Sea turtle work takes me all over the world and my iPhone has been a great travel tool. Not only does it let me stay in touch with my family and keep up with e-mail, but I have also used it to look up and book hotels in Australia, France and Spain; navigate roadways around the world; listen to my favorite music and podcasts in Mayumba National Park (Gabon); send images of a charging elephant; take video of hatchlings scrambling down the beach on Lady Elliot Island (Australia) and monkeys stealing food in French Guiana; live stream a presentation by J Nichols; and much, much more.
However, a bit of planning is required when traveling internationally with an iPhone or it could end up costing you a lot of money. I thought I would share some of the tips and tricks I have picked up over the years.
First, add the AT&T MyWireless app to your iphone if you haven't already. That will help you manage your phone's features.
I always have AT&T World Connect and Expanded International Roaming turned on. AT&T World Connect is $3.99 per month and provides reduced rates on international calls from the US. You can also turn it off and on as needed. Expanded International Roaming is free and lets you make and receive calls while traveling in supported countries. You may need to call AT&T support to enable international calling if you haven't done so already.
When I am traveling I add...
AT&T World Traveler - $5.99/mo and gives you slightly reduced per minute rates when using your phone to make calls while traveling internationally. Check AT&T's website to see if your destination is covered. For example, in India normal international rates are $2.49/min, and $2.29/min with the World Traveller plan. So it would take about 30 minutes of phone calls to pay for this feature.
Data Global Add-On - This provides access to data while you are traveling outside the US. There are a number of plans ranging from $24.99 per month (20 MB) to $199.99 per month (200 MB). Check AT&T's website to see if your destination is covered. When I went to Australia I added the 100 MB plan and used almost all of it over a 2 week period, browsing the internet, checking e-mail and using Google Maps to navigate. I will use the 100 MB plan when I go to India this week. The nice thing about having the AT&T app on your phone is that you can upgrade plans if you start to run out.
The key to both of these features is to turn them off when you get home so you don't get charged for extra months. AT&T suggests that you wait until all of the international charges show up on your account before turning features off or you might be charged higher rates. What I do is turn the services on the day before I leave and then turn them off 30 days later right before the next month starts.
Finally, don't forget to put your phone in airplane mode or turn off international data roaming (in Settings) when you are not actively using the phone so that your phone and apps will not secretly consume your data plan. Airplane mode will block prevent the phone from using data and making or receiving calls. Turning off international roaming will turn off data usage, but allow you to make and receive phone calls.
Also check out the iPhone Travel Tips on AT&T's website.
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