"" Writer's Wanderings: Oh Those Pesky Cell Phone Charges Overseas

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Oh Those Pesky Cell Phone Charges Overseas

International travel can be a nightmare when you receive your cell phone bill if you don't take some precautions before your trip. Here are some ideas I gleaned from the web:

  1. Keep your phone in Airplane Mode. It turns off cellular and data usage but still allows you to use your phone when WiFi is available.
  2. Check with your service provider for a temporary International Data plan. Be aware however that if you don't cancel immediately when you get home the charges may keep coming and be increased. (Oh, the things we learn by experience.)
  3. Rely on Facetime, Skype, etc. for your communication with home. These only require a WiFi connection and you can usually get that for free at your hotel or a minimal charge at an internet cafe.
  4. SIM cards are possibility. Our phones wouldn't work with them but it's something you may want to check into with yours. There are some that are International and allow calling from different countries rather than buying one for each country you are traveling through. Just be sure it will work with your phone before you buy.
  5. If you don't mind changing your phone number for a short time, you can buy a phone with minutes loaded in the country you are visiting.
  6. If you are going to rely on your phone for directions, download maps that don't need a connection to use. Some are available at TripAdvisor, MetrO, and Pocket Earth.
Finally, don't let that smart phone out of your hand or travel bag or deep pocket. It can be gone in the blink of an eye. Get the latest security for your phone to lock out anyone who may acquire it by unethical means. At least then you know that all of your data (which hopefully you've backed up to a cloud or other service) isn't compromised.

I'm beginning to think I'm only as smart as my phone. How about you?

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