Taking Your Mobile Phone Abroad
When planning you and your families, next getaway don’t forget to plan how you will communicate with each other while in a different country. Many of us don’t consider how we will use our phones when we travel. It’s usually the last thing on our minds after deciding the where, when and how you’re going to visit. But having a plan for how to use your phone can prove to be vital in times of emergency. We use our phones so much in our day to day lives that sometimes we think our phone is just an extension of our hand. Unlike your hand, your phone is going to need special provisions to work out of the country.
Check Your Cell Phone Travel Coverage
Before you get on a plan or go on a road trip, don’t assume that your phone will work wherever you go. I think sometimes we expect our phone is going to work and that we’ll pay whatever the roaming charges are. Having to pay very high roaming charges is the best case scenario. The worst case scenario is that your phone might not even work depending on where you are in the world. To avoid the unknown give your cell phone carrier a call before you plan your next trip. It’s better to know before you get to book your trip, so you know your options.
If you are traveling outside the continental US like to Hawaii, Puerto Rico or Alaska, you will be able to use your phone under most cell phone carrier plans. If you’re traveling to Canada, the same rule will apply. If you have International Roaming on your cell phone plan, this is the best way to go. You’ll be able to send text messages and have access to data although your internet data will usually be significantly slower it should still work.
A New SIM Card Could Save the Day
In the event that you are planning an extended stay anywhere in the world, there is an option that will allow you to make calls in the country you’re visiting without paying ridiculous roaming charges. Consider buying a SIM card from the cell phone carrier in the country your visiting. This option is one of the safest bets to clear consistent access to your cell phone while out of the country. When buying a SIM card you have two options: you can use the new SIM card in your phone from home but that comes with stipulations, or you can buy a cheap travel phone that you can use every time you go on vacation.
Using your phone with a different SIM card can be easy as pie if you’ve entirely paid for your phone. If you’re on a payment plan, it can get a little stickier but let’s deal with the first option for now. If your phone is paid for and it’s not already unlocked, you can either go into a store or call your carrier to ask them to unlock the phone so that you can use it with a different SIM card. If you are in the middle of a payment plan with your carrier they may not allow you to unlock the phone legally because you haven’t finished paying for it. Your monthly bills pay for your cell phone usage and a portion of the cost of the phone until it’s paid off.
If you are still paying for your phone and your cell phone carrier won’t unlock your phone, you may even have options. You should, however, be very careful because these options may not be on the legal side of the spectrum. On the World Wide Web, you can search for just about anything. There are loads of websites that walk you step by step on how to unlock your phone from home. It’s called “jailbreaking” your phone, so if your cell phone carrier finds out somehow that you’ve done this, you could be in breach of contract and have some consequences to your actions. The other downside to “jailbreaking” your phone is that if you’re successful and even if you’re not successful you could end up losing information from your phone and or ruining your device.
The safest and most legal thing to do is to buy a low-cost travel phone and a SIM card to go with it. This way in the case of an emergency or if you merely need to Google the closest Starbucks to the Pyramids in Egypt you can do it quickly and without breaking any laws or your phone.