This may not be applicable to everyone, but it is to me and perhaps others, who have the *good* fortune of being Verizon users in the U.S. (grrr..!) The company is becoming much more international-friendly, but it’s not there quite yet. I stick with them because they have the best service domestically and because I’ve been with them for many years. I’m loyal, what can I say.
Every time I’m abroad, mostly speaking about short-term trips (if long-term, I usually get a local number/contract), I always make sure to have a functional phone, just in case of emergencies. Texts and calls may cost a bit, but it’s a lot cheaper than using my main phone with the ridiculously high roaming charges. It also allows me to keep track of how much I’m spending on phone usage. Using my main phone wasn’t even an option with Verizon’s CDMA technology until recently. I don’t know about you, but I’m not at all interested in receiving a mystery bill at the end of a trip and having the figure be 3x (or more!) my usual amount.