International Roaming Charges that Sneak Up on You

International Roaming Charges that Sneak Up on You

We’ve given many tips throughout our Travel Blog Series but here are some that most people aren’t aware of. Star Communications, Inc. helpdesk agents have extensive knowledge on different carriers, wireless plans, and international roaming charges that can sneak up on you. We’d like to share with you how to avoid those types of charges so that you’re prepared for your next trip.

International Roaming (1)

When should I enable/disable roaming or airplane mode?
Switch to airplane mode or turn off your phone when not in use. Carriers like AT&T will charge you for using your phone while on an airplane.

Can I use my mobile devices while on a cruise?
Star Communications, Inc. can often look into whether your carrier covers certain cruises. If not, we strongly recommend turning off data roaming and using secure Wi-Fi as much as possible. You can also enable airplane mode while on your ship. Once in port, if you scheduled a roaming plan ahead of time (which Star can also do for you), it’ll be safe to turn off airplane mode and enable roaming once again.

How often should I check my emails?
If you’re using a corporate phone or are traveling for business, email is often the cause of your data overages. According to Verizon, a 1MB email can cost $20 to download. If the email includes high-resolution photos, it can cost even more. Be sure to set your mail settings to manually “fetch” rather than “push” mail to you, otherwise it’ll run in the background without your knowledge.

What’s the best method of messaging?
An alternative to using email is SMS text. Sending text messages instead of emailing can cut down on data costs if you’re not on Wi-Fi. Depending on your international plan, you most likely will receive unlimited global messaging whereas your data is limited. It would also be helpful to turn off other MMS messaging that requires data: iMessage, Group Messages, etc. We also advise to limit texting any photos, videos, or webpages.

How do I preserve my limited minutes?

Record a new voicemail before your trip
Record a new voicemail to tell people the dates you’re away. Ask them to email you instead or only leave a voicemail if an emergency.

Call Forwarding
Star can look into whether your carrier charges for each call that is forwarded. Some plans might charge per minute. With the green light, we recommend forwarding calls from your cell phone to a voice mailbox not associated with your mobile, then check messages using a landline.

Wi-Fi Calling
If your smartphone has the Wi-Fi feature, Star can check with your carrier to ensure it’s enabled on the back-end. Many think that Google Voice is a wi-fi calling option, but in actuality, the wi-fi calling is still in beta testing and Google Voice actually uses minutes. Another option would be to use Skype.

How do I reduce my data usage?
If your concern is data usage overall, checkout our other blog post Top 10 Tips: Reducing Data Usage. In summary, we advise that you disable automatic downloads and app updates, avoid streaming videos or music, and toggle off cellular data for lower priority apps.

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