The world is wide open, and travelers are eager and hungry for new adventures and experiences.
While we want to enjoy our vacations and not be slaves to answering calls, emails and texts it is still important to stay connected for updates on your travel itinerary and plans and responding to emergencies back home.
Fortunately, the internet has been a game changer when traveling and has made it so much easier on many different levels. Besides staying in touch back home, the travel benefits including searching for directions, loading maps, checking transportation schedules, online reviews and making reservations.
Everything is accessible these days. Here is our advice and tips on how to stay connected when cruising and traveling.
1) Turn Phone on for International Calling: Contact your phone carrier to make sure your phone can accommodate international calling and cruising and turn on this option if it is required for the places you’ll be visiting and with your cruise line as appropriate.
2) Temporary Data Passes: Check with your phone carrier about their international data plans for roaming and texting that can range from $5-$15/day and turn on this option for the countries you'll be visiting just in case you need it for emergencies.
You will be able to use your phone just like you do domestically, and all your apps will work on the local cell phone network, but you may get charged some additional international calling rates in addition to the data plan (check with your carrier about this).
I use these data plans often as a backup when free Wi-Fi is not accessible but be careful because even if you just turn on your phone for a few minutes and receive one text you will be billed the day rate for the entire day and over the course of a long vacation these charges can add up.
Suggest going into your settings under cellular data and just turning on the apps you will need when traveling so you don’t rack up excess roaming and data charges for apps you will not need.
Additionally, If you have access to Wi-Fi for most of the day then turn your cellular roaming off for that day and just use the free Wi-Fi as noted below.
3) Use Free Wi-Fi: The least expensive way to make international phone calls and texting is by using free or discounted Wi-Fi. Try to connect with the local Wi-Fi in the airport, hotel, trains, motorcoaches, coffee shops, restaurants, cruise ship or public venues whenever possible. Turn your phone to airplane mode and enable Wi-Fi calling so you don't incur any cellular roaming charges.
We also suggest getting a good VPN (Virtual Private Network App) to protect your privacy when using an open Wi-Fi Network.
4) Get a Local SIM Card: If you will be traveling for some time a consideration is to buy a local SIM card (subscriber identity module) in the country you'll be traveling in. A SIM is a removeable chip inside your phone and lets your current phone work in another country if you bought the phone there with a local number, cheap and fast date and so on.
When you land you will need to go to a local telecom store and buy a temporary SIM and ask them to help you install this. You will need an older phone that is not "locked" (ask your carrier if your phone is locked). Only drawback is you won't be using your "home number" while traveling but will save lots of money.
5) Best Apps to use for Staying Connected over Wi-Fi:
3. Facebook Messenger
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Notes from your travel advisor... more about Dan