The world may be more globalized than ever and the Internet may be its leveling agent, but as any experienced traveler will tell you, many phone companies haven’t quite warmed to these clichés just yet. You would think that between the junk drawers chuck full of little dangly things and enough Internet connected devices under one roof to crash a small server, there would be at least one that allows you to text, email, call and surf the Web hassle free for a reasonable price. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem like there is much incentive for big telecom companies to cooperate internationally. Fortunately, world travelers are innovative folks and quite a few work-around solutions have now appeared.
When going to a new country, determining the best method of communication varies substantially depending on the specific needs of the individual. If you are just looking for a way to check in with the kids while on a two-week vacation in Rome, there are plenty of solutions. However if you are looking for a single device that can call home, check email and make local calls for one low price, all while jumping from country to country, things get a little more complicated. Luckily, there are ways you can adapt cell phones for international use.
Making international Calls
Regardless of your reason for calling home, a Skype-enabled device is a must have for any international traveler. Skype’s VOIP service is by far the cheapest solution for making international calls. At $0.02 a minute anywhere in the world, charging your Skype account with $10 is more than enough call time for most people. Skype is now available on most smartphones and tablets. The only disadvantage to Skype is that it must be used over Wi-Fi.
Another solution for making international calls is to enroll in a international calling plan. Most service providers have a monthly international plan that, for a small fee, allows you to use a certain amount of minutes internationally. To get more information, call your service provider and tell them where you are going and ask what kind of plans are available. While these plans can be very convenient, it is important to keep track of the rules governing your plan and keep track of your cell and data usage. Exceeding your allotted usage can quickly negate any money you may have saved.
Using a local SIM card
Skype and international plans are great for making international calls, but if local calls and Internet access are more important to you, investing in a local pay-as-you-go SIM card is the way to go.
Unfortunately few SIM cards are “plug and play”. Most devices must first be unlocked before you can use them internationally. Plenty of places are capable of unlocking you phone, but just make sure unlocking won’t void your device’s warranty. Once you have unlocked your device, shop around for a cheap pay-as-you-go SIM card that allows you to make local calls and use the local data network at local prices.
Finally, remember to check voltage requirement before you go and purchase the corresponding adapter. Nothing is more frustrating than getting your device all set up and finding out you’ve paid a bunch of money for an international paper weight!
Author Bio: Emily Green is a freelance writer with more than 6 years of professional experience in blogging, copywriting, content, SEO, dissertation, technical, and theses writing. She has written more than a thousand webpage content articles and has worked for established companies like www.copyforbylines.com. Emily specializes in a variety of topics such as tech, fashion, lifestyle, travel and more.