International travel during the upcoming holiday season can make for an expensive phone bill. Over the next few months, millions of Americans will be travelling abroad to visit family, enjoy a vacation and perhaps do business. If you’re planning to travel internationally, you won’t want to miss these tips on how to manage your wireless data and avoid an expensive phone bill.
- Change your phone settings
Turn off automatic updates and cellular data on apps that you won’t need while you’re traveling. You’ll also want to turn off data roaming to avoid extra charges. To do this, go your device settings and look for either cellular or network options.
- Connect to Wi-Fi
Many hotels, hostels and Air BnB spots offer free Wi-Fi. Take advantage of this to check e-mails, send messages and check-in with friends and family. Local spots like cafés and bookstores usually allow you to log on to their Internet once you’ve made a purchase.
- Add an international package
If you know you’ll need data, it may be cheaper to add an international package. Most wireless carriers offer prepaid international plans, so you’ll know how much it will cost to send a text message and the price per minute for a phone call.
- Purchase hotspots
Boingo offers over 1 million hotspots around the world. For a set monthly rate, you can access Wi-Fi at all of these locations on your mobile device. Current offers are $29.99 for up to 4Mbps and $49.95/mo for up to 30 Mbps.
- Manage your apps
Certain apps use more data than others. Generally, the top offenders include apps with location services, social media, games with high-definition graphics and video chatting. Limit your use of these unless you’re connected to Wi-Fi or a hotspot.
- Get a local SIM card
If you have an unlocked phone, you can often buy a prepaid SIM card wherever you are. It then allows you to purchase a temporary local phone plan. This is a great option if you plan to make local calls and use your apps.
- Monitor your data use
Stay on top of how much data you’re using so you don’t exceed your data cap. You can check this information using your wireless carrier app or look at the cellular data usage under settings.