Our family is planning the 2013 Kashman US Tour, and we've been discussing our need for cell phones. We've been out of the States for three years, but our phones are (allegedly) on a military hold with Sprint. I refuse to reactivate them for the months we'll be home, as it took me six months to get them cancelled when we left last time. So, we're looking at either putting a US sim card in our UK phones, or adding a phone to a relative's plan, or pay-as-you-go options.
It seems like using a US sim card would be the least expensive option. You can get a sim card for around $10, but then you've got to get the service. The best price I can find is $50 per month.
Adding a phone can work well if you have a relative with a good plan, and who is willing to add you. However, be careful of extending their contract if you add a phone, and make sure you aren't adding the phone for a long term. That's going to end up expensive!
In my experience, America isn't as pay-as-you-go friendly as Europe. The phones are expensive, and so is the service. We're hoping that some of our old phones are still usable, so that we can save the cost of the phone. If we can't, we'll be looking at $30 or more for the phone, then $2-3 per day for service.
This whole thing is frustrating, and even more so because I need a phone when we land. I'd love to hear if any of you have great tricks for inexpensive, short-term cell phone service. I'd rather avoid buying a new phone, as that seems environmentally unfriendly. All suggestions welcome!