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Tips to Avoid Costly Data Charges While Traveling Abroad

Smartphones can make leisure and business travel easier, there’s no doubt about it. But that convenience can come at a high price when you’re traveling abroad.

If you’re traveling internationally for business or pleasure, use these five tips to avoid being welcomed home by a phone bill filled with unexpected data charges.

“Turn off data roaming and push notifications on your phone.”

1. Turn Off Data Roaming 
When traveling internationally, your first step should be to turn off data roaming on your phone. You can save both data and battery by putting your phone in airplane mode even when you’re off the flight. You should also disable push notifications, which use data every time they alert you to a text or call.

2. Use App Alternatives
While contacting your colleagues and loved ones from overseas used to be an expensive process, it no longer has to be. Mobile apps like WhatsAppand Viber let travelers make calls or send texts using WiFi rather than data. Just connect to a secure WiFi network and you’ll be able to make calls and send texts without worrying about using up your data.

3. Cache Maps
If you’re staying in an unfamiliar location, then using a map app to find your way around may seem like a great option; however what many people forget to take into account is how much data map apps eat up. Rather than utilizing map apps on the go, cache a map of the area on your phone so  you can use it without wasting data every time you need to find a coffee shop. Another tip is to look up a map of the location using WiFi at your hotel, take a screen shot of it with your phone and then access it on the go when you need it.

When it comes to finding your way around a new city, you can also save data and time by hiring a black car service. Let the driver do the navigating for you while you enjoy the city sights from your seat.

“GroundLink’s exemplary car service is available in 110 countries,” said GroundLink CEO Liz Carisone. “Whenever you’re traveling abroad, we want to help you avoid the complications of navigating the ground transportation landscape in a foreign country. All of our drivers are experienced and know the best routes to take, eliminating your need to use data to pull up maps on your phone.”

Cache maps on your phone to find your way around while using less data.Cache maps on your phone to find your way around in order to use less data.

4. Purchase an International Plan
Before you go abroad, a quick phone call to your phone provider is never a bad idea. Some carriers offer international plans that could cost less than accidentally going over your data plan. For example, The New York Times reported that Verizon has a global plan that has 100 megabytes of data for $25 a month. While not cheap, it’s a small price to pay considering you’ll be charged $20.48 for a single megabyte if you opt to pay as you go.

5. Buy an International SIM Card
If you’re traveling abroad for more than a day or two, The Huffington Post recommended that international travelers call their wireless carrier to see if the carrier will be able to unlock your phone so that an international SIM card can be used. Once your phone is unlocked, you can buy a new SIM card when you land and switch it out to avoid roaming fees while overseas.

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