggestions! A stop sign does not mean stop – if you do, you might get rear ended. Speed limits only exist as suggestions and making a left turn from the “right side” of a multi-lane road is common. Unlike the United States where there is formal driver education courses, in Cabo all you need to do is give blood and take a simple written test. Personally I believe this is why Cabo drivers don’t know about who has the right away or even pays attention to the road signs. Also a left turn signal means OK to pass, it does not mean the driver is making a left hand turn!
- Drinking Age: You are legally able to consume alcohol at 18, but I rarely ever see a restaurant or club check identification if with a parent. YES you can have an open container while walking along the beach, being downtown or a passenger in a vehicle.
- Restaurant Etiquette: Learning to take your time to eat and not feel rushed after dessert is such a relief but might take time getting used to. Unlike the States, servers will NOT bring the dinner bill unless you ask for it. In fact some think it is rude or the food didn’t taste good if you eat and pay right away. Dinner typically starts around 8:00pm and you are lucky if you leave before 10:00pm
- NO Electricity – GO to the beach! When the power goes off, the Internet won’t work, WIFI won’t work and since the Internet powers everything like Netflix, SKYPE and our phones – nothing will work! Plus NO AC (and trust me, it is hot and humid during the months of July – October) so you take your dogs and go to the beach which is a GREAT THING!
Hope you enjoyed this article about getting FREE text messages while travelling or living in Cabo San Lucas as much as I enjoyed preparing it for you. Please LIKE, COMMENT or SHARE if any of these resources was helpful or if you got a laugh or appreciate some of the unique differences as we do.
Know of other FREE apps or services to aid with travel? Please leave a comment below and share your wisdom, thanks! If you plan on relocating to Cabo San Lucas, be sure to look us up…
Until WE meet along the beaches of Cabo,