Data roaming fees can be the disastrous result of traveling with your cellular data on. According to the GSM Association, a professional society of mobile operators, roaming fees can range anywhere from $1.07 per megabyte to a whopping $30.95 per megabyte.
These astonishing charges make it crucial for travelers to understand their connectivity options while they’re on the road, so they don’t get stuck with fees. Here’s what you need to know.
Most mainstream domestic calling plans have very unforgiving roaming fees. If you are about to make a long trip, you should ask your mobile carrier about an international calling plan, which will keep you connected even while you’re abroad.
This can alleviate some of the expense of calling, texting, and browsing the Web overseas. However, you should keep in mind that special international calling plans will still be more expensive than domestic service.
In addition, your reception may be spotty, depending on the types of cellular antennae used by the carriers in the area you are traveling through.
If you don’t have the budget to purchase an international calling plan, then you can rely on Wi-Fi access as an alternative to cellular data. VoIP software, such as Skype, has come a long way in the past few years.
You can now have a high-quality video and audio chat with most people who own smartphones or tablets. But you’ll need to make sure your destination has Wi-Fi access.
You might want to pack a small wireless router, in case you find yourself stuck with an Ethernet cord at your hotel.
If you plan to stay in a new location for a few weeks or more, you might want to consider purchasing a mobile hotspot and a temporary subscription from a local cellular vendor. This will give you the ability to create a mobile data connection for your laptop, smartphone, and other devices, while only paying local cellular fees.
Local SIM cards
This is the ultimate calling solution if you expect to be staying abroad for an extended period. A local SIM card can be inserted into some US phones, which allows you to make calls using local carriers with local cellular plans.
However, some US phones are region locked against this type of usage, so find out whether your phone is compatible first.
Since you’ll be traveling abroad, make sure to label your cords and other devices. This can help you recover them if you forget a device, like a mobile hotspot, on a café table.
Avoid those deadly roaming fees by using wireless routers, international calling packages, and hotspots.