I ask you - who needs a smart phone more than a traveler? To find a great restaurant, get directions, take pictures, keep in touch with friends back home… It’s as if smart phones were meant for travelers! And yet... traveling abroad with your iPhone can be complicated and expensive. Here are some tips for avoiding a $2,000 phone bill:
1. Call your provider
Consider purchasing a basic international plan as an insurance policy. Know that even the most expensive plan will not allow you to use your phone like you do at home. It’s easy to exceed your data limits and end up with a $1000 phone bill. I purchase the cheapest international plan so that I can use the phone in case of emergency.
2. Be vigilant about your settings
When you board the airplane, turn airplane mode ON and cellular data roaming OFF. Keep these settings until you get back on US soil.
Wi-Fi – When you know you are in a Wi-Fi hotspot in France, turn ON Wi-Fi (airplane mode remains ON and cellular data roaming remains OFF).
(You can use Skype to call home while on Wi-Fi.)
3. Get a local phone
Séjour families will likely want a local phone number. The easiest and cheapest way to do that is to buy a pay-as-you-go mobile phone in France. The two most popular carriers are SFR and Orange. They have storefronts everywhere and the hip young people who work there will likely speak some English. Go in, pick a cheap phone and a plan, walk out 20 minutest later. 50 bucks max.