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  • Saving Money on Phone Bills While You Travel

    Every traveler knows that it’s great to hear the voices of friends and family back home once in a while. In the modern technological times we live in, it’s also nice to be able to login to facebook, check email, and look up destinations, hotels, or hostels while you are on the go. The smart phone has given us the capability to do that, but many travelers aren’t aware that if they use their regular calling plan to do so, they run the risk of racking up bills that can add up to thousands of dollars.

    Be smart when you travel with your cell phone. Something as simple as a trip from Seattle to Vancouver can end up costing you nearly a thousand dollars if you send a few emails, make a few calls, and surf the web for an hour or two! To avoid this kind of costly mistake, read the following advice and take simple precautions.

    First of all, be aware of your contract. Most of us don’t read the fine print when we sign up for a phone contract. That’s fine, but before you get on the jet plane, make sure you call your carrier to find out the international specifics of your contract. With companies like AT&T or Verizon, you can sign up for global data plans that operate either on time or bandwidth. For anywhere from $25 to $100 you can make sure that you are covered before you go.

    Another option is to purchase a new SIM when you arrive in a foreign country. Most countries operate large pay as you go networks that are cheap and efficient. The USA is one of the only countries to charge you for both incoming and outgoing calls. Visitors to the USA should be aware of this before they travel. Getting a new SIM is usually a simple process, but in the case of iPhones and some other phones, you will have to ‘jailbreak’ or unlock your phone. This process is fairly simple and cheap, but it may void your service contract, so make sure you understand the consequences before you take this step.

    The phone and data networks in the USA operate primarily on ADSM while most of the world uses GSM. This is important to know before you travel because it means that your iPhone or PDA may not work when you travel outside of the States or vice versa depending on your country of origin.


    Also, North American phones operate on a different band so your phone itself may not work when you go between countries even if you buy a new SIM when you arrive at your destination. One reasonable solution is to not only buy a new SIM but to also buy a new phone when you arrive. A cheap quad-band phone can be purchased just about everywhere for less than $100 U.S.
    travel with your phoneIf your phone is working a few simple steps can save you big. Install Skype, Pingo, or Google Voice on your device. If you are operating on wi-fi this can mean free calls! If you are operating on a network, you can pay as little as $.02 per minute for international calls.

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    Comments on Saving Money on Phone Bills While You Travel

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    Kimberly TgAvatar
    Kimberly wrote on October 31, 2010:

    I can def recommend taking a prepaid phone and plan along with you because of how dependable and low cost they are – I have done it many times. My company of choice, Tracfone, has been around for years and is on a pretty dependable network so my coverage is no worse than any contract carrier. Good selection of phones that are very low cost and no contract. A plan for $20 with no fees and two hours of talk time is a great back up idea.

     
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