There’s nothing quite as exciting as exploring a new country or part of the world. But as we grow more dependent on our cellphones to get around, being without one can be incredibly frustrating. While it used to be that expensive roaming charges made using a cell phone internationally difficult, seasoned travelers have learned ways to adapt. Here’s what you need to know about using a mobile phone for international travel.
The easiest way to use a cell phone internationally is in its roaming mode. Most major carriers have international roaming agreements that allow you to keep using your phone no mater where you are. Be aware, however, that this can involve expensive surcharges — particularly when streaming media or doing other data-intensive things online. Before travelling, ask if your provider offers an international plan. Most major carriers offer a flat-rate option giving you a set amount of data or wireless service by the day, week or month.
Buying a SIM Card
If you have an unlocked GMS phone, you can always purchase a pay-as-you-go SIM card when you arrive at your destination. This can save you money by letting you pay local rates for talk, text and data. However, you will need an unlocked phone with international travel settings. Most phones purchased at a discount when signing up for service are not unlocked. You will also need enough command over the language of the country you’re travelling in to negotiate a sale. Don’t commit to a contract unless you know what you are signing.
One easy and economical way to use a mobile phone when travelling internationally is by taking advantage of VoIP services such as Skype. If you only plan on using your phone to check in with home, VoIP is the best way to go. All you need is a Wi-Fi connection — which, these days, are ubiquitous around the world. Smaller and more portable than a laptop or tablet, your phone is the perfect way to access VoIP.
Few things are more rewarding than seeing the world. Fortunately, there are more ways than ever before to stay connected. Got any great travel tips for using your phone internationally? Let us know in the comments below.