Guest Post: The Art of Being Cheap

Guide to Switching Plans for Summer Vacation

If you are a Republic Wireless customer you are already saving a bunch of money on your cell phone plan, but if you are like me, you want to save every last dollar you can. That is why whenever I go on a trip I reevaluate my plan to see if a less expensive plan makes sense for the duration of my vacation.

Being on a lower cost plan for a week or two isn’t going to save you a life changing amount of money, but it might be just enough to buy you buy you a lunch or two. While the small amount of savings might not be worth it if a lot of hassle were involved, Republic makes it easy as can be, so here is my guide to temporarily upgrading or downgrading your plan.

How to change your plan

Your plan can be changed right through the Republic app on your phone. Simply open up your app, select the “Change my phone plan” options, and follow the on screen steps to pick another plan. At the end of your vacation, when it is time to return to your normal life and phone plan, do it through the app one more time. Easy.

If you are on a $25 plan for half of the month, and the $5 plan for half the month, you will be charged $12.50 ($25 x ½ month) for the time you spend on the $25 plan and $2.50 ($5 x ½ month) for the time you spend on the $5/ month plan, for a total of $15.00. That’s a saving of $10 per phone for the month. Ten dollars isn’t a lot, but it’s worth your time I would think.

When to downgrade your plan

You might be taking a trip somewhere where your Republic phone won’t be able to pick up a cell signal. If you can’t pick up a cell signal, why pay for it?

Last summer my family took a week long trip to a national park where cell phones don’t work. Before we went into the park, my family all changed our plans from the $25/ month 3G plan to the $5/ month WiFi only plan. That way, we were still able to be connected in the evenings when we got back to our hotel room, but weren’t paying for 3G data that simply didn’t exist where we were.

Besides rural areas, there are other places where a cell signal doesn’t reach. If you are going on a cruise you should know that there won’t be any signal on the boat.

If you are going on a trip overseas, you won’t be able to get a cell signal from most other countries, but when you find a WiFi signal, your phone will work just as well as it does at home. This is a great time to temporarily move down to the $5/month WiFi only plan.

While fast, 4G data, works well in most cities of any size, there are a lot of rural area where 4G simply doesn’t exist. Check your coverage map to make sure you can get 4G data before you go. If 4G won’t be available, why pay for it? Go to the $25/ month 3G plan till you get back home.

When to upgrade your plan

On the other hand, there are times when you might want to pay a little more and upgrade your plan when you go on a trip, especially if you are one of those very intelligent people on either the $5/ month WiFi only plan or the $10/ month no cell data plan. When you are at home, you are probably around WiFi most of the time, so cellular data might not be necessary. But, maybe vacation is the one time of the year when you could use a little 3G. It is likely you won’t be around WiFi as much as normal, so paying a little extra for cellular data might be the best way to keep in touch.

There are also many travel related apps that would be especially useful on long car rides. Here is a list of some of my favorites:

  • Google Maps – To help you find your destination.
  • GasBuddy – To help you find the best price for gasoline on road trips.
  • Hotel Tonight – To help find a good deal on a last minutes hotel room.
  • Carr Matey – To help you remember where you parked.
  • Trip Advisor – To help you find the most fun tourist sites.

That is a very limited list, and I am sure you have your own favorite apps to help you out on vacation, but you can see how these apps might make it worth a few bucks to upgrade your plan for a week or two. Happy travels everyone!

About the author: Andy Prescott is a CPA and proud Republic Wireless member. His weekly articles on how to save money can be found at:

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