The holidays are here, and you are yearning to get away from it all. Well, not exactly. Your mobile phone has been your constant companion and deserves to accompany you to those exotic destinations. It is the best connection to friends, relatives and colleagues while you are away. Keeping in touch with calls, social and Skype has never been easier, right?
Don’t be so confident. The fact is that travelling abroad could see you being slapped with a hefty bill by your service provider immediately you return from a holiday. This is because your usage during your travel would be billed similar to those of someone who makes international calls. To avoid such an occurrence, you need to do the following.
Talk to Your Provider
Communicate with your provider before you leave home for your holiday. This will allow you to know the various options that are available to travellers. You could be put on an international calling and data plan, which is friendlier to your pocket. A different plan would be to have your account suspended until you return, meaning you have to find alternative communication methods while abroad. Either way, talking to your service provider before your trip allows you to know exactly what type of charges you will incur every time you reach for your phone.
Bring a Voltage Converter Along
It is wise to find out the voltage in use in the country you are heading to. The alternative would be landing in a place only to find you cannot charge your phone. Once you find out that your destination has different voltage, the best course of action is to buy a voltage converter and plug that will fit into the local sockets.
Unlock Your Phone
If your phone is locked to a specific carrier, you will need to have it unlocked before you embark on your journey. Should you fail to do this, you will be carrying a phone you cannot use. Service providers sometimes sell phones that they have locked to keep off competitors. This will become a problem when you go abroad, especially if your local provider does not have a presence in that country.
Unlocking is possible with some phones but not with others. If you can unlock your phone, you can then buy or rent another SIM card at your destination. This is particularly helpful if you will be making a lot of local calls. If you are a frequent traveller, you should consider where you buy your phone next time so that you avoid one that will come locked.
Turn Off the Automatic Setting
You may not be aware that the current settings on your phone could cost in terms of penalties. The feature that automatically updates your e-mails is one such setting. Your phone will end up using data when updating your mail without your knowledge, leading to the accumulation of charges that you will have to pay once you return. A number of phones, including the Samsung Galaxy series, have a page on their website that shows the roaming charges in different countries, so make use of it.
Turn Off Data Roaming
As you prepare to board your flight, ensure that you have turned off your data roaming setting. This will indicate to your smartphone that you do not wish it to use the new data networks it detects. In this way, you limit the phone to using your local network only. Some devices like the Samsung Galaxy have a limit of 42.50 per month that is set for worldwide data roaming. This helps to regulate your charges as you have to request a top up if you wish to exceed the limit.
Use the Airplane Mode
Bring the airplane mode into play. A phone on this mode will not connect to the local network. Instead, it will pick up internet hotspots if the Wi-Fi option is switched on manually. The advantage of this move is that you will avoid data charges altogether and get to use free internet.
Go for Inexpensive Apps
Apps like Whatsapp and Skype can be used to call or text without resorting to your service provider. In most cases, these apps are availed without charge or at a lower cost than you would otherwise pay using international calling rates. Apple users can also iMessage, which is a program that allows free texting between devices provided both are from apple.
Holidays are meant to be enjoyed. So, you can leave your SIM card at home and only use the phone at hot spots where there is free internet. You can also use public internet cafes for social media updates.