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International Phone Use While Traveling Abroad: How to Use Your Phone Internationally

Technology has made access to information more convenient than ever before. In fact, it’s become so streamlined that we, as consumers, can become complacent. When abroad, it can be easy to forget about the excessive charges associated with data use during international travel. Unfortunately, this mindset could lead to a nasty surprise on your cell phone bill: extra charges equaling hundreds to thousands of dollars.

You’ve prepared your passport, double-checked that you have the proper vaccinations and medical care, and converted some cash to the local currency — so why not take some extra measures to prepare your phone as well? Avoiding an outcome like this requires taking steps to prepare your phone for international use.

Prior to setting foot in an airport, be sure to check with your carrier to ensure that your phone can be used outside the country, discuss potential charges that may apply, potentially look into temporary international travel plans, and more. This guide will provide advice on completing each of these steps, keeping you equipped with the data you’ll need overseas without breaking the bank.

Utilize a Temporary International Travel Plan

Speak to your cell service provider about the best way to handle international travel. Different mobile providers offer varying degrees of coverage in different countries, and it’s important to determine whether your current plan and device will be compatible with the network wherever you’re going. In some cases, it may be prudent to invest in a temporary international travel plan, as this may lead to lower charges overall.

International travel plans allow you to utilize your phone’s apps, texting, maps, and other online features without having to pay for roaming rates. An international plan is a service that lets you use your phone in other countries. For instance, while most Verizon phones are global devices, some are not. If you have a Verizon plan, you can use the international trip planner to determine what you’ll need to do to have access to data when you’ll need it.

International cell phone plans can be purchased as a month-to-month plan, on a “pay as you go” basis, or as an international day pass (in which you receive a set amount of data each day). An example of the latter is Verizon’s TravelPass, which generally incurs a fee of $10 a day per line. Weigh your options to find a plan that is compatible with your device, meets your data needs, and provides a good value.

Check Your Phone’s Band and Frequency Ranges

In some instances, your mobile carrier will be unable to provide service to you at your travel destination — or the service you get may leave something to be desired. In these cases, you may need to bring your unlocked phone to a new carrier on a short-term basis.

Unfortunately, this can be complicated by your phone’s band and frequency ranges. But what do these terms mean? Let’s take a step back. Frequencies refer to vibrations in a medium. In simple terms, your phone’s frequency is the wavelength on which it is transmitting information. This is important to prevent interference from different carriers. If you’ve ever heard static on the radio or seen odd visual artifacts while watching satellite TV, you’ve experienced interference. Your phone would suffer from similar issues if it wasn’t for the way cell phones handle frequencies.

Accordingly, each mobile provider operates on different frequencies and bands (ranges of frequencies). If your phone’s frequency or band is incompatible with those that a carrier is operating on, you will not be able to use that device with that carrier.

You can determine your phone’s frequency band by contacting your current mobile carrier. With this information, review the following carrier frequencies and bands to determine which carriers are compatible with your mobile device:

GSM/HSPA/HSPA+ 1900 MHz, 1700/2100 MHz

The bolded bands represent each carrier’s “main bands.” Note that the device must be compatible with at least one main band to work on the network. If your device has many frequencies/bands in common with your carrier, you will experience superior service.

Unlock Your Mobile Device

Frequencies and bands aren’t the only restrictions to consider; there is also the issue of locked devices. A locked mobile phone is one that has a software lock on it, preventing you from using it on another carrier’s network. An unlocked device is simply one that lacks this restriction.

A locked phone might be less-than-ideal for international travel. If you’ll be going to an area without adequate service from your carrier, you may need to temporarily switch carriers. With a locked phone, however, this is not possible.

If you need to switch providers to get service in a specific area, you can either buy an unlocked phone or take measures to unlock your current device. If you own your phone, most carriers are willing to unlock your phone. In some cases, this is done automatically. With Verizon, devices are unlocked automatically 60 days after the date of purchase.

Rent or Purchase a Prepaid International Phone

Some service providers offer prepaid international plans with phones that are already unlocked and ready for use abroad. These come in many flavors, from those with unlimited long distance calls to those with standard pay-per-minute options.

Additionally, some U.S. mobile carriers and other national services have phone rental programs. Check first with your service provider, as you may be able to get a discount on a rental device for already being a loyal customer. Note that you may also be able to rent a local cell phone at your travel destination, though this tends to be a more expensive option.

Replace Your SIM Card

A SIM (subscriber identity module) card is a tiny memory chip that stores data about your cell phone use. A SIM card also stores data on its country of origin and the mobile carrier you use. These can be easily transferred from one mobile device to another, which makes switching mobile devices for international travel a simple process. They come in three different types: standard, micro, and nano. If you need to change devices and have a compatibility issue due to each device using a different type, you can use a SIM card adapter or consult your carrier for assistance.

By moving your SIM card to a new device, you are able to make and receive calls and texts with that device, as well as access cellular data. If you move your SIM card to a new device, your phone number will move over to the device that you put it in. Your old device will lose much of its functionality until the SIM card is returned to it.

