Today, most of us don’t go anywhere without our smart phones. In the international trips also, your smart phones will be always with you. But depending on your phone, data usage outside your country can be costly sometimes. To avoid any exorbitant bills or any data charges and still connect your family and friends during your travel, we have some useful tips below to help you learn how to normally and safely use your smart phone while abroad.
- Power up
Before we talk about any tips you have for smart phone service while abroad, there is a simple thing you need to make sure you can charge your phone. Provide information about what kind of plug the country you will travel to uses. Each country uses different plugs so you have to check and learn what adapters you will need to use. You can find a handy guide in International Electrotechnical Commision. Make sure you don’t need a voltage converter as well because some chargers don’t switch voltage automatically. Check your smart phone’s voltage. It has to be written on your phone. If you can’t find , you can check with your manufacturer. Also, you can buy a universal power adapter, which is suitable for different plugs from several countries. You can also take a portable charger so that you can keep your phone powered up while you taking your travel pictures during your journey.
- Unlocking your smart phone
All cell phones don’t work in every country. So you have to make sure your cell phone is suitable for using abroad and will work in your destinations. Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) network is the most common cellular technology and generally works throughout most of the world. Cell phone companies use different technologies and your phone may not work with all of them.
Firstly, check your phone’s user manual. If it is written as “world phone”, or supports GSM, it has to work in much of the world. If you are not sure, you can contact your manufacturer.
Once you have got a GSM cell phone already, contact with your wireless company and ask to have it unlocked. After your phone is unlocked, you can Access other mobile carrier networks around the world. Cell phone companies will not unlock all types of phones. Your cell phone have to be in good standing or be completely paid for. Then, you have to buy a local SIM (subscriber identification module) which will work in the places you are visiting. It stores your information such as your local cell phone number, your identity or adress book information. Finally, chose a plan which is suitable for you and cover the amount of data and minutes you will be need to use abroad. So, you can avoid extreme phone bills or penalty fares.
- Look at international roaming packages
Using cell phone abroad might be a bit costly sometimes. Most of cell phones don’t include any calls, text or data during your travel internationally. And common usage rates may be extremely expensive.
In this situation, contact your cell phone manufacturer to see if there is any packages designed for international use in your cell phone company. These packages may be still expensive than using your phone at home, but they are cheaper than “pay as you go” rates anyway. You can still find affordable roaming packages.
- Use a cheap phone ( or get an old phone)
A cheap smartphone may be good for you, if your travel is tos tay somewhere for a long time. Make sure the phone is not too old, battery can hold a charge and you can update the phone’s software via Wi-Fi. And of course, it has to be suitable for Global use. Then, you have to buy a a local SIM card.
- Buying or renting a cell phone
You can also buy or rent a cell phone if you don’t want to unlock your cell phone and install a local SIM. You can buy or rent unlocked GSM phones or sim cards from Cellular Abroad. These work in most of the countries around the world. Also, National Geographic Talk Abroad Travel Phone rents cell phones which works in more than 200 different countries around the world.
- Using Wi-Fi instead of a cell data
Before you board your plane, you can turn off your cell data and check for the Wi-Fi everywhere you go. Many cafes, airports, restaurants or museums offer Wi-Fi for free or at a relatively cheap cost. Hotels that you are staying will also offer it probably.
- Renting a hotspot
Hotspot is a small device which creates a zone for Wi-Fi for you and you can connect all of your devices to it. You can turn it off when you don’t use it. It has advantage because you don’t have to buy travel data when you are using this device and a lot of people can connect to this single hotspot at the same time.
Also, most of the phones may create their own Wi-Fi hotspots. So you can share your internet without having to pay extra for a hotspot device if you get a local SIM card.
Some tips to manage your data using:
- Disable e-mail auto check: E-mail auto checks and it will cost money. You can disable email auto-check on your phone settings from Push to Fetch. When you connected to a Wi-Fi, you can download your e-mails manually. Also, avoid sending or receiving e-mail files such as pics or videos when you are using your cellular network during your journey internationally.
- Don’t stream videos ( youtube or video chat)
- Track your data usage
- Disable your unused apps: Disable apps which run in the background and you don’t need to use such as calender, navigation, news or weather apps.
- Avoid data usage with iMessage: Use iMessage with only Wi-Fi. You can disable iMessage by going to messages in your settings menu.