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Cell Phone Travel Tips

May 27, 2008
If you are planning a vacation or business trip, whether a quick trip across to your neighboring state or even an extended stay in another country there are a few tips you can follow to not only ensure you have continuous cell phone coverage but to help you manage your roaming bills. Many carriers charge high premiums for calls made while you are out of your metro area, so it is important that you check rates and coverage range with your carrier.

Roaming

Instead of being surprised by high bills when you return from a trip be sure that you are aware, upfront, of the rates your carrier will charge when you "roam" out of your billing area.

International Travel

Your carrier will, most likely, offer an international roaming plan that will allow you to use your cell phone in any country you happen to travel to. Rates for international roaming, however, can run into extremely unreasonable numbers. When traveling internationally consider purchasing a prepaid, or pay as you go, phone or SIM card when you arrive at your final destination. Prepaid local plans will not only save you a lot of money using local rates, but you can also forward your regular "home" cell phone number to your temporary international number; allowing friends and family the ability to easily keep in touch with you.

Unlocked Cell Phones

It is possible to use your own mobile handset with a while traveling internationally; this will save you from needing to buy a phone with your prepaid plan. If your phone is one you purchased directly from your carrier then it is most likely "locked" to your network. It will not be possible, then, for you to use a SIM card from another carrier. A quick phone call to your provider, explaining to them that you are going to take an international trip, can help resolve this; many carriers will provide to you the "unlock" code so that you can then use your phone on any network. Check with your carrier, also, to make sure that your particular phone will be compatible on the international networks.

Chargers

If you are taking your cell phone with you on a trip, whether for business or pleasure, don't forget to take your charger with you. Packing your wall charger in a bag to take with you will not only help ensure you have continuous use of your phone, but save you from the extra expensive of having to buy a new one while traveling. If you will either be traveling by car or renting a car at your destination consider taking along your car charger. Traveling to Europe you will need to purchase either an adapter for your US wall charger or purchase a European charger for your phone when you arrive at your destination. Consider, also, taking along a spare battery for your cell phone; in case you find yourself in a location where you are unable to charge your phone for an extended period of time.

Local Time

Most carriers in North America will automatically update the time on your phone when you arrive at your destination. If you are traveling out of the country your phone will "piggy back" on a local network and most likely update its date and time. However, it is a good idea to check that the date and time on your phone are correct when you arrive.
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