So you’re planning to go somewhere and are worried about exorbitant international roaming fees. That’s understandable, considering some carriers just love to charge you an arm and a leg every time you use your phone in a foreign land. But what can you do, if you can’t afford to disconnect? What if you’re not just a frugal globetrotter, but a business traveler who needs to be reachable at all times?
How about we tell you that yes, you can go on that trip abroad and stay online without breaking the bank? In fact, we’ve got three foolproof ways for you to save on smartphone bills while you are traveling!
#1 Stay connected on the cheap with the right apps.
Did you know that when you are on the road, megabytes cost more? According to PCMag.com, apps like Onavo Extend (formerly Onavo) are able to compress the data you use so you can make those megabytes go much farther. You can also download Opera Mini, which works on Android, bada, iOS, Symbian OS, and Windows Mobile, and is said to cut Web page data usage by up to 80 percent.
Another app you can try is JiWire’s Free Wi-Fi Finder, which, as the name implies, helps you locate free Wi-Fi zones in over 144 countries. Do take note, however, that some Free Wi-Fi hotspots aren’t all that hot and can be really slow and unsafe to access. You may file this one under desperate-for-Internet-access options. Now, if you don’t mind paying a small fee, you could get one of those pay-as-you-go Wi-Fi hotspots from a carrier overseas. And if you need to make calls, you can always look into VoIP services, which definitely do not cost as much as traditional cellular calls.
#2 Get an international data plan.
Suppose where you’re at has spotty Wi-Fi connection at a time when you most need to send an e-mail with, let’s say, a very important attachment. What do you do then?
The bad news is that you’ll probably have to turn on your phone’s data roaming and just hope against hope that you won’t be charged dearly for those megabytes. It’s not ideal, sure, but maybe next time you’ll be prepared for such an event by getting a global traveler plan or, as some would like to call it, an international data plan. It will definitely come in handy if you plan on traveling for a month or more, or if you have big data requirements – e-mail, maps, websites, etc. – and if you need complete access to your smartphone’s functions with or without a Wi-Fi connection.
#3 Carry around two phones.
Yes, it’s definitely a pain just thinking about it; but, since the goal here is to save money, you’ll just have to bear with it. With this tip, the idea is to get a local phone for temporary communications and use your smartphone for everything else. Remember to only use the latter over Wi-Fi and to turn off cellular data, 3G (or 4G), and data roaming, or all your hard work juggling two phones will be for nothing.