How to Stay Connected Without Spending a Fortune

What is the best way to stay in touch with friends and family members back home while you travel? Often times, people bring their devices and swear to only use them when they have Wi-Fi access or in case of emergencies, but the temptation can be too great… and the result can be a phone bill that’s more expensive than your airline ticket. This article outlines a list of what experts say you should and shouldn’t do.

 

Do:

  • Explore Familiar Territory: Ask your current carrier what international options they offer.
  • Consider a Sim Card: If you phone is “unlocked,” this may be an easy and affordable way to use your phone overseas, if you don’t mind having a new, temporary phone number. They are comparatively inexpensive and easy to find in local shops.
  • Turn Off Data: Though it can be useful when needed, there is no reason to leave it on when it isn’t being used.
  • Optimize Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi usage does not count toward your data allowance, so Wi-Fi zones are perfect for a “data dump” or checking emails. Many apps, such as WhatsApp and Viber, enable you to make audio and video calls when you’re connected.
  • Stream in Moderation: Download content at home before your trip to avoid unnecessary data usage.
  • Stay Secure: make sure your devices are passcode protected and know how to report them stolen (just in case).
  • Double Down on Accessories: Make sure you have the right charging cables for all of your devices, along with the necessary international adapters. You may also want to invest in an external battery charger.

 

Don’t:

  • Be Afraid of Using Data: Cellular data is a useful tool that can help you find your way if you get lost or avoid choosing the worst hotel in town. Just make sure you understand your plan before you leave.
  • Assume All Phones Work Everywhere: Make sure your device will work once you reach your destination. It may not be compatible with that country’s technologies and frequencies.
  • Assume Toll-Free Calling is Free: international roaming charges may still apply, so every minute on hold could increase your fees.
  • Undervalue Disconnection: Take the opportunity to unplug and really experience your destination. You can stare at your screens when you get home.

 

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