Everybody’s heard that story about a friend of a friend who traveled around Europe for a week and came home to a $1,000 phone bill. Turns out, he wasn't the only one roaming through France -- so was his phone. But what’s the best way to use your smartphone abroad -- to access maps, make calls, get directions to these amazing underrated attractions -- WITHOUT worrying about data usage, international roaming fees, and talk time? Here are five tips:
Sign up for an international plan
All major cell carriers offer an international plan that allows some measure of overseas or cross-border use without having to drop additional cash beyond your regular monthly fee. T-Mobile offers Simple Global ($0.20-per-minute calls and texting/data without international roaming fees in more than 120 countries), AT&T has AT&T Passport (starting at $30 per month), and Verizon offers individual plans depending on the destination. Sign up BEFORE you leave.
Wi-Fi rules the world
Just as you use it at home to avoid wasting your monthly data to stream episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Wi-Fi allows you full access to the web and apps without tapping into even a moment of international roaming. Major brands of smartphone even allow you to operate in Airplane Mode with the wifi still ON -- guaranteeing full internet usage without the danger of data charges.