I have two friends who are leaving for Vietnam and Laos next month--both have Verizon as their carriers and apparently Verizon doesn't have service in either place. Any advice about what they should do in terms of phone service? Obviously, they'd like to try to save some money if possible.
Thanks in advance for your advice!
If you travel for a short time in Vietnam, i suggest you to buy a sim card which will cost you around 7$ plus the fee to register 3G services which will roughly around 2$ per month. The most stable carrier in Vietnam is Viettel and Vinaphone.
When we got off the plane at Ho Chi Minh City there was a phone carrier called Viettel (among others, we just chose Viettel) that you can purchase a sim card with unlimited data for like $10-15 for a week. It was so slick! You just have to be careful not to lose your Verizon sim card, but they tape it to a business card so it fits easily enough in your wallet. We had great coverage throughout Vietnam.
Download the Kakao app. It is used widely throughout Asian countries and works in U.S. too. Free calls. Just need internet connection which was not a problem for me in Vietnam. You can make phone calls through Facebook messenger as well. Use the Waze app for travel, better than a Google maps.
check with your carrier about international rates in that country. They have cell phones and towers there. Get international calling card. My son worked there, he said it was no problem. The shopping is the best in Vietnam. Great massages. Great Food. Or buy phone there.
Getting a sim card is easy in South East Asian countries. It's available at the airports and big cities. All you need to do is show your passport.
For Laos, read Travelfish's Laos sim card guide: https://www.travelfish.org/board/post/laos/30172_sim-card-in-laos
A handy guide is available through ContentedTraveler in Vietnam: https://www.travelfish.org/board/post/laos/30172_sim-card-in-laos
Hope this info helps.