How To Use Your Phone When Traveling Abroad Without Being Charged

Traveling internationally is one of the most rewarding experiences, as it literally and figuratively opens your eyes up to new perspectives, cultures, and ways of living. Book the next available flight and get out into the world. An international trip can break your budget when it comes to your mobile phone. Fees are charged by your cell phone carrier when you use your phone overseas – you must pay to make calls, send texts, or use mobile data. If you don’t want to receive a larger-than-expected bill when you get back home, please continue reading to find out how to save money. Here are a few simple tips to use before and during your trip. 

Get An eSIM Card

If you want to avoid exorbitant fees or an incredibly slow service in another country, you should undoubtedly use an eSIM for international roaming. It lets your current phone work in another country as if you bought the device there, meaning you have a local phone number, affordable and fast data, etc. If you’re genuinely curious to know what is eSIM and how it can help you, here’s the lowdown. An eSIM is a smaller, built-in version of the traditional SIM card that you use to connect your phone to your network provider. Less tech-inclined people don’t know how to use eSIM services, so a lot of work has gone into making this simpler. The eSIM is meant to make your life simpler, allowing you to stay connected without having to change your number. 

Physical SIM cards are no longer used in modern, premium phones. An eSIM card does everything a traditional SIM card does, but you can’t remove it. When traveling internationally, you can switch to another cell phone carrier to enjoy local coverage and, above all, avoid paying roaming fees from your primary network carrier. If you use a dual-SIM phone, chances are you’re able to transfer the information directly to your eSIM. As far as eSIM activation is concerned, it’s relatively quick and easy. After you scan the QR code within your device’s eSIm settings, you’re good to go. It might be necessary to download the carrier’s app. 

Do Nothing – Well, Almost Nothing 

Every cell phone carrier has an international roaming option. It’s just that these options range from outstanding to outrageous. You can activate international roaming in just a few clicks (the process is slightly different for iPhones and Android phones). You can use messaging apps, translation tools, and maps. It’s not recommended to use image-heavy social media channels like Snapchat or Instagram, even if you get the same high-speed 4G back at home. If you do nothing and cross the border, you could end up with hundreds or thousands on your bill, so it’s recommended to talk to your provider. Even if the cell phone carrier doesn’t provide an international plan, upgrade to a temporary plan.  

Some travelers prefer to switch off their phones entirely so they won’t be used for calling, texting, or data. It’s a good way to keep costs under control, so put your tech away on your next trip. Set an out-of-office message at work and tell your peers you’re going on an email-free vacation. Just pretend you’re back in the Nokia brick-phone days. Turning off cellular data will help avoid the dreaded phone bill, but if you receive a call, costs will be charged per minute. Contrary to popular opinion, Airplane Mode doesn’t turn off data roaming and cellular data, so it’s not the best way to avoid charges when traveling internationally. 

Use Wi-Fi for Calling and Data Usage 

Maybe you have a dead spot. In that case, use Wi-Fi calling to ensure your signal stays strong. You can use Wi-Fi to call and send text messages back home, saving long-distance charges. Fancy as this new feature might seem, its underlying technology has been around for years (VoIP). The VoIP service converts your voice into a digital signal that travels over the Internet. Wireless spots in airports, parks, and cafés, to name a few, allow you to use the VoIP service wirelessly. Almost all major carriers support Wi-Fi calling, so it’s available on iPhones and Android phones released in the past couple of years. Open Settings and search for Wi-Fi Calling because it’s not automatically enabled. 

Shut Down Non-Vital Apps

Some apps are absolutely necessary to get through the day – weather, navigation, translation, and so on. Others, not so much. Actually, “offline” apps quietly update software, and ads linger in the background. Pay close attention to the notifications you get and turn off the apps immediately. As you’re leaving for vacation, you’ll find it easier to turn off your device and have a relaxing time away. The fewer apps you leave turned on, the better. Turn off auto-updating and check the settings of each app on your mobile device (you won’t need them all on your trip, believe us). Also, look for offline versions of the apps you normally use. 

Use An Old Phone Instead 

Using an old phone is a valuable precaution, so if you’re the type of person who holds onto things, it could be your key to traveling overseas. Have your most expensive phone at home and have a cheaper one to carry around. Maybe you drop it, or it gets stolen. In that case, replacing the phone won’t cost an arm and a leg. All phones come with a dedicated SIM tray placed on the side, top, or bottom, so if you plan to buy a local SIM card, it’s great to have an additional phone to plug it in. Of course, You’ll want to ensure the phone you want to use is unlocked; otherwise, it can only be used on the carrier’s network. 

Wrapping It Up 

If you think you’ll make a lot of calls and will use the phone extensively, then you may want to consider purchasing an eSIM. It’s for peace of mind. The lack of competition leaves no incentive for network providers to charge low fees, so roaming charges are quite high. 

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