With all my years of travel and my constant need to be online, I will now share with you how to save crazy money when you travel to other countries on phone calls and Internet data usage.
There was a time when I travelled to Europe and America, happily using my iPhone and BlackBerry checking emails and websites. When I got back to my home country, I was shocked to see bills totaling more than $10,000! These were mostly for data usage i.e. Internet access! It was utterly shocking what the bills were.
So here are some creative ways to save on these ridiculous data roaming bills. Your local telco will charge you for the convenience of using your local phone but man do you pay for it!
First, make sure you have 2 phones. I have an iphone 4 and a BlackBerry. Let me explain:
I used to use a BlackBerry all the time but the telcos always charge extra for BlackBerry usage. The only benefit that I saw was using BlackBerry messenger. Now with Whatsapp, blackberries and iPhones can communicate. Whatsapp for iPhone is 0.99 cents and free for blackberries. You can download Whatsapp for iPhone from the App store and on the BlackBerry go to AppWorld. For Android phones it should be available on the store as well, just search for it. I am not sure about Symbian and Windows phones.
So after figuring out that using an iPhone or even an Android phone for emails and browsing was cheaper (as you don’t have to pay for the BIS BlackBerry Internet Service) and the screens were bigger to read documents and emails, I ditched the BlackBerry data plan. My BlackBerry is my main local phone with no data plan. I like to use it as the keyboard is tactile and I can still write smses faster with my BlackBerry rather than my touchscreen iPhone. While I do not encourage texting while driving, it is faster and more efficient with a keyboard you can actually feel and you don’t have to look at. You can feel the keys and since it is a QWERTY keyboard, I know where all the keys are by feel. gbwhatsapp
So I keep my BlackBerry as my main phone and my iPhone as my travel phone. Besides, the iPhone has more apps and is much better to play games on!
Now here is the secret. The secret that will save you thousands of dollars while you are in other countries.
First, buy a local sim card that has voice and data, then stick that into your iPhone. Please ensure that your phone can work on any network with any sim card, anywhere in the world.
Don’t answer calls using your home phone. I usually call back using my new local sim card which is in my iPhone, or I send them an sms or text message. They can call my new local number or I can call them using then local sim card in the phone.
Here is the beauty of using an iPhone. With the current os, you can set your iPhone as a wifi router and connect up to 5 devices! So your iPad, tablet and laptop, no problem!!
On android phones, there is a wifi router app on the android store, just search for it.