How to Minimize Your Communication Costs When Abroad
Planning an overseas trip and want to be able to keep in touch with family, friends, and business associates back in the US without incurring large telephone and texting charges? Having an “international” smartphone doesn’t mean you can automatically use it to make and receive calls as if you were still at home. Just last week I received a call from a client who was appalled that he received a bill from his mobile phone carrier for $1200 after returning from a ten day trip to Europe.
I have written many times that it’s impossible to recommend a computer, program, and service that fits all. The same is true regarding a communication plan. Here’s a list of some of the things that must be considered before selecting the best strategy to manage your communication costs.
– Do you have an international phone?
– Where will you be traveling to?
– How long will you be away?
– What will be your primary means of communication (phone, text, e-mail)?
– How important will it be for you to access information (using your data plan) such as news, social networking, etc.?
– Will your hotel/residence have Internet access, and is there a cost for it?
– Will you have access to wi-fi?
I have written a number of times about the different ways of using your phone overseas at no cost. I have suggested you look at Viber, WhatsApp, MagicJack, and Skype. All have the ability to communicate for free from anywhere you can access the Internet through a wireless connection.
With many smartphones, you can purchase a simcard in many countries that will fit in the side of your phone, allowing you to use a local number; thereby, reducing the cost of each call.
However, each of the major mobile phone providers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile) offer international plans that, for a fee, will substantially reduce, and in several cases, let you use your phone as if you were in the US. For example, for either a daily or monthly fee, Verizon Wireless lets you use your phone in many parts of the world as if you were still home.
Below is a list of the major mobile providers. Click on your provider, and you will be able to review the different plans available to you.
Verizon International Calling Plans
AT&T International Calling Plans
Sprint International Calling Plans
T-Mobile International Calling Plans
Keep in mind, the plan you select is based on where you will be travelling, the length of your trip, and the availability of wi-fi.
Lastly, you can always rent an international phone here in the US from a company such as Cellhire.
The important think to remember is there is no need to be out of touch or pay exorbitant prices while travelling abroad.