Best Practices when prepping for travel


I’m curious how others prepare their RW phones prior to traveling within the US. Our family of five has five Republic phones, none of which worked properly during a recent family vacation to South Dakota. I had nothing outside of Wi-Fi (and we were in a very low Wi-Fi area); three of us had intermittent cell coverage. At the time, I blamed the remote, rural area that we were visiting, but I now wonder if we just didn’t optimize some setting(s) (in addition to clicking on Cell Data and Roaming Data). It made for some great family bonding time, since no one could bury their noses in their phones, but it also heightened some nerves realizing we couldn’t contact each other if we’d been separated.

Four phones are Moto E 2nd Gen, on Republic 2.0 (three with data); one phone is Moto E4 (with data).


South Dakota is Roaming at best (and roaming can be hit and miss)
the best process on legacy phones (like the Moto E 2nd Gen) is to preform a PRL update ( the CDMA phones use this to know which towers it will roam on Update the PRL – Republic Help
CDMA map of South Dakota (CDMA (Sprint) Map)

The Moto E 4 is with the GSM partner so no PRL to update but it’s still Roaming in that state

Roaming partner map of South Dakota GSM (T-Mobile) MAP


Here’s how I prep for travel within the US:

  1. Check the coverage maps (GSM or CDMA) to understand where I might and might not have coverage.
  2. Download maps for the areas I might need navigation capability without cellular coverage.

That’s it.


To interpret a bit the data that DRM provided. The coverage on the CDMA activated phones ( E2s) is bad and roaming only, which means, where there is coverage, it would be talk and text only (except on the refund plans where you could choose to use data at 18.3x the cost of normal data).

The coverage on the GSM activated phone (E4) the coverage is worse, and also roaming only.

Bottom line, not much to be done that would improve coverage in SD.


If roaming thee should be some access to data on the Moto E 2nd gen as they are on the Refund plan, but it would not be cost effective (18.3 time the rate of native ($274.50 per GB (27 cents per MB) where Native is $15 per GB (1.46 cents per MB))

of course this is assuming the Roaming partner towers has data for roaming partners not all do


Perhaps, but only presuming the roaming partner makes data available on the tower. Roaming cell data is even more hit and miss than roaming talk and text. Bottom line, roaming coverage (of any kind) is always best effort.

If one is concerned about the need (as opposed to the want) for coverage, best practice would be to have a phone that’s not confined to roaming. As the E4 is a factory unlocked phone, temporary use of a SIM from a provider with native coverage is an option.


Thank you for the tips :slight_smile:


Thanks, everyone! Good stuff here!


Thanks for making your voice heard on The Republic Community @liesat.rsejzz.

This was a great question and perfect topic for our fantastic RW users to weigh in on.

We also appreciate your engagement on our social channels as well. Thank you for your trust in Republic Wireless!


I recently completed a multi-week driving trip that included Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas. I had my Moto X Pure throughout. My advice to anyone traveling to these states and probably most other western states is… Don’t even THINK of relying upon RW to meet your cell phone needs. Neither data nor talk and text. Horrible, horrible connectivity. Mostly non-existent. I had to buy a Verizon burner and it did great.

I’ve recently retired and will be travelling more and this recent experience has shown that I need to to in another direction than RW in the future.


You would most likely be roaming in those areas, did you update your PRL before you left for the trip? When roaming you should be able to make calls and text but if the PRL is not updated then you will have trouble roaming since the phone does not know what towers to connect to. Also, roaming can be a bit touchy for all carriers. Our support team can help since sometimes the phone can get into a state where it will not roam. We can usually help, but typically you will need to be somewhere that is roaming to know if it is fixed.


Our family recently went on vacation (checked out our daughter’s graduate school, visited Grandma in a neighboring state, and attended a convention in another neighboring state). I didn’t even think to check coverage maps for where we were visiting (they were all larger towns than my hometown in the same geographic region, so I assumed coverage wouldn’t be a problem). However, I did try to be diligent about checking for WiFi in each location, as well as in stores and restaurants we stopped at. Our daughter’s college, our hotel, and the convention center all had free WiFi available, and my mom granted us access to the WiFi at her home also. The free WiFi’s speed varied, but it was certainly good enough for checking email and using Google Maps to quickly look up driving directions to our next destination. (Then I got to decide if I liked the Google Maps directions enough to burn cellular data, or would rather get out ye olde paper roadmap for that bit.) I think I still managed to stay within my 1GB cellular data “bucket” for the month, despite all of the road-trip phone use!


When you travel there are map apps that do not use data. Check out Navigation without data for free - the solution is HERE


Nice work @catherinemcclarey. Savvy use of WiFi in a new location.

There was a tip earlier in this thread about downloading the Map data in advance. That would at least avoid breaking out the paper next time.

Thanks for sharing!


Actually, I like the reminder about paper maps. :slightly_smiling_face:

Of course, as a tech geek I use both Google Maps and (for offline navigation) Here WEGo. Nevertheless as much as I like and we all depend on our technology; it’s always good to have plans B & C available just in case.


@seanr, I will have to try downloading that no-data map app you linked to a link to; it sounds very practical, especially for travels within my home state. @rolandh, the paper maps probably date my spouse and me, as we’ve saved paper maps from every place we’ve traveled to. I suspect some of the paper maps in our glove compartment must be at least a decade old! :wink: And from long before I ever owned a smartphone. We should probably weed through them sometime, as we have multiple maps of some locations, and could free up some space in the glove compartment by tossing the older duplicates in the recycling.


the last 3 times I tried to use a paper map they where flat out out of date (route where no where near what they use to be due to construction, permitted road closer, a road reroute for a new public park (and I was trying to get to an address on the other side of the park from the reroute) at least the on line ones get free updates (as long as one remembers to update the areas)


Please explain PRL, what it is and how to work with it, in terms a baby boomer can understand. As a senior citizen planning on lots of travel in the years ahead this subject is of great interest to me. Until I came across this post I had no idea I needed to do anything special when traveling with this phone.


Hi @garys.nt6a3i,

Think of Preferred Roaming List (PRL) as a list of cellular towers one’s phone is allowed to connect to when traveling in an area not serviced by the cellular partner your Republic phone is provisioned for coverage with. Please note both of Republic’s cellular partners operate nationwide networks, so it’s quite possible you won’t be traveling anywhere they wouldn’t be able to provide native coverage.

It does get more complicated in that depending on which of Republic’s cellular partners is providing your phone’s coverage, PRL may or may not exist. Different Republic phones use different technology. There is no one size answer that covers every Republic phone.

Further detail specific to your phone would require you be willing to share brand, model and, if applicable, generation of your phone. May we know that?


Thanks for the explanation. It helps a lot just to know what PRL stands

My phone is a Moto Z Play. Not sure of the generation, but I just
purchased it from Amazon last December. It is Moto version 5.2.31.

I just retired and bought an RV so I do plan on visiting some more
remote places out west. Where do I find simple written instructions for
this stuff?