Alternatively, you can get a local SIM card, which means you will also get a local phone number. Getting a card from a local- or country-specific provider may be necessary to use the device, depending on your destination.

Avoid Data Roaming and Other Charges

When you use data on your mobile network while abroad, you are doing what is known as data roaming. While data roaming has a bad reputation for causing high charges when used with wild abandon, it can be a useful and convenient tool for keeping in touch with others and using online tools at a moment’s notice.

Before deciding on whether to use data roaming, however, it’s important to do some research and find the right roaming plan for you. Determine if your carrier has any international roaming arrangements to determine precisely how much you can expect to pay for the data you will use.

You should also inquire about possible methods of tracking your data usage while abroad, as this can help you regulate data usage to keep your bill at a reasonable level. Some mobile carriers allow you to set data roaming caps for this same purpose.

If you would like to lean on Wi-Fi networks to keep cellular data charges down, be sure to turn data roaming off in your phone settings, as noted earlier in this guide. This will help you limit roaming charges and any other related fees.

Turn Off Your Cellular Data

Cellular data, also known as mobile data, refers simply to the transmission of data via a cell phone. Excessive cellular data use can lead to high charges on your cell phone bill. Having your phone constantly searching for a familiar network can also burn through your battery. If you opt not to sign up for an international plan, or make other arrangements to be able to use your normal phone while abroad, you likely need to turn off cellular data entirely to avoid roaming fees or data overages, as well as a shorter battery life. To turn off cellular data, go to your mobile device’s settings, then disable any settings related to mobile/cellular data or data roaming.

The key difference between a Wi-Fi network and cellular data use is that the former involves connecting to a modem, while the latter does not. Because Wi-Fi uses an existing network, you won’t need to worry about additional data charges for using it.

Whenever possible, you may want to rely on Wi-Fi connections rather than cellular data, as this will result in fewer extra charges to your account. Just be aware of cybersecurity best practices when accessing public Wi-Fi networks, such as using a VPN for safe Wi-Fi access.

While relying primarily on Wi-Fi may seem restrictive, there are many communication alternatives you can use via a Wi-Fi connection. This includes applications like:

  • Facebook Messenger;
  • Google Hangouts; ; ; ; .

In addition to tools such as these, you can also maintain contact with loved ones via social media apps such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Further, some cell phone providers, such as Verizon, have Wi-Fi calling options, as well as mobile hotspots to enable Wi-Fi access on the go.

Keep Your Phone Charged

Reliable access to the online information and tools you’ll need overseas requires more than just an adequate carrier plan; it also means keeping your phone in working condition. Even the most robust international data plan can be rendered useless if you don’t have methods to actually keep your mobile devices charged.

The first consideration at hand is finding the right electrical plug adapter for your travel destination. There are 15 different plug types, and different countries use varying combinations of these types. Invest in appropriate adapters so that you can reliably charge your mobile devices during your travels. You can find international wall charger kits that can make this a substantially easier process.

Another point to consider is the possibility of bringing an external battery pack to keep your phone charged when you don’t have access to an electrical outlet. Battery accessories come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, including portable power banks and even phone cases with built-in batteries. Keeping one of these on hand can be a lifesaver during your travels.

In Case of an Emergency

A phone emergency may not be as urgent as a medical emergency, but it can certainly put a damper on your travel plans all the same. There are measures you can take to mitigate your chances of experiencing a phone emergency, as well as to be prepared to react quickly when one occurs.

What to Do if You Lose Your Cell Phone While Traveling Abroad

Know what to do if your phone is lost or stolen while traveling outside of your country. If this situation happens to you, do the following:

1. Use Your Device’s “Find My Phone” Feature:

Many devices now come with features that leverage GPS technology to help you find your phone from another device, should it be misplaced or stolen. If your phone is still on, this may be an effective way of quickly locating it.

2. Call or Text your Phone From Another Line:

If another person has your phone, they may respond to a call or text. If you forgot your phone in the hotel lobby, for instance, this tactic may help hotel staff return your property to you. If the person with your phone answers your calls or texts by making demands, report the situation to the local authorities.

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3. Contact Your Mobile Carrier:

A representative from your service provider may be able to guide you through the process of getting your phone back — or at least locking down your device and account so that it cannot be used for unauthorized purposes.

4. Check Your Financial Accounts & Change Passwords:

If you no longer have access to your phone, someone else might. Your phone might be used to access your accounts, from social media profiles to online banking. Take time to change the passwords for each of your accounts. Further, review your financial accounts to determine if your phone has been used to conduct any fraudulent purchases. While this is a time-intensive step, it is a vital method of preventing identity theft.

5. Remotely Erase Your Phone:

Another common feature of modern smartphones is the ability to remotely erase your phone’s memory. This is a last resort, as erasing your phone prevents you from tracking it down through some of the other methods listed above. If you won’t be able to get your smartphone back, doing this step will at least prevent your personal information from being accessed by unscrupulous individuals.

