As smart phones continue to get smarter and smarter, they naturally become more and more indispensable. These days, airlines, buses, and trains are making things even easier by offering ticketless travel. Just show up, present the ticket details on your phone and board the transport of your choice. Apart from that, the smart phone can schedule your trip, find you the best car rental, book your hotel…and of course, phone home. It’s a must have accessory on any trip.
So since the smart phone is so smart, it’s time you became equally wise, and not sleep walk into exorbitant overseas call charges from your service provider. These charges will drain you of your money quicker than a beach pickpocket on overtime.
For example, did you know that if you were to send a picture home via conventional text message, it could cost you up to $40.00 with some plans! That’s outrageous and criminally dumb, especially in this day and age where there are so many better and cheaper alternatives available.
In fairness, many of the leading carriers have relented and started to offer free roaming charges to several destinations. They didn’t do it because they wanted to. The truth is that every year since 2007, the maximum rate for calling or texting any European Economic Area (EEA) number while roaming within the borders of the zone while on a mobile phone in the EU, has been lowered. This covers all 28 EU member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway (the cap also applies to data). On July 1st this year another new cap will come into force, further reducing the cost of roaming in Europe.
This is following years of extremely high overseas charges where bills could easily run to thousands of dollars with the unaware cellphone owner having no idea as to the true cost of travelling overseas with a smart phone. But do not be deceived by some of these seemingly benevolent offers. Call charges overseas can still easily run to $3.00 or $4.00 a minute, and that doesn’t include data costs charged by the megabyte as you leisurely decide which restaurant to visit on your phone.
Also, forgetting to put your phone on roaming before you leave home is a big mistake. All of your home country voice mails, texts and other data are automatically “pushed” to your phone before you are out of the airport, or as soon as you have a signal. These can cost you a lot of money in a hurry.
But there is a better and much easier way. Here is a simple 5-step process for taking a smart phone with you when you travel overseas and how to save BIG money while doing so.
Step 1: Leave your contract smart phone home alone.
Just put it in a drawer and forget about it.
Step 2: Buy a SIM Free phone
Buy a SIM Free smart phone purely for travelling. Or if you have a second smart phone you don’t often use, get it unlocked by a reliable online unlock service such as UnlockBase. This will enable you to swap SIM cards easily as you travel and instantly enjoy local call rates in whichever country you visit. Friends and family will quickly get used to your new number while you are overseas.
Step 3: Buy a “World SIM” SIM card
As an alternative to swapping SIM cards wherever you go, consider a SIM card such as World SIM, which enables you to use your phone anywhere using just one number. This award-winning SIM card gives you free international roaming in 90+ countries, international phone calls for just a couple of cents a minute and competitive local call rates while you are at home.
Step 4: Investigate free Wi-Fi options
Whenever you travel, and wherever you are, try to avoid using too much data on your cell phone. The chances are you can get free WiFi in your hotel room, at an Internet cafe, or in a coffee shop. Check out JiWire WiFi Finder App for international Wi-Fi spots; searching by your destination makes it really easy to figure out which companies offer Wi-Fi services at your destination.
Step 5: Use Skype, WhatsApp, Twitter, and Facebook for free messaging
Once you are happily in your room with the free WiFi blazing, use these free apps on your SIM Free smartphone to send your holiday photos, instant catch ups, email messages and more. If you have to make calls, make them, it’s ok because you will be on local or World SIM rates. If you use a Lycamobile SIM card you can even make free calls provided you call another Lycamobile number.
So get smart and follow these 5 simple steps so you can have peace of mind while actually enjoying your vacation and not worrying about an eye watering cell phone bill from your carrier when you get home.