Staying Connected When You Take Your Phone Overseas

July 16th, 2014

smartphone-153650_640Going on overseas trips for business or pleasure can be fun, but how do you stay connected on your cell phone while you’re away? Is your bill from trying to stay in touch going to make you pass out when you receive it for the two weeks you were abroad? How do you stay connected without collecting a ton of roaming charges while you are away?

There are some simple solutions that will help you avoid that dreaded monster bill. If you travel abroad quite a bit, these tips and tricks can be part of your routine as you figure out the best hot spots in your travel destinations.

Disable Roaming While You Are Traveling

This will protect you immediately and should always be done even in local destinations, because your phone will not connect if this little box is checked on your phone. It should be the first thing you do when traveling anywhere, and most especially overseas. Make sure you check with your phone company about this, though. Some don’t charge for roaming, and some give you an allotment of data before cutting you off. Some charge from the first second you start roaming.

Carrier Options

Your carrier has plans for overseas connections, and taking advantage of a plan might be the easiest solution to this problem. You do have to watch out for international tariffs when researching this option for staying connected so do be aware that you may not save a lot of, or any, money. It could be an good idea if your carrier focuses on overseas connectivity.

Sim Cards

Sim cards are another way to keep your bills to a minimum while you call your friends from other countries. You can usually get a local Sim Card for about $120 dollars, often less. The catch could be the high call charges so watch out for this when purchasing your card. The rates per call back to the US can be a dollar a minute on some plans and companies.

It also means that you will have a different number for your phone while using the new Sim card while you are abroad, so connecting with your loved ones will mean having to give them this number. The trick is getting a prepaid sim card for the best rates. Be careful not to fall into charges trying to read email with your Sim card. Overseas data rates can be very high indeed. Text messages are not that expensive generally, however you want to get your data from hotspots at hotels and cafes.

Mobile Hotspots

This is the best option for checking your emails and text messages and even phone calls when you are looking for the cheapest route. Just be very careful and use this option for only calls and texts and emails. Do not think it is safe to transfer monies or do any type of financial transactions at hotels or hotspots. Thieves are watching and will zap your account for all they can if you decide to take a risky option such as this with a free Wifi.

 Companies That Specialise In Travel Abroad

There are companies that focus just on traveling abroad and if you want to be sure you are not being charged tons of money, this may be the way to go. Certain companies can promise great rates overseas and then you realize your loved ones, and your business connections also have to be on that company for this to actually work. So do your research because there are tried and true phones for overseas travel that make things much easier and cheaper.

Skype And Other VOIP Systems

For most travelers now, unless you are completely wedded to your phone, Skype is a viable option for all communication, be it for business or friends and relations. Just make sure that those people you need to contact have Skype set up, and understand how to use it. Then just settle down in your hotel hotspot, set up your handheld, and you can even show off your great suntan while you talk.

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