Before you Instagram that mountain of poutine you’re about to eat during your class trip to Quebec, or search Google Maps for directions to the Eiffel Tower during your student tour of Paris, your cell phone bill is begging you to read this.
Many phone plans include unlimited calls, texts, even data plans nationwide, but as soon as you go abroad you could be looking at hundreds of dollars in additional fees. This five-step guide will help you use your phone on the road without breaking the bank.
Talk to Your Provider
Let them know when and where you’re going and how you intend to use your phone while you’re there. If having full access to your phone is a priority during your class trip, many providers offer temporary international plans. These make it much cheaper to perform basic online functions. Spending a few dollars on a supplementary plan could mean saving hundreds of dollars on your next phone bill.
Turn Off Apps & Push Notifications
Even if you do purchase an international plan, data usage isn’t infinite and will still cost you a pretty penny if you’re not careful. To avoid any nasty surprises, turn off apps and push notifications that you don’t plan on using during your trip. This makes it a lot easier to manage your usage.
Track Your Usage
We also suggest setting up your phone so that you can literally track your usage during your trip. Contact your provider to learn how to reset your phone’s ‘data tracker’ at the beginning of your trip so that you can check in from time to time to see how you’re doing. You should also ask your provider if you’ll get free push notifications with usage updates.
Look for Free WiFi Hot Spots
During your trip, keep your eyes peeled for free WiFi ‘hot spot’ connections in public places like hotels and shopping malls. These hot spots are the easiest way to stay connected without using precious data. This would be your chance to check email, search for directions, or upload that selfie you took earlier; anything that takes up a lot of data, basically.
Get to Know Airplane Mode
When in doubt, set your phone to ‘airplane mode’. If you plan on bringing your phone but only intend to use it sparingly, airplane mode ensures that your phone won’t ‘roam’ for a connection, or use up needless data. In the event of an emergency where you must use your phone you can simply revert back to your normal settings for full connectivity.
Your phone is a great way to stay connected during your trip; for emergencies or otherwise. Now that you know how to keep the cost under control, you can have your cake and Instagram it.