To prevent your phone from being lost or stolen in the first place, be sure to take the following actions before you set off on your travels:

  • Be sure to secure your phone with a lock code. You can access the security settings of your phone to add this. Your lock options and the process for applying them differ from device to device, so it’s important to take some time to familiarize yourself with this process. Doing so can prevent thieves from accessing your personal information.
  • Update your settings to make full use of any “find my phone” or “lost mode” options. While it’s easy to overlook the usefulness of these features, they can be a great help during a phone emergency of this nature.
  • Don’t forget to back up your phone. You may be able to back up your phone’s data on your desktop computer or back up your phone on the cloud.
  • Invest in a wireless phone protection plan. These can help you get a new device quickly and affordably. Contact your mobile carrier to explore your options in this regard.

Who to Call During an Emergency While Traveling Abroad

One preparatory step you absolutely can’t skip is putting together a list of emergency contacts. Each contact should be saved in your phone’s address book, but you should also keep a physical copy of this list in case you are left without access to your own phone.

This list should include family members, friends, your house sitter, and more. If you need guidance when crafting your list of emergency contacts, consider including the following as a minimum:

  • Be sure to secure your phone with a lock code. You can access the security settings of your phone to add this. Your lock options and the process for applying them differ from device to device, so it’s important to take some time to familiarize yourself with this process. Doing so can prevent thieves from accessing your personal information.
  • Emergency lines — “911” won’t work abroad, and many countries have unique numbers for different types of emergency services. You can find a list of emergency numbers for different countries online;
  • Your nearest U.S. Embassy;
  • The local police’s phone number;
  • Your doctor — if you experience urgent medical needs or lose vital medications, you must be able to quickly get in touch with your healthcare provider.

Note that your phone may not be able to make calls to every number on this list. In some instances, you may need to use a local SIM card to make calls to essential contacts. If this is true for you, strongly consider investing in a second line for local use during your travels.

How Do I Use My Cell Phone While Traveling to Europe

Cell Phone While Traveling to Europe – In today’s connected world, it’s more important than ever before to be able to access our network at any time. Fortunately, these days we have plenty of different options, Verizon, T Mobile, AT&T, and Straight Talk.

You can still use your cell phone while traveling to Europe if you plan properly and use all of the tools at your disposal. One word of advice: Don’t just use your plan without speaking with your provider. You could rack up hundreds, or even thousands of dollars in roaming fees. Compare this to something simple like a $10 a day extra fee — just by a bit of pre-planning.

Avoid sticker shock with your next phone bill by being smart and planning in advance.

Many travelers prefer to use their own cell phones while traveling to Europe. Some people even like to bring their other mobile devices for email, communications, watching videos, browsing the Web and so on.

The good news is, it isn’t that difficult to use your smartphone in Europe (or Traveling to Asia) to access the Internet, make calls or text. The following explains everything you need to do.

Cell Phone While Traveling to Europe

Cell Phone While Traveling to Europe

Using My Cell Phone While Traveling to Europe: Talk To Your Current Provider

Your current provider probably has some kind of international plan that will allow you to use your cell phone while traveling to Europe. People go on vacations all of the time, so it is not outside of the realm of possibility that they have some sort of package that would work best for you.

Your Smartphone cell plan provider in advance and speak with them about your options. Make sure that you cancel your international plan when you return home! Tips for Traveling Internationally

How to Use Your Smartphone in Europe

If you are from the United States, Canada, Mexico, or another country, traveling with your smartphone in Europe means additional fees, be it for calls, text or other types of data access.

If you are going to use your own phone, decide first how you intend to use it (for calls only, for text, the web, etc.). You can use your regular plan for calls, text and web browsing, but it will be more expensive.

There are international service plans you can sign up for a lower cost, i.e. flat fee or limiting you to a specific number of megabytes.

Before doing any of these, make sure first that your phone does work in Europe (you can check with your carrier), and then check the international rates.

Before you go to Europe, activate your phone’s international service or call your carrier and ask them to turn on international roaming for data, voice, text or whatever service you plan to use.

Once your phone has been set up, you can access Wi-Fi in Wi-Fi hotspots, which are pretty common in the continent.

What type of phone do I have

The easiest way to find what type of phone you have and what phone model, is to check the settings in your phone.

  1. Go to the Settings or Options menu, scroll to the bottom, and click on ‘About phone’.
  2. The name and model number of your Smartphone will be listed.

Cell Phone While Traveling to Europe and Smartphone Data Plans and Texting

If you want to use smartphone data plans and texting in Europe, keep the following things in mind.

  • First, Europe uses the GSM (“Global System for Mobiles”) system.
  • All American carriers use GSM except Verizon and Sprint that use CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access).

However, this should not be an issue since most smartphones today can connect to both network systems.

European SIM Card

European SIM Card

The easiest way to use data plans and text services in Europe is to use international roaming as suggested above. If you find it too expensive, you can sign up for an international data plan which is something your carrier and other services will offer.

The cost will depend on how you plan to use your mobile device, and it’s certainly going to be more expensive if you’re going to watch movies or YouTube videos.

Plan ahead for e-Learning success as well, including a language while you are on holiday. Even a simple language translator website will be helpful for specific words and phrases as you need them.

