Sunday, August 26, 2012

Hints for Using Your Cell Phone When Traveling

With today's new 4G phones and the love people have for posting their vacation pictures on Facebook and Twitter, people can return to a cell phone bill in the thousands of dollars - if no one tells them about roaming charges when transmitting data and pictures.

Case in point - a travel agent recently posted a situation on an agent board where one of her clients returned from an Alaskan cruise to a $600 cell phone bill.  She never used the phone on the cruise, but took many pictures and did not turn off her data plan on the phone. In not turning off the data plan, her phone was still hooked up to the cruise ships satellite system for receiving e-mails and texts - even though she did not look at or answer them, and she was charged a roaming fee for each of these items that came through on her phone.

At the very least, when traveling, especially out of the U.S., if you plan on bringing your cell phone with you, you must call your cell phone provider and speak to them about what your options are when traveling with your cell phone.  They will tell you what your fees will be to wherever you are traveling to and how to turn off features on your phone so that you do not incur huge fees.

For example, when we travel by cruise, air or car, I call my carrier, A T & T and add an international calling plans (if traveling outside the U.S.)  They will tell me how much per minute I will pay for incoming or outgoing phone calls.  A T & T always had advised me to turn off the wi-fi and cellular service or put the phone in "airplane" mode so that I am not charged for unnecessary usage.  I usually will  leave my phone off unless I am expecting an important call, or I need to make a call.
This is especially true when cruising and traveling through multiple countries. 

If I know I will be checking e-mails or texts or possible posting photos on line, I will call A T & T and add a Data Plan. This plan costs $30 and gives me more megabytes of data than I will use.
The first time I traveled out of the country and did not add the data plan, I came home to an additional $90 on my cell phone bill for checking e-mail, sending e-mails and putting photos on line  One bill was all it took for me to call A T & T and ask them what I could do to reduce my costs the next time I traveled. The international data plan was all I needed to add as well as the international calling plan.

The next time you plan to travel - before you leave,  call your cell phone carrier and ask how to keep your bill down.

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