International Travel and Your Smartphone

If you travel a lot internationally you more than likely wouldn’t dream of leaving your smartphone behind. It is a convenient tool as you can quickly get directions in a foreign city, or alter your plane reservations. The only issue is, using your smartphone internationally can get very costly.

The pain of international texting

The New York Times’ Frugal Traveler blog wrote a recent article concerning just how much an international traveler might get charged. Some of the charges include: 50 cents for every text message sent or received, international call rates can be $2, $3, to even $5 a minute, and as far as obtaining data, it can cost you up to $15 for every megabyte of data you receive. There are certain things you can do to prevent these charges from occurring.

Stay disconnected

This seems obvious, the most effective way to not accumulate charges on your phone is to not use it when over seas, but for many of us that is unthinkable. And it may be more difficult than it sounds. Many hotels do not have in-room phones anymore. However, you may be able to use the hotels free Wi-Fi network. But that is only a solution for checking your email, social media sites, and usually having access to the Internet. Something you could do to solve this is set up an account on your phone with Skype or Google Voice so you can make calls. This isn’t free, but less costly than the alternative.

International SIM Cards

If your cell phone company allows you to use other providers, you can always buy a SIM card. The Frugal Traveler tried two out, Telestial’s Passport card which costs $19 and OneSimCard’s Standard card costing $30. They reported that both of these work effectively and give you a main phone number that is not from your home country.


Posted on: 11.17.12