Get a Local SIM Card

Depending on where you’re traveling, it might make a lot of sense to get a local SIM card. In order to install your SIM card, you will need to unlock your phone. Many carriers will allow you to do this as long as the phone is paid for.

If your carrier pushes back on unlocking your phone, you can always have it unlocked once you arrive in Europe. There is no real standard of excellence for having your phone unlocked by a local shop, so make sure that you check around and get solid references before you go this route.

Once your phone is unlocked you can use your local SIM card with ease! Make sure that you keep your American SIM in a safe spot because you’ll need it when you return home.

Using a European SIM Card

The simplest and most practical option is to use a European SIM card, and you can get these from various European mobile carriers. In most cases you’re going to have to unlock your phone so it can use the SIM card from other carriers.

The majority of US smartphones are locked, and you may want to get in touch with your mobile company for assistance on unlocking it. If you’d rather unlock your smartphone yourself, download software that unlocks smartphones and use their codes to unlock your device.

There are several services like these available online and the process is fairly straightforward:

  1. Pay the fee
  2. Provide some info about the phone on the website
  3. The service will email you the code to unlock your mobile
  4. Once your phone is unlocked, you can look for a SIM card in mobile phone stores, electronics counters and in some cases, vending machines.

These SIM cards cost anywhere from 4 to 8 euros, and they don’t come with any commitment or contract. If you want a SIM card with data access good for a month, expect to pay around 13 to 25 euros for the card.

Before you buy, take a look at your smartphone and make sure that the card is compatible. Some mobile devices like the iPhone use a different type of nano-SIM card, so make certain the card fits your phone.

Talk to the clerk and check the rates for calls and to and from the European countries you will be visiting. Use the same approach for texting.

  1. Once you’ve got a SIM card that works with your smartphone, ask the store personnel to install it and do a test call.
  2. Turn your mobile on, enter the PIN and if necessary switch the language to English.
  3. Don’t forget to record the PIN number and ask how to check the credit balance.

In some European countries, your SIM card may have to be registered along with your passport for security reasons. Follow the instructions and after an hour or two you’ll be able to use it.

If you run out of SIM, you can get one in any mobile phone store and tell the salesperson how much credit you want. The clerk is either going to give you the credit over the phone or you will be given a voucher with instructions.

Best Data Plan WiFi Hotspot Devices for Travel

Charging Your Cell Phone in Europe

One of the most common mistakes people make is thinking that you’ll need a costly voltage converter to charge your mobile. In fact, the majority of mobile devices, tablets and laptops have battery chargers that can work on 220 volts used in Europe and countries in the world, as well as 110 volts (the US).

Cell phone chargers can work with different frequencies from 50 Hertz to 60 Hertz. Unless your mobile device specifically says to use a converter, don’t use it because it could actually damage your mobile because it already has a converter.

If you want to know if your cell phone has dual voltage capabilities, read the words on the charger.

  • If your cell phone has dual voltage you will see something like “Input 100 – 240V, 50 – 60 Hz.”
  • Then, if your mobile phone is dual voltage, you still need to use a plug adapter, but not a voltage converter.

Before going on a trip, you have to keep in mind that all countries have their own electrical system, and that will determine what type of plug adapters you have to use.

In Italy for instance, the majority of outlets are compatible with two round prongs, but bathrooms have three-pronged grounded outlets.

If necessary, you should purchase a multi-country plug adapter if you’re not sure which type of adapter to use. Better yet, you should research the plug adapters that are used in the countries you’re going to visit. Thanks to the Internet, this should be easy, and if you’re not really sure you can always send an email to the website and get clarification.

If you’re only going to bring a cell phone, a single adapter will do. However, if you’re bringing a laptop, tablet, and other devices, it’s best to have several adapters as your hotel room might only have a few electrical outlets available.

In some cases you also have to plug an adapter into another before you can use it. For instance, you can put plug a two-pronged adapter onto a three-prong European adapter to make it work.

No matter how many plug adapters you buy, make sure the plug fits in properly.

Prepaid Cell Phones in Europe

There’s no lacking of prepaid cell phones in Europe, but when you buy a GSM prepaid wireless and/or a SIM card, make certain call time is included.

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Charging Your Cell Phone in Europe

Charging Your Cell Phone in Europe

If you’re in Germany, you can get a Handy for less than 60 euros which includes a refillable SIM card with prepaid minutes. The set up is usually pay per minute but the cost varies per country.

Almost always, however, it’s cheaper compared to international roaming.

Another option is to buy a GSM phone before leaving for Europe, but if you decide to do this, check the various services online to make sure you get your money’s worth. Once you’ve got your cell phone you can take advantage of the free Wi-Fi available throughout the continent.

Set Up a Mobile Hotspot

If you don’t need to make phone calls, you can always invest in a mobile hotspot. Companies like TEP Wireless, Skyroam, and Keepgo all have mobile hotspot technology.

A hotspot will enable you to log into the internet without using local Wi-Fi. If you want to browse the internet safely and rapidly, a mobile hotspot is really the best way to go. Many accommodations offer Wi-Fi for free, but in hotels there is usually a fee.

