Quick Tip: How To Save Money On Your Smart Phone Bill While Travelling

By on January 22, 2013

Save on Smart Phone

It’s next to impossible to consider travelling without your phone, a.k.a. smart phone since anything else seems inadequate and outdated these days. But, even if you do brave it till the door, you’ll probably be back to slip into your pocket mumbling ‘just in case’. Meanwhile, your service provider begins with a string of cheery reminders of sizeable additional charges as you move further and further away from home. After a few trips, however, you will probably begin questioning the wisdom behind shelling out something akin to air fare for your phone. Some of these tricks below can help ease your load.

Know what you are paying for

You can begin with a better understanding of your service plan. Take the cautious route and call your service provider to get details on your roaming charges rather than surprising yourself with a hefty bill.

In fact, most service providers list travel packages that offer various bundles of minutes depending on your usage, i.e. for calls, texting and data use. Keep in mind that these packages are expensive themselves, although probably not as expensive as unplanned roaming usage.

Lower your data charges

It’s quite simple really – just turn off your data roaming and use a Wi-Fi connection to make calls via Skype or Google Voice (both have reasonable international rates) instead. If you are bored at airport terminals during layovers, wander into a café with Wi-Fi to check mails, surf the net, or for downloads.

Data charges are the highest charges levied by service providers. They are exorbitant to view even a single webpage, leave alone to browse absent-mindedly or to post pictures on Facebook while you wait.

But make sure you do turn off data roaming as your phone could go back to mobile browsing if your Wi-Fi signal is weak or if you have wandered away from its coverage area.

With most restaurants, hotels and cafes offering complimentary Wi-Fi networks for their customers, you can make the most of it too. Use Skype or Viber to make video calls and text other users endlessly while you are in these hotspots.

Get an alternate SIM card

Here’s a chance to let your old GSM phone feel useful for a few days. Since GSM phones are usually built to international standards, you can put in a local prepaid SIM card from your destination.

You can pick one up at the airport itself.

Again, it might be slightly more expensive than ones from dealers outside, but it beats hunting for the ‘best plan’ in a new city. And they may also be able to unlock your phone if there’s a problem putting in your new, local SIM card.

Alternatively, you can also get an international roaming SIM card before you leave. There are plenty on the market, and they too offer different packages depending on your usage.

A few other things to lighten your smart phone bill would be to use more traditional forms of communication – landline phones for local calls and your computer to send mails faster.

Photo Credit: Björn Bechstein

Russell Kith

About Russell Kith

Russell Kith grew up in small town Wisconsin, the youngest of 4 boys. Having devoted most of his adolescent years to troublemaking, he left home at 18 and roamed across the world taking a variety of jobs he declines to specify. These days, you can find him writing about personal finance on the web. You can follow Russell on Google+ or Twitter.

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