There’s no better way to kill the travel high than to arrive home to a hefty cell phone bill. If you’re careful and plan ahead, your phone can be the most useful tool you take with you. Here’s what you can do to ensure you’re taking advantage of your phone internationally, without burning a hole in your pocket.
Research International Phone Plans
Some carriers offer phone plans that cover international calls, roaming fees, and data charges. For example, AT&T Passport can be purchased for 30 for $30 (rates vary) and provides coverage in more than 190 countries. This includes talk, text, and web browsing. Check with your phone company to see if they offer a similar international plan.
Buy Or Rent
If you would rather not risk the possibility of surprise charges on your current phone, you can rent or purchase one meant specifically for international travel. This is especially useful if you’re visiting more than one country on your visit because you’re going to want coverage wherever you go. The National Geographic Talk Abroad Travel Phone works in 200 different countries, and most U.S.- based mobile carriers offer similar rental programs.
Unlock Your GSM
If your phone can operate on the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM), you’re in luck. Call your wireless company and ask to have it unlocked. Once your phone has been unlocked you’ll be able to access other mobile carrier networks around the world.
You will also need to buy and install a local SIM card that will comply with the country you’re visiting. This tiny chip stores information such as your identity, local cell phone number, and other bits of useful data. It will need to be activated, though. You can do so in advance or once you’ve arrived in the country you’re visiting. Source
The most cost effective of all of these options is to use your current phone when you have access to wifi. Turn off your data when you arrive so you won’t rack up roaming charges, then use all of your favorite apps when you have wifi. Hotels usually offer wifi, either for free or for at a daily rate and most public areas, such as the Tower of London and the Louvre, now offer wifi for their visitors.
Bon Voyage! Travel the World with AESU
AESU offers unique, thrilling travel programs for college students and young professionals at affordable rates. Each trip is action-packed and informal—designed just for people your own age. We are also able to design custom tours just for your group.
Experience an exhilarating adventure on the Cosmopolitan, Explorer, and Continental tours. It’s never too late to get a taste of a multitude of exciting cultures!
If you have any questions or want help booking your European adventure, please contact AESU by calling 800-638-7640, or fill out the contact form found on our website!