The Wi-Fi signal also varies, as in some places it’s great and in others it is less than ideal, which is the reason why many prefer to get a data plan.

Generally speaking, the speed is almost always good enough to send email and browse the web, but it’s not as reliable for watching HD films or video. If you have a dedicated data plan however this won’t be a problem.

All these prepaid cell phones can take advantage of Wi-Fi wherever they’re available, and in most cases, your best bet will be a café. Starbucks and McDonald’s also have Wi-Fi.

You can also get Internet access in popular tourist destinations as well as city squares, some public transit hubs and even trains and buses. In some cases, you will need to register and get the network password to gain access.

As you can see, you can use your cell phone while traveling to Europe in many ways.

With a good data roaming plan plus free Wi-Fi in certain locations, you should have no problem keeping in touch with those around you anywhere they are. Remember, if you have a prepaid cell phone and need more minutes, you can easily buy more airtime.

There was a time when using your mobile device and cell phone while traveling to Europe was expensive, but with all the options now available, you can save money without compromising signal quality.

TEP Wireless vs Skyroam vs Keepgo When Traveling to Europe

One of the first things that you need to consider before embarking on your next whirlwind vacation to Europe is how you will stay connected. There are plenty of providers out there, but TEP Wireless, Skyroam, and Keepgo are the top three choices.

Let’s explore TEP Wireless vs Skyroam VS Keepgo when traveling to Europe.

Keepgo

Keepgo is a fan favorite these days and it’s easy to see why. It offers 4G service that can be used on any corner of the planet, and you can access Keepgo through a variety of different devices.

Get Keepgo SIM cards for your existing smartphone or smartwatch, or use one of their hotspot devices. The data is a little bit on the expensive side, but it is always reliable and you can access it from almost anywhere in the world, making Keepgo a great option for business travelers.

If you need less connectivity and are worried about your pocketbook, the prices might be a little too steep for you!

Skyroam

In the battle of the hotspots, Skyroam clocks in at more affordable but less speedy than Keepgo. It’s a great option for those who want to make sure that they have the internet at their fingers, but don’t necessarily need top speeds.

With coverage spanning the world, Skyroam will relieve you from the hassle of having to tap into unreliable or insecure WiFi when you want to hop online.

It’s a legacy player for a reason, and has amassed something of a cult following since it first came onto the scene. The only real downside is that you won’t be able to get the speeds that you would with a company like Keepgo. If you need service for business purposes, you might be better off looking elsewhere.

TEP Wireless

TEP Wireless has hotspot devices that work with your smartphone or watch. You can also buy or rent a Teppy device, which acts as its own mobile hotspot and lets you get internet anywhere. One of the beautiful things about TEP Wireless is the sheer volume of different options that you have!

When it comes to fast internet, TEP Wireless is a great option, up to a point. They do start to throttle your speed after a certain amount of internet usage, which could become a problem for those who want to use it for business purposes.

As with Skyroam, TEP Wireless can’t compete with Keepgo for the speediest coverage. Alternately, it is a cost-effective option, and TEP Wireless has been around for a long time, so you know that they are a solid company to work with.

So, who wins the battle of TEP Wireless vs Skyroam VS Keepgo when traveling to Europe? It all depends on exactly what you’re looking for from a wireless service provider.

Each option has different strengths and weaknesses, but all of them cover the vast majority of the planet and will work in a pinch if you need wireless service right away.

Find WiFi and Use Chatting Apps

You can also rely on local WiFi for your internet usage. Use caution when selecting which WiFi options you will tap into. Try not to put in too much personal information, especially passport numbers, photos of identification, etc., and don’t access banking data or other sensitive websites when you’re tapped into public WiFi.

Assume that everyone can see what you’re doing because that is probably the case!

There are plenty of chatting apps that allow you to communicate with loved ones back home. Skype, WhatsApp, and Messenger are just a few options.

Public WiFi could be a good option for people on shorter trips who just need a little bit of internet for places of interest, hours of operation, maps/directions, language translation and look up, currency questions, and other general travel information.

FREE iPad iPhone Travel Apps for Your Cell Phone While Traveling to Europe

FREE iPad / iPhone Travel Apps – I’ve had my iPod Touch for about two months now, and I’m falling helplessly in love with it more and more every day. It’s my personal assistant, I use it for just about everything.

From reading books, storing recipes and workout exercises to converting currencies, booking hostels and checking the bus/train timetables.

I suppose you could call me an ‘iPad NERD’ – if there is such a thing…

Yeah, I admit I have also found some awesome applications which ONLY work for the iPhone, so I won’t lie and say I never wish I had one of those as well – but then again I like my cellphone, it’s pink!

Anyways, today I am going to share with you the best FREE Travel Apps out there right now! These are free iPad / iPhone travel apps.

Hostel Hero

This is an application that finds you the best deals by searching through every hostel website, all over the world. You have Hostelbookers, Hostelworld, etc. all in one place. From here you can book your stay from anywhere. I love it, very easy and simple.

Hostelworld

If you are an avid HostelWorld fan and just want to book through them, they have their very own application for you to book your stays.

