Friday, February 28, 2014

Don't let your family be eaten alive with International Cell Phone Use

Tips for International Smart Phone Use

By Mark Fitzgerald
Using your cell phone internationally can be an expensive venture.  Your on vacation - leave the phone at home.  It just isn't that easy.  Increasingly our lives are on these devices.  Among other things, for many it is their only cameras and you will want to take pictures on your trip.  Also a lot of museums are adding in online maps and other interactive services for mobile devices.

Unless you have an international plan on your phone I suggest disabling it by using Airplane Mode.   In both iOS and Android when you turn on Airplane Mode it will disable your Wi-Fi and cellular networks.  After turning Airplane Mode on you can then tap into the Wi-Fi settings and turn it back on.  This will allow you to use wireless without having the cellular on.  If you are really paranoid you can always remove your SIM card from the phone.

Using Airplane Mode has the draw back that you still cannot use the phone.  We work around this by using Google Hangouts and video chatting with our family.  It is something they are quite familiar with, but it can take some getting used to.  You both have to have Gmail accounts and computers with webcams.  You will need to prearrange a time to ensure those that you are calling will be logged in.

If you must have a normal phone and you don't want to pay for an international plan, try visiting Clark Howard's page on how to use cell phones overseas.  He will walk you through several options.  Make sure to check devices that each member of the family may have.  Forgetting about one devices may cost you dearly.

The wifi on most international flights ends just outside of the continental United States.  Delta is just starting to add internet service internationally.  Still don't expect blazing speeds from this satellite based service.

No comments:

Post a Comment