If you travel a lot internationally you most likely wouldn’t dream of leaving your smartphone behind. It is a helpful tool as you can quickly get directions in a foreign city, or alter your plane reservations. The only problem is, using your smartphone internationally can get very expensive.
The pain of international texting
The New York Times’ has a blog called Frugal Traveler and they recently published an article about smartphone costs when traveling internationally. Charges may include rates of $2 to $5 a minute for calls, and receiving data can be up to $15 a megabyte. There is a couple of steps you can take to help stop these charges.
Of course, the simplest way is to stay disconnected from your cell phone during your trip overseas. The problem is, that’s easier said than done. As the blog indicates, many international hotels no longer have in-room phones. And pay phones are increasingly becoming scarce across the globe. A more helpful solution might be to rely on your hotel’s free Internet connections or on Wi-Fi networks to check emails and send messages. Of course, even if your web browsing and email activity are free, phone calls can still be a problem. A solution? Set up an account with an app such as Skype or Google Voice so that you can make your calls. This may not be free, but as the Frugal Traveler blog says, it’s far more affordable than making standard roaming calls on your cell phone. Generally, count on paying one-tenth the price of a standard cellphone plan when you’re counting on services such as Skype and Google Voice.
International SIM Cards
If your phone allows you to use other providers, your best bet while traveling abroad might be to purchase an international SIM card. The Frugal Traveler tried Telestial’s Passport card for $19 and OneSimCard’s Standard card for $30. Both proved helpful while the blog’s author traveled. Both provide you with a main phone number that’s not from the United States.