Stanza

With this on your iPad you’ll never have to carry another of those brick-like-heavy books in your backpack ever again! You can download hundreds (probably more) of books for FREE on your iPad (yes, in all genres).

Every Trail

Finds many outdoor activities (walking, mountain-biking, skiing, etc.) for you to do, anywhere in the world

What Knot

Shows countless types of knots and how to make them step by step, a skill that can be crucial to know when backpacking, camping, or hiking through the jungle etc. Trust me, you never know when you’ll need it!

Skype (only for iPhone):

Now there really is a cheap way for you to call to other countries.

iTranslate

Translates whole sentences into heaps of different languages. The good thing about this one is that it doesn’t only translate to or from English but from all kinds of languages: Hebrew to Korean, or Hindi to Galician, it’s your choice 😉

Spending Light

Keeps track of your spending and income, how much you spend per day/week/month/year, and what you spend it on (food, clothes, entertainment, beer, etc.). It’s really good to keep you from asking, ”What happened? Where did all the money go??” and can help keep you on track with your travel budget.

Convert Everything

Convert Everything is a complete currency converter. What more do I need to say? This way you know exactly how much your paying anywhere in the world and can quickly determine the value.

Kayak

Now you can search for flights and hotels with the best online travel search aggregates right from your iPad!

Lonely Planet

The application is free, and you get a Phrase book and one Guide for free. But the rest you’ll have to buy. But if you plan to bring a Lonely Planet guide, I highly recommend you pay for the digital version and bring it in your iPad. It sucks having all that extra weight when you could have it all in your hand.

Google Earth

I love looking at the earth globe – it really gets me into a happy state. I get so excited seeing all these places I want to visit, all cultures I want to see. So what is better than Google Earth?

Wi-Fi Finder

This way you don’t have to run around all streets and corners desperately looking for a Wi-Fi connection, the JiWire application does the job for you.

If you know of anymore apps which I might find useful on my travels, please link me below in the comments! 🙂

messaging apps for traveling

messaging apps for traveling

Using my SmartPhone While Traveling to Europe FAQ

What should I do with my phone when traveling to Europe?

Your options for being able to use your phone while traveling Europe, including how to see if you can get an international plan, how stay connected to 3G by getting a local SIM card, and why a pocket Wi-Fi device might be a good option.

Europe EU recently ended cell phone roaming and roaming charges. Stay connected while on your Europe trip.

Do I need an international phone plan for Europe?

Unless you travel to Europe frequently and your stays are longer than a vacation, it is simpler, more cost effective and easier to set up your own cell phone with international calling and international data plan through your existing cell phone service provider.

Do US cell phones work in Europe?

If you have an iPhone 4s or newer, then yes. But you still need an international roaming plan from your SmartPhone cell plan provider. If you have an older phone or a non-iPhone, it depends on the phone and your carrier.

Europe uses a cell phone system called GSM (Global System for Mobiles) but Verizon and Sprint use CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access). All the other major US carriers use GSM, so if you use a mobile service provider other than Verizon and Sprint, you should be able.

International Phone Use While Traveling Abroad: How to Use Your Phone Internationally

Technology has made access to information more convenient than ever before. In fact, it’s become so streamlined that we, as consumers, can become complacent. When abroad, it can be easy to forget about the excessive charges associated with data use during international travel. Unfortunately, this mindset could lead to a nasty surprise on your cell phone bill: extra charges equaling hundreds to thousands of dollars.

You’ve prepared your passport, double-checked that you have the proper vaccinations and medical care, and converted some cash to the local currency — so why not take some extra measures to prepare your phone as well? Avoiding an outcome like this requires taking steps to prepare your phone for international use.

Prior to setting foot in an airport, be sure to check with your carrier to ensure that your phone can be used outside the country, discuss potential charges that may apply, potentially look into temporary international travel plans, and more. This guide will provide advice on completing each of these steps, keeping you equipped with the data you’ll need overseas without breaking the bank.

Utilize a Temporary International Travel Plan

Speak to your cell service provider about the best way to handle international travel. Different mobile providers offer varying degrees of coverage in different countries, and it’s important to determine whether your current plan and device will be compatible with the network wherever you’re going. In some cases, it may be prudent to invest in a temporary international travel plan, as this may lead to lower charges overall.

International travel plans allow you to utilize your phone’s apps, texting, maps, and other online features without having to pay for roaming rates. An international plan is a service that lets you use your phone in other countries. For instance, while most Verizon phones are global devices, some are not. If you have a Verizon plan, you can use the international trip planner to determine what you’ll need to do to have access to data when you’ll need it.

International cell phone plans can be purchased as a month-to-month plan, on a “pay as you go” basis, or as an international day pass (in which you receive a set amount of data each day). An example of the latter is Verizon’s TravelPass, which generally incurs a fee of $10 a day per line. Weigh your options to find a plan that is compatible with your device, meets your data needs, and provides a good value.

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Check Your Phone’s Band and Frequency Ranges

In some instances, your mobile carrier will be unable to provide service to you at your travel destination — or the service you get may leave something to be desired. In these cases, you may need to bring your unlocked phone to a new carrier on a short-term basis.

