An affordable data plan for your smartphone can quickly become expensive when you travel overseas. Follow these six tips to avoid huge data charges on your iPhone when traveling outside of the U.S
Use Free Wi-Fi When Possible
A lot of businesses offer free Wi-Fi to their customers, so take advantage of it when you find it. Common places include hotels, cafes, and restaurants. The website OpenWiFiSpots will help you find free Wi-Fi no matter where you go.
When you have access to the Internet, feel free to check your email, add pictures to your social media profiles, and play streaming music. It won’t cost you anything, so make good use of the opportunity.
Remember that public Wi-Fi has some security risks. It’s best not to access your bank or credit card accounts until you have a secure connection. Keep this in mind so you don’t put yourself in harm’s way.
Download Information Ahead of Time
You should also use free Wi-Fi to download information ahead of time. Of course, you can plan ahead by downloading the data you need before leaving on a trip. If you want to make a playlist or download movies for your travels, you should do it at home.
The new iPhone from Apple comes in models with 16, 64, or 128 GB of storage. That gives you plenty of room to save maps, itineraries, and other information so you don’t have to use your data during the day.
Change Your Data Settings
The iPhone’s default setting does not allow data roaming. If you’ve had the phone for a while, though, you may have tinkered with the settings. It’s easy to change it back so you don’t unintentionally use data during your travels.
To be certain your phone will not use data from outside of your network, go to Settings > Mobile and make sure Mobile Data and Data Roaming are turned off. If you ever need to use data during your trip, just turn it back on. Remember to turn it off again when you’re done or your phone will keep roaming.
Compress Your Data
Several apps will compress and prioritize data to make sure you don’t use more than you need. Onavo Extend is one of the best options for the iPhone. This app reduces the amount of data your phone uses by:
- Only loading images as you scroll down the screen
- Letting you choose a setting that balances image quality with data savings
- Giving you reports on how you use data throughout the month
- Turning itself off when your phone connects to Wi-Fi
Other mobile data-compression apps to research include:
- Opera Coast app
Browse your options to decide which one you like best.
Use a Company with International Service
Some service providers have plans that will keep your monthly bill affordable while letting you use data and text overseas. T-Mobile, for instance, uses the Simple Choice Plan to give its customers unlimited data in over 120 countries.
If you plan to travel to a remote area, this approach might not work for you. For most people, though, using an international data plan is a great way to keep costs down without putting a lot of restrictions on how they use their phones.
Only Use It When You Need It
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s still worth mentioning. Unless you have an international data plan, you need to understand that your data use will cost more when you visit a foreign country. If you use your phone the way you do at home, your bill could increase significantly.
Unless you really need to download something to your phone, don’t do it. This is the easiest way to ensure that you don’t get a big surprise on your monthly statement.
What’s the biggest bill you’ve ever gotten because you didn’t know that it cost more to use your phone overseas? Which of these tips do you think would help you avoid extra expenses the next time you travel?