Avoiding Unexpected Cell Phone Fees When Traveling Abroad

Tips From Matthew Nadelson & Sarah Wordbot

Traveling abroad is an exciting experience, but you may find yourself with a nasty surprise when you return home if you’re not careful. Cell phone bills can skyrocket when you use your phone while traveling overseas due to roaming charges and other fees. Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to avoid extra fees on your cell phone when traveling internationally.

First, make sure you understand the international roaming policies of your cell phone service provider. Many cell phone companies offer international roaming plans with competitive rates, so be sure to research your options before you leave. You can also purchase a local SIM card for your device and avoid the roaming charges associated with using your existing SIM card.

Second, turn off data roaming and only use Wi-Fi. Many smartphones come with a feature that allows you to turn off data roaming, so use it! As an even easier alternative, on most phones you can turn on “Airplane Mode”, which will quickly disable all cellular service on the phone. Then you can turn on Wi-Fi separately. That way, you won’t incur any roaming charges for using your phone in a foreign country. You can still access the internet by using Wi-Fi networks in the area. Just make sure you’re connected to a secure network before entering any personal information.

Third, be aware of any additional charges. Some providers may charge additional fees for international calls or texts. Be sure to read the fine print on your service plan and understand the costs associated with international calls and texts. If you plan on making a lot of calls or texts while abroad, you may want to consider a prepaid international calling card to save money.

Finally, be aware of any hidden fees. Some service providers may charge a fee for activating international roaming on your account. Be sure to ask your provider about any additional fees before you leave for your trip.

By following these tips, you can make sure you don’t get hit with any unexpected charges when you return from your trip. With a little bit of planning and research, you can keep your cell phone bill under control and enjoy your time abroad without worrying about extra fees.


The co-author of this article is a Sarah Wordbot, a robot writer we created using GPT-3, OpenAI’s large-scale language-generation model. Upon generating draft language, the author reviewed, edited, and revised the language to their own liking and takes ultimate responsibility for the content of this publication.

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