Find an amazing international phone planAlliance/Shutterstock
How many times have you landed at your destination and texted your loved one to let them know you arrived safe and sound? Before you know it, you’re texting photos of your cocktails or selfies by the beach. Well, if you do this when abroad, you may come home to a massive phone bill that could have been avoided if you had pre-planned via an international phone plan. Many service providers have them, and they are more affordable than you might imagine. For instance, T-Mobile Simple Choice and T-Mobile ONE plans have unlimited data and texting, plus free Wi-Fi calling in 140-plus countries and destinations at no extra charge. “My T-Mobile international plan has saved me more than a couple of times with its unlimited data coverage and texting in over +140 countries,” says Kosta Karakashyan, a lifestyle blogger at Cool Gear Cavalier. “While it’s not incredibly fast, it’s always helpful to text your friends or family that you made it or that you are on your layover and can’t find any Wi-Fi access. Nowadays phone companies are always trying to offer the next best thing, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find a plan that works for you when you’re on the road.” She’s right. AT&T has international day passes at $10 each, which buy you unlimited calls and texts, and use your plan’s monthly data allowance without additional roaming charges. For longer trips, they also have a $40 passbook good for 30 days or 200MB of data. Sprint offers global roaming free texts, 2G data, and phone calls for $0.20 per minute. Finally, Verizon has a few programs, including one that will charge you $25 for 100MB of in 140 countries. You can also buy a TravelPass for $2 a day if you are going to Mexico or Canada, or another 100 countries are covered for $10 per day, and will just follow your regular plan.
Research the airport Wi-Fi, but do not rely on the public networkBeer5020/Shutterstock
Even if your airport offers Wi-Fi (free or at a charge), often there are so many people using that network, there’s no chance of logging in or maintaining the connection. Instead, “research on Yelp which airport cafes have Wi-Fi and make that your backup. Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul, for example, does not have Wi-Fi access, but the Starbucks at the very end of the shop area definitely does. Tried and tested,” says Karakashyan.
Have a password handy in advanceRawpixel.com/Shutterstock
Many people are fans of the Wi-Fi Map App, an amazing tool that gives access to millions of Wi-Fi hotspot connections worldwide, everywhere you can imagine. Even better, it’s a community-based app, so if you find one not listed, you can add it and help someone else. This is amazing not only at airports but any city in the world where you don’t want to splurge on a $10 coffee just to check your mail. “The free version only works when you have data, so it’s helpful if you want to switch to Wi-Fi but you need some connection in the first place. If you buy the premium version, you can do offline searches for any area you are in (GPS-detected) so you can find a network anywhere, provided someone graciously shared the password,” says Karakashyan.