AT&T International Day Pass in Costa Rica

Starting May 14, 2024, AT&T’s International Day Pass will cost $12/day for data usage abroad. The monthly cap is $120, so daily costs decrease after ten days. The connection is generally strong across most areas in Costa Rica, so you won’t have to worry about opting for eSIM. However, this service may not be worth it in some cases. Read on to find out more.

If you’re going to be in Costa Rica for an unknown length of time, you may want to consider the AT&T service.

During my first visit to Costa Rica, I knew that getting a local SIM card would be cheaper, but I needed to keep my phone number so I could stay in touch with people back home.

Plus, I didn’t want to keep switching SIM cards every time I went to a new country or region. If this is you, an AT&T international day pass might be what you need.

In this article, I will walk you through all you need to know about the AT&T day pass, especially in Costa Rica, from usage to the pricing breakdown, pros and cons, and alternatives.

Key Takeaways

  • The AT&T International Day Pass lets you use your domestic plan while traveling abroad.
  • It costs $12/day, capped at $120/month for up to 10 days of use per billing cycle.
  • The cost decreases after ten days; for a month-long trip, it can be as low as $3.33 per day.
  • The service helps make international calls and messages without extra charges.
  • It is suitable for average data usage and is better than buying multiple eSIMs.
  • Offers flexibility to switch carriers in different countries.
  • Some users experience delays or missed notifications.
  • Is AT&T’s service worth it? It depends on convenience and trip length; after ten days, the average cost decreases significantly.

How the AT&T International Day Pass Works in Costa Rica

The International Day Pass lets you use your phone abroad just like you do at home for $12 each day. You get unlimited data, talk, and text as long as you have an eligible unlimited plan. This pass works in over 210 places, including some with 5G.

However, for 5G, you need a plan that supports it and a 5G device.

You can use the International Day Pass in Asia, Australia, Europe, Central and South America, the Middle East, some South Pacific and Caribbean islands, and on certain international flights with AeroMobile.

PRO TIP:

  • Remember, data coverage and speed can differ by country, which might change. You can check out more details HERE.

When you first use data, text, or make or receive a call, the International Day Pass starts, and you’re charged. Some apps might use data in the background, so turn it off if you don’t want to be charged.

After 24 hours, you won’t be charged again until you use your phone in a covered place (unless you turn off background data). You don’t need to cancel the International Day Pass. It stays on until your next overseas trip to one of the 210+ supported places, and you won’t be charged until then.

How Does the AT&T Day Pass Pricing Work?

It used to be $10 a day for one line. But starting May 14, 2024, you will pay $12 daily. Still, they don’t bill you for the remainder once you hit ten days. This is why it is $120 for the whole month; they don’t separate it across future billing cycles.

If you don’t use call/text/data for the entire month, you won’t be billed $120. You’ll pay $12/day for one line and $6/day for each additional line used on the same day. Don’t use it; don’t pay. When you add an international number to your contacts, you use + 1 for the US, + country code, then number.

PRO TIP:

  • Knowing that you will pay daily, you may wonder if you can leave your phone on as usual all day. You only pay for the first ten days, so you can use your phone as usual and then turn on roaming to prevent triggering the daily charge when not intended.

How Do You Activate an AT&T International Day Pass for Costa Rica Travel?

If you’re an AT&T customer and planning a trip to Costa Rica, you can easily add the International Day Pass online. Here’s how:

1. Log into your AT&T account.

2. Choose the line you want to add the day pass to.

3. Incoming texts won’t cost you anything extra.

4. But any calls, sent texts, or data usage will trigger the $10 charge, which will soon be $12.

5. Once you’re charged, all your usage is covered for the next 24 hours.

You can add the day pass after you arrive, but it’s better to do it before you travel. You’ll only be charged if you use your phone.

Quick tip:

  • Be cautious of apps that use data in the background. Turn off data if you want to avoid unexpected charges.

After 24 hours, you won’t be charged again until you use your phone at a covered destination (unless you turn off background data).

Another neat thing about the International Day Pass is that you can manually choose which network to use in any country.

So, if one carrier doesn’t have good service, you can switch to another carrier in that country for free. This feature is available on iPhones; I don’t know about Android phones, but it might work similarly.

To manually select a different carrier on your iPhone:

  • Make sure you’re in a different country than the US.
  • Go to Settings on your iPhone.
  • Tap on Cellular.
  • Look for the option that says “Automatic Carrier Selection” or “Carrier Selection” and switch it to manual.
  • Wait for about a minute for your iPhone to load a list of carriers available in that country.
  • Once the list loads, simply select the carrier you want to use.

My Experience Using an AT&T International Day Pass in Costa Rica

The International Day Pass was convenient during my two-week trip to the Dominical. Still, I agree with many other travelers who suggest unlocking your phone and getting a local carrier.

While my phone did function, I often missed critical notifications like alerts from my ring camera, voicemails, and sometimes even calls or texts. They either arrived late or not at all.

When I used it in Costa Rica, everything went smoothly. Of course, it only worked in places with network coverage (so I made sure to store offline maps on my phone!).

I rely on an app called Guru Maps on my iPhone, which lets me download small vector maps for different countries or states (and mark my trail while hiking).

You can also pre-download Google Maps for the area you’re visiting. If you can find a good PDF map of the region, you can add that to your phone as well.

How strong is the AT&T Day Pass connection in Costa Rica?

You may be curious about the service and reception quality.

Although AT&T’s coverage map shows good coverage, it is normal not to be entirely confident in its accuracy.

In hilly or very rural areas of Costa Rica, reception isn’t always great.

The International Day Pass worked fine overall during my two-week trip. I faced an issue when I first arrived, but restarting my phone seemed to fix it.

Depending on the area, you may be better off with pocket Wi-Fi instead.

Is the AT&T International Day Pass worth it?

It really boils down to two things:

  • How much do you value convenience?
  • How long is your trip?

The International Day Pass costs $12 per day, allowing you to use your phone abroad just like you do in the USA. After ten days, they stop charging you, so the maximum you’d pay is $120. If your trip exceeds ten days, the average daily cost decreases significantly.

Comparatively, with a pocket Wi-Fi, you have to buy the device, carry it around everywhere, deal with charging it, and still pay for the data plan. If you’re traveling for a month, your International Day Pass costs around $3 per day, with no extra hassle.

Some people might argue that $12 a day is too much, considering that $12 worth of data in other parts of the world could last months. They see it as a total scam.

However, the convenience and elimination of another potential point of failure make the International Day Pass worth it.

Plus, I get to keep my original number without switching SIM cards for each country or region I visit.

And when you break it down, with a maximum of 10 days per cycle, it’s more like $4 a day, not $12.

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Born in California, Michelle traveled extensively through the USA and Europe before moving to South Florida during the pandemic. Her career in Marketing has taken her all across the world. Her favorite country is France but she'll never turn down a beach vacation!

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