Unfortunately, this can be complicated by your phone’s band and frequency ranges. But what do these terms mean? Let’s take a step back. Frequencies refer to vibrations in a medium. In simple terms, your phone’s frequency is the wavelength on which it is transmitting information. This is important to prevent interference from different carriers. If you’ve ever heard static on the radio or seen odd visual artifacts while watching satellite TV, you’ve experienced interference. Your phone would suffer from similar issues if it wasn’t for the way cell phones handle frequencies.

Accordingly, each mobile provider operates on different frequencies and bands (ranges of frequencies). If your phone’s frequency or band is incompatible with those that a carrier is operating on, you will not be able to use that device with that carrier.

You can determine your phone’s frequency band by contacting your current mobile carrier. With this information, review the following carrier frequencies and bands to determine which carriers are compatible with your mobile device:

GSM/HSPA/HSPA+ 1900 MHz, 1700/2100 MHz

The bolded bands represent each carrier’s “main bands.” Note that the device must be compatible with at least one main band to work on the network. If your device has many frequencies/bands in common with your carrier, you will experience superior service.

Unlock Your Mobile Device

Frequencies and bands aren’t the only restrictions to consider; there is also the issue of locked devices. A locked mobile phone is one that has a software lock on it, preventing you from using it on another carrier’s network. An unlocked device is simply one that lacks this restriction.

A locked phone might be less-than-ideal for international travel. If you’ll be going to an area without adequate service from your carrier, you may need to temporarily switch carriers. With a locked phone, however, this is not possible.

If you need to switch providers to get service in a specific area, you can either buy an unlocked phone or take measures to unlock your current device. If you own your phone, most carriers are willing to unlock your phone. In some cases, this is done automatically. With Verizon, devices are unlocked automatically 60 days after the date of purchase.

Rent or Purchase a Prepaid International Phone

Some service providers offer prepaid international plans with phones that are already unlocked and ready for use abroad. These come in many flavors, from those with unlimited long distance calls to those with standard pay-per-minute options.

Additionally, some U.S. mobile carriers and other national services have phone rental programs. Check first with your service provider, as you may be able to get a discount on a rental device for already being a loyal customer. Note that you may also be able to rent a local cell phone at your travel destination, though this tends to be a more expensive option.

Replace Your SIM Card

A SIM (subscriber identity module) card is a tiny memory chip that stores data about your cell phone use. A SIM card also stores data on its country of origin and the mobile carrier you use. These can be easily transferred from one mobile device to another, which makes switching mobile devices for international travel a simple process. They come in three different types: standard, micro, and nano. If you need to change devices and have a compatibility issue due to each device using a different type, you can use a SIM card adapter or consult your carrier for assistance.

By moving your SIM card to a new device, you are able to make and receive calls and texts with that device, as well as access cellular data. If you move your SIM card to a new device, your phone number will move over to the device that you put it in. Your old device will lose much of its functionality until the SIM card is returned to it.

Alternatively, you can get a local SIM card, which means you will also get a local phone number. Getting a card from a local- or country-specific provider may be necessary to use the device, depending on your destination.

Avoid Data Roaming and Other Charges

When you use data on your mobile network while abroad, you are doing what is known as data roaming. While data roaming has a bad reputation for causing high charges when used with wild abandon, it can be a useful and convenient tool for keeping in touch with others and using online tools at a moment’s notice.

Before deciding on whether to use data roaming, however, it’s important to do some research and find the right roaming plan for you. Determine if your carrier has any international roaming arrangements to determine precisely how much you can expect to pay for the data you will use.

You should also inquire about possible methods of tracking your data usage while abroad, as this can help you regulate data usage to keep your bill at a reasonable level. Some mobile carriers allow you to set data roaming caps for this same purpose.

If you would like to lean on Wi-Fi networks to keep cellular data charges down, be sure to turn data roaming off in your phone settings, as noted earlier in this guide. This will help you limit roaming charges and any other related fees.

Turn Off Your Cellular Data

Cellular data, also known as mobile data, refers simply to the transmission of data via a cell phone. Excessive cellular data use can lead to high charges on your cell phone bill. Having your phone constantly searching for a familiar network can also burn through your battery. If you opt not to sign up for an international plan, or make other arrangements to be able to use your normal phone while abroad, you likely need to turn off cellular data entirely to avoid roaming fees or data overages, as well as a shorter battery life. To turn off cellular data, go to your mobile device’s settings, then disable any settings related to mobile/cellular data or data roaming.

The key difference between a Wi-Fi network and cellular data use is that the former involves connecting to a modem, while the latter does not. Because Wi-Fi uses an existing network, you won’t need to worry about additional data charges for using it.

Whenever possible, you may want to rely on Wi-Fi connections rather than cellular data, as this will result in fewer extra charges to your account. Just be aware of cybersecurity best practices when accessing public Wi-Fi networks, such as using a VPN for safe Wi-Fi access.

While relying primarily on Wi-Fi may seem restrictive, there are many communication alternatives you can use via a Wi-Fi connection. This includes applications like:

  • Facebook Messenger;
  • Google Hangouts; ; ; ; .

