The American’s Guide to Staying Connected while Traveling

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The rumors are true, roaming charges for European phone plans are a thing of the past.

Unfortunately, for American travelers, it’s exorbitant prices as usual.

So we’ve compiled a brief guide to using your phone abroad and keeping connectivity charges to a minimum.

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Basically, if you want to stay online while abroad, you have three options:

1) Sign up for an international plan with your service provider.

Call your provider (Verizon, AT&T, etc.) and set up a plan before departure. It usually includes minutes and data. As costly as these plans can be, they’re still welcome to the alternative of using your phone and/or data sans intl plan, and being hit with a crazy fee when you come back. Plus tip: If you opt out of international service, don’t forget to disable data roaming!

2) Buy a European SIM card.

This is best if you plan to make a lot of calls, especially if you’re moving around Europe. You can insert these easily in your phone or a cheap mobile throwaway. You’ll have a European number that will have (guess what?) no roaming fees in the EU no matter how many countries you visit. You can pick SIM cards up from convenience stores, airports, or local service providers at varying prices.

3) Stick to Wi-Fi.

This is for all you millennials who stick to IM’ing. 😀 You forego the phone and data and stick to Wi-Fi only. The disadvantage is that you’ll be dependent on a hotspot—so cafés and hotel rooms will be your new friends! Plus tip: you can also use Skype to make phone calls (at a minuscule charge).

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