The internet is the most popular way to stay connected while traveling abroad. However, you can’t always lug your laptop or portable computer with you, finding an internet connection may not always be possible and an internet cafe may not even be a known concept yet in the remote village you plan on spending your vacation. Luckily, you have a cell phone that is almost negligible in weight but very reliable if staying connected with your friends and family at home is a priority while you are away.
Before anything else, it bears stressing that a smart phone can make traveling much easier because it does not only store relevant data, it can also easily connect you to the internet when a wi-fi connection is available. Most smart phones also have at least a still camera in most cases even a video camera on board which can be convenient for your photo taking. Moreover, there are countless travel applications for smartphones which effectively bring significant information such as maps, must-see attractions and savvy travel tips right at your fingertips.
If you want to make sure that internet connection is always at hand regardless of wi-fi availability, then you might want to consider arranging for an international data plan with your service provider. The same goes with international roaming, whether with a smartphone or regular cell phone, which allows you to make long-distance calls while you are abroad without need of complicated international dialing or operator assisted calls.
Take note that these services need to be arranged before you leave your home country and it doesn’t happen automatically. Examine the price tag for these services because they can easily break the bank if you are not careful. It also pays to inquire about voice and text messaging fees or special international packages so that you’ll know which is a more cost-effective alternative for you.
It is also important to note that not all kinds of cell phones will allow international roaming. To make sure that you can still call home with your unit, bring one that is either a triband or a quadband. However, if you are on your way to the ultra-modern cities of Japan and South Korea, you will need cell phones that support 3G or UMTS technology using 2100 MHz spectrum band.
If you think international roaming services are too expensive for your peace of mind, then it is best to explore cheaper alternatives. One of which, is to remove your SIM card from your cellphone and replace it with your destination’s local prepaid SIM. This can work only if the phone is compatible with a service provider in the city or country your are visiting.
If you don’t want this complication, you can simply buy a cheap standard cell phone, sometimes know prepaid phones, with a local SIM card already in place. Either way, you can enjoy cheaper calls – at least in comparison to regular international roaming rates – to your home country. Moreover, using prepaid call cards is also an effective way of managing your communication expenses abroad.
You may also want to explore the practicability of engaging the services of a callback company. It may sound a bit complicated at first but how this arrangement works is really quite simple. Once you have your account set up with the company of your choice, you can simply dial the designated number from your destination, let a few rings pass, hang up, then wait for the callback ring. Once you answer, you’ll hear a U.S. dial tone. You can then dial the number of a friend or family member you intend to call and enjoy the conversation at a much lower cost. Again, you need to know all the details of callback charges to make sure that it is makes better deal for you than the other ideas mentioned.
Careful attention to the cell phone tips above and to the details of your expected charges before you leave can avoid the sting of a huge phone bill when you return home!
How do you use your cell phone when traveling abroad?