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Tech Notes

6 Ways to Avoid Data Charges While Traveling
By Better Business Bureau
Jul 9, 2013 - 9:53:02 PM

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For many, summer is synonymous with traveling. So before you head out on your adventures abroad, learn how to cut down those expensive cell phone charges.

Mashable provides tips on eliminating roaming charges and minimizing data usage:

Turn Off Data Roaming: Generally when you are traveling abroad, your mobile network provider will be out of signal. So in order to use data, such as texts, mobile apps and internet (without Wi-Fi), your phone will roam for a different network's signal. Subsequently, your mobile network provider can bill incredibly high amounts for data roaming. In order to avoid these charges, turn off data roaming.

Wi-Fi-Enabled Alternatives: If you want to access internet or other apps on your smartphone, enable Airplane Mode in your phone's settings. This automatically turns off your data but allows you to still enable Wi-Fi.

You will not be able to make calls or texts on Airplane mode but there are apps for that!

A Wi-Fi enabled alternative for texting is WhatsApp, which allows you to send and receive messages, pictures, audio notes, and video messages with friends. For Wi-Fi enabled phone calls, there is a free app called Vibr, which allows you to call, text, or send pictures with contacts who also have the app.

Disable Push Notifications and Auto-Synching: When ever your phone sends you a push notification about a new email, text, missed call, etc., it is using data. So to save money on data usage charges, turn these notifications off.

Be Aware of How Much Data You've Used: Be sure to reset your data tracker so that you know exactly how much data you are using abroad. This will help you manage and keep up with your data charges.

Buy an International Data Package through Your Mobile Provider: If you want to use data separate from Wi-Fi enabled apps, you have the option of buying an international data package from your wireless carrier. These can sometimes be costly, but are cheaper than data roaming abroad. Wireless carriers have different options, but many let you purchase monthly data bundles. Be sure to check with your specific carrier for rates.

Buy a SIM Card Once You've Landed: This is often the cheapest option, but requires a little more work. A local SIM card you purchase abroad will come with a local phone number.

According to Mashable, "If you decide to buy a prepaid international SIM card for traveling abroad, you'll need to look into getting an unlocked GSM standard phone. We recommend asking your provider if your phone is 'world-compatible'."

To read the full article.

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