In addition to tools such as these, you can also maintain contact with loved ones via social media apps such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Further, some cell phone providers, such as Verizon, have Wi-Fi calling options, as well as mobile hotspots to enable Wi-Fi access on the go.

Keep Your Phone Charged

Reliable access to the online information and tools you’ll need overseas requires more than just an adequate carrier plan; it also means keeping your phone in working condition. Even the most robust international data plan can be rendered useless if you don’t have methods to actually keep your mobile devices charged.

The first consideration at hand is finding the right electrical plug adapter for your travel destination. There are 15 different plug types, and different countries use varying combinations of these types. Invest in appropriate adapters so that you can reliably charge your mobile devices during your travels. You can find international wall charger kits that can make this a substantially easier process.

Another point to consider is the possibility of bringing an external battery pack to keep your phone charged when you don’t have access to an electrical outlet. Battery accessories come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, including portable power banks and even phone cases with built-in batteries. Keeping one of these on hand can be a lifesaver during your travels.

In Case of an Emergency

A phone emergency may not be as urgent as a medical emergency, but it can certainly put a damper on your travel plans all the same. There are measures you can take to mitigate your chances of experiencing a phone emergency, as well as to be prepared to react quickly when one occurs.

What to Do if You Lose Your Cell Phone While Traveling Abroad

Know what to do if your phone is lost or stolen while traveling outside of your country. If this situation happens to you, do the following:

1. Use Your Device’s “Find My Phone” Feature:

Many devices now come with features that leverage GPS technology to help you find your phone from another device, should it be misplaced or stolen. If your phone is still on, this may be an effective way of quickly locating it.

2. Call or Text your Phone From Another Line:

If another person has your phone, they may respond to a call or text. If you forgot your phone in the hotel lobby, for instance, this tactic may help hotel staff return your property to you. If the person with your phone answers your calls or texts by making demands, report the situation to the local authorities.

3. Contact Your Mobile Carrier:

A representative from your service provider may be able to guide you through the process of getting your phone back — or at least locking down your device and account so that it cannot be used for unauthorized purposes.

4. Check Your Financial Accounts & Change Passwords:

If you no longer have access to your phone, someone else might. Your phone might be used to access your accounts, from social media profiles to online banking. Take time to change the passwords for each of your accounts. Further, review your financial accounts to determine if your phone has been used to conduct any fraudulent purchases. While this is a time-intensive step, it is a vital method of preventing identity theft.

5. Remotely Erase Your Phone:

Another common feature of modern smartphones is the ability to remotely erase your phone’s memory. This is a last resort, as erasing your phone prevents you from tracking it down through some of the other methods listed above. If you won’t be able to get your smartphone back, doing this step will at least prevent your personal information from being accessed by unscrupulous individuals.

To prevent your phone from being lost or stolen in the first place, be sure to take the following actions before you set off on your travels:

  • Be sure to secure your phone with a lock code. You can access the security settings of your phone to add this. Your lock options and the process for applying them differ from device to device, so it’s important to take some time to familiarize yourself with this process. Doing so can prevent thieves from accessing your personal information.
  • Update your settings to make full use of any “find my phone” or “lost mode” options. While it’s easy to overlook the usefulness of these features, they can be a great help during a phone emergency of this nature.
  • Don’t forget to back up your phone. You may be able to back up your phone’s data on your desktop computer or back up your phone on the cloud.
  • Invest in a wireless phone protection plan. These can help you get a new device quickly and affordably. Contact your mobile carrier to explore your options in this regard.

Who to Call During an Emergency While Traveling Abroad

One preparatory step you absolutely can’t skip is putting together a list of emergency contacts. Each contact should be saved in your phone’s address book, but you should also keep a physical copy of this list in case you are left without access to your own phone.

This list should include family members, friends, your house sitter, and more. If you need guidance when crafting your list of emergency contacts, consider including the following as a minimum:

  • Be sure to secure your phone with a lock code. You can access the security settings of your phone to add this. Your lock options and the process for applying them differ from device to device, so it’s important to take some time to familiarize yourself with this process. Doing so can prevent thieves from accessing your personal information.
  • Emergency lines — “911” won’t work abroad, and many countries have unique numbers for different types of emergency services. You can find a list of emergency numbers for different countries online;
  • Your nearest U.S. Embassy;
  • The local police’s phone number;
  • Your doctor — if you experience urgent medical needs or lose vital medications, you must be able to quickly get in touch with your healthcare provider.

Note that your phone may not be able to make calls to every number on this list. In some instances, you may need to use a local SIM card to make calls to essential contacts. If this is true for you, strongly consider investing in a second line for local use during your travels.

Source https://www.verizon.com/info/technology/international-cell-phone-use/#:~:text=An%20international%20plan%20is%20a%20service%20that%20lets,have%20access%20to%20data%20when%20you%E2%80%99ll%20need%20it.

Source https://aswetravel.com/how-do-i-use-my-cell-phone-while-traveling-to-europe/

Source https://www.verizon.com/info/technology/international-cell-phone-use/

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