Canadians travelling to the U.S. have a limited set of less than favourable options when it comes to using their smartphone. They can A) try to live off of Wi-Fi for the duration of their trip B) sign up for a travelling plan from their local carrier with marked up data prices C) try to snag a local U.S. SIM card D) suck it up and pay exorbitant roaming fees. Explora is now presenting a new option to jet setting Canadians: a rented smartphone with the requisite bells and whistles.
For $8 per day, international travellers can rent a Google Nexus 5 with unlimited data and nationwide calling. The phone is sent to a pre-specified hotel or residential address for easy pickup upon arrival, and can be returned via a pre-paid envelope once the trip is done. The Nexus 5 also comes pre-loaded with 40 apps, many of which you’d expect (Facebook, Google Maps, Skype, Expedia, etc.), and some feature special offers just for Explora customers (Taxi Magic, for example, knocks $10 off travellers’ first cab fare).
While the $8 flat fee will add up over extended trips, it’s perfect for a weekend jaunt to New York, and the convenience factor is significant. If Explora can improve the device selection and pre-loaded app offers, it might have a real winner. We’ll certainly give it a try during our next U.S. trip.