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International roaming: Everything you need to know

Digital lifestyle
International roaming: Everything you need to know
Digital lifestyle

How can you avoid extra roaming costs when using your mobile phone outside of the US? Read on to use your phone abroad.

Are you planning a holiday or a business trip to a country outside of the US? Or do you spend time in countries outside of the States on a regular basis? You may want to prepare by learning about international roaming. This will help you prevent unexpected charges, so you can focus on enjoying your trip. 

What is international roaming?

After traveling to another country, your phone travels along with you, and connects to another network offered by another carrier. You may have noticed that your phone alerts you to switching on to another carrier network after landing at an airport, or after arriving in another country by train or boat. You are able to call and receive calls or send and receive text messages again.

Is your phone compatible with networks outside of the US?

It’s important to make sure that your phone is compatible with the phone carrier networks in the country that you are traveling to. Your phone might for example work when making voice calls, but you may find that you are not able to send text messages, or send and receive data in any way. Avoid issues by checking with your US mobile phone provider before you depart.

International roaming rates

Most domestic US phone service plans do not cover the cost of using your phone abroad. If roaming abroad is covered by your phone carrier, you may end up paying much higher rates or additional international roaming fees when using your phone. The additional roaming fees can vary per country and network that you are roaming on.
These higher phone rates are usually applied to any use of your phone; from calling to sending messages and internet access. It’s a good idea to ask your phone service provider about the rates they charge for international roaming, if roaming abroad is at all possible.

Make sure to track your phone usage

It’s handy to know how to track your phone usage when going abroad. This way you can stay within your phone data usage plan. This helps to avoid unexpected additional charges while abroad. Be aware of the fact that delays in processing international roaming fees may cause your extra costs to show up on your phone bill at a (much) later date.

How can you avoid roaming charges when traveling abroad?

If you want to be able to make use of your phone without any extra roaming fees or worries about the extra cost, you’ll be happy to know that there is a way around paying extra money. Simply buy a prepaid SIM card for the country you are visiting, before you travel. This way you can keep on top of your phone data expenses and avoid high international roaming fees. If you run out of call credit or mobile data, you can easily top up online from anywhere.



Be aware of your location

Be aware of roaming fees if you are spending time near the border of a country. You may roam onto the network of a neighboring country without realizing it and end up paying more for your phone usage.
Set an alert in your phone’s Settings menu and get notified when entering another roaming zone or country. This way you are more aware of your possible roaming fees. Use the WiFi network at your hotel to call, send messages and show those at home your holiday photos.

Buy a SIM card for your destination

Make sure to buy a prepaid SIM card online for the country that you are visiting, that is compatible with your network carrier and phone. This is how you stay in control of extra phone costs and how you can avoid nasty bills after returning home from a trip abroad.

Written by

Kristina Kalpaklieva