How to Avoid International Phone Rates and Data Roaming Charges?

Traveling abroad carrying your favorite smartphone with 3G data plan activated? An International phone rate is usually one of those expenses that people never think about until they have long since left their home country and are starting to understand that another country exists in a completely real sense. Every country has its own set of annoyances and irritations that people have to deal with and sometimes different countries will trade annoyances with one another. Fees tend to be among the list of things that will bother you if you forget to manage your smarphone’s data plans and calls.

Making calls or using data services outside of your cellular provider’s coverage area (especially if you are traveling abroad) can get very expensive. Smartphone users have to be especially careful when traveling: automatic data syncing and third party apps running in the background can rack up enormous data roaming fees.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to make a phone work in another country without having to go with something complicated. This doesn’t usually even need to involve signing an international contract in a language you may not even be able to read. It simply involves using a prepaid SIM card instead of the one that came with your phone originally.

Same Phone, Different Method

Keep in mind that even if you turn off data roaming and data sync, third-party apps can still turn these back on. Therefore, you need to be sure you don’t have any apps installed that will override your data roaming settings. If all you want to do is make/receive phone calls and you’re not absolutely sure you don’t have any apps that would turn data roaming back on, consider leaving your phone at home (turned off) and renting a cell phone just for your trip or renting a different SIM card for your cell phone.

While you may not realize it, there is a good chance that your phone can work in almost every country in the world. The major issue that you need to consider is your SIM card. When your SIM card works with a particular network, you are essentially good to go if you have any time on the card. While some phones don’t use a SIM card, this is something you can easily find out simply by looking inside your phone.

What is a SIM (Smart) Card?

The SIM (Subscriber Identification Module or Subscriber Identity Module) card – a.k.a. “smart card” – holds all of a subscriber’s personal information and phone settings. In essence, it is the subscriber’s authorization to use the network. It also holds the phone number, personal security key and other data necessary for the handset to function. The card can be switched from phone to phone, letting the new phone receive all calls to the subscriber’s number.

You can also ask your carrier to unlock your phone (they may charge a fee for this and it may take a while to take effect); this will allow you to buy pre-paid cellular service from a local carrier at your trip destination and insert their SIM card into your cell phone.

It’s a Lot Cheaper Over Time

Naturally, buying a prepaid SIM card is not going to be free. Just like everything else in life, there is some degree of cost involved in the matter. However, this is a cost that you will easily make up as your trip progresses. Think about how much international phone rates tend to be and you will understand that making a one time purchase can save you tremendously on what you would otherwise spend.

If each minutes costs you something, with only a few short conversations you can start to rack up some serious costs. But these costs won’t be a factor if you simply purchase a SIM card that already works in the country you’re speaking in. Moreover, using SIM-only phones help you go green!

Make it Easier on Yourself

Simply put, this is easier in every possible way. On the one hand, you have the fact that you won’t have to deal with the international calling rates that apply when you go from one country into another. On another hand, you won’t have to deal with the irritation of having to deal with essentially jury rigging a SIM card that isn’t supposed to work in another country’s network. Thirdly, the time and money you save by making it easier will put a lot less stress on you. Traveling is stressful enough without having trifles like your phone bringing
you down.

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