How To Use Your Cellphone Abroad



Using your cell phone in another country can seem intimidating.  Don’t want to get home to a shocking cell phone bill for calling, texting, or even using your GPS?  We wanted to provide you with a few steps you can take to make sure you stay connected to friends and family while traveling—without paying more than you have to.

Purchase an international phone plan. 

Before you leave, ask your cell phone provider if your current plan includes international services. If not, ask about the rates for an international plan for the amount of time that you will be away. If it is extremely important to you to have cell phone access the entire time you are travelling, the cost may be worth it. You will be able to choose between daily rates and packages that include call minutes, texts, and data usage.

Be on the lookout for free Wi-Fi. 

If you are comfortable with having limited cell service during the length of your trip, bring your phone but turn off data usage, as well as the “fetch new data” option. Most hotels offer some form of free Wi-Fi whether it be in your room, a meeting room, or the lobby. Be sure to ask if they have a Wi-Fi user name and password when you check in. If they don’t, ask if there are any coffee shops or restaurants nearby that offer it so that you can stop by and use their wi-fi when needed.

Use free messaging applications.

Once you have found a complimentary Wi-Fi spot, you can use free messaging services like Skype, WhatsApp, WeChat or Google Hangouts. Be sure to download these apps onto your phone before you leave so that you have them readily available, and don’t have wait for them to download if you find yourself in a time crunch.

Buy a pre-paid phone card. 

 If you would rather not use your cell phone at all, you can purchase a pre-paid phone card. This will allow you to be able to make calls from any pay phone or landlines while you are away.

Use the correct country codes. 

Make sure to enter the telephone numbers using the international dialing format: for example, calls to the U.S. should be entered with the prefix “+011” followed by the area code and telephone number. Add the prefix to the numbers of those you plan on calling the most frequently in your address book. Also, don’t forget to save any phone numbers you made need on hand including your hotel, cab company, and emergency assistance.

Track your data.

Download the Tangoe rTEM app and let it track your cellphone, texting, and data usage in real time, rather than relying on your carrier’s billing system, to avoid any surprising fees.

Also be sure to check the voltage requirements for the country you will be visiting and bring a power converter for your phone charger before you go. Do you have any tips for using your cell phone in another country? Let us know below!

Don’t forget to review your travel protection options when you book a trip! for more information.

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1 Comment

  1. You may also want to change a facebook setting so that no videos play except when on wifi. My cell plan kept running out but i had free wifi. I didnt know that when wifi was slow or down that facebook went on cell data and rapidly depleted my cell time. Thankfully i used a foreign SIM card and was notified it was out of money (unfortunately in French). Purchasing a foreign SIM card if your phone is unlocked is also useful. If you get another SIM card many people dont know they also have a new phone number associated with that SIM card so they need to notify family of the new nimber

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