Traveling Abroad

GLiMKIV

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Sep 23, 2007
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#1
Hello to all! I will be traveling abroad this year and will be taking my iPhone with me. Has anybody taken their iPhone with them abroad before? How did you prevent roaming charges? Were you able use Wi-Fi in Europe? If this is absolutely a bad idea taking my iPhone with me, I wont do it. I don't want to turn out like some others who came back to a HUGE phone bill.

Thanks!
 

IphoneTony

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Gold
Nov 10, 2007
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#2
I believe there is a new feature on the iPhone to prevent those charges check settings
 

GLiMKIV

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Sep 23, 2007
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#3
I believe there is a new feature on the iPhone to prevent those charges check settings
All that I see you can do is adjust the region format and international assist which will only add the correct prefix to us numbers when dialing from abroad.
 

Runamuck

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Jan 30, 2008
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#4
You've several options.

1) Turn off all data/EDGE capabilities on the phone. Don't use them, stick to voice-use only on the iPhone. Go Settings/General/Network and ensure that "Data Roaming" is turned off. By default with 1.1.3, it is. You can still use WiFi and shouldn't incur charges for that if it's truly free WiFi, but increasingly, international sites that offer WiFi do so for a cost. Don't try to do something like use your Tmobile Hotspot WiFi account settings there either...they STILL charge you an arm and a leg.

2) Buy a month-to-month International Data Roaming plan. They come in two flavors....$25 for 20megs, $60 for 50 megs. Then turn on Data Roaming setting SPARINGLY, like maybe once or twice a day. And tell your friends to lighten up on things like embedding pictures in your emails or you'll eat up that roaming plan VERY fast. You don't have to sign a contract for this. Just call AT&T International Provisioning and ask them for details, they will set it up for you.

3) For voice, you can just use your phone as-is, but you'll pay VERY high fees to do so. You can purchase their International World Traveler package for $5.99 a month. That gives you a break on calls, but they are still priced pretty high on a per minute basis.

4) To check vmail, you'll need to dial the 1 key to get into vmail the "old fashioned" way. Check their website for details. Visual Voicemail won't work in most countries.

Really, given the restrictions you'll face with AT&T and their anti-iphone international travel plans, my suggestion is you take your phone with you so you can receive calls abroad, but also pack an unlocked phone and purchase a pre-paid SIM from a store in your destination country. Then take your call, ask if you can call them back, pull out the prepaid SIM phone and return the call. Much cheaper.

To be safe, you can also go into your email settings and turn off auto-check. Keep it on manual while you are traveling, ensuring it only grabs stuff when you want it to and can monitor things. I actually deleted my email accounts off the phone just to resist the temptation to check it frequently (still suffer from Crackberry syndrome). And stay away from Google mapping feature as well....lots of data packets used with that thing. Use WAP sites when browsing whenever you can as you'll REALLY burn the data quickly since Safari is full HTML.

If you can't tell...the iPhone was NOT designed with the international traveler in mind. :(
 

GLiMKIV

New Member
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Sep 23, 2007
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#5
You've several options.

1) Turn off all data/EDGE capabilities on the phone. Don't use them, stick to voice-use only on the iPhone. Go Settings/General/Network and ensure that "Data Roaming" is turned off. By default with 1.1.3, it is. You can still use WiFi and shouldn't incur charges for that if it's truly free WiFi, but increasingly, international sites that offer WiFi do so for a cost. Don't try to do something like use your Tmobile Hotspot WiFi account settings there either...they STILL charge you an arm and a leg.

2) Buy a month-to-month International Data Roaming plan. They come in two flavors....$25 for 20megs, $60 for 50 megs. Then turn on Data Roaming setting SPARINGLY, like maybe once or twice a day. And tell your friends to lighten up on things like embedding pictures in your emails or you'll eat up that roaming plan VERY fast. You don't have to sign a contract for this. Just call AT&T International Provisioning and ask them for details, they will set it up for you.

3) For voice, you can just use your phone as-is, but you'll pay VERY high fees to do so. You can purchase their International World Traveler package for $5.99 a month. That gives you a break on calls, but they are still priced pretty high on a per minute basis.

4) To check vmail, you'll need to dial the 1 key to get into vmail the "old fashioned" way. Check their website for details. Visual Voicemail won't work in most countries.

Really, given the restrictions you'll face with AT&T and their anti-iphone international travel plans, my suggestion is you take your phone with you so you can receive calls abroad, but also pack an unlocked phone and purchase a pre-paid SIM from a store in your destination country. Then take your call, ask if you can call them back, pull out the prepaid SIM phone and return the call. Much cheaper.

To be safe, you can also go into your email settings and turn off auto-check. Keep it on manual while you are traveling, ensuring it only grabs stuff when you want it to and can monitor things. I actually deleted my email accounts off the phone just to resist the temptation to check it frequently (still suffer from Crackberry syndrome). And stay away from Google mapping feature as well....lots of data packets used with that thing. Use WAP sites when browsing whenever you can as you'll REALLY burn the data quickly since Safari is full HTML.

If you can't tell...the iPhone was NOT designed with the international traveler in mind. :(
This is great information! I will probably end up doing the pre-paid purchase that way. This way I can at least receive a call if needed. I will follow your advise and just turn off email all together. I wont be using the internet often their/wi-fi because I'll be busy doing other things. I just want to have my phone with me, just in case if somebody does need to call me. In regards to the pre-paid SIM, are you saying to get one in the country and take the SIM card out and use that in my iPhone?

Thanks a lot!
 

Runamuck

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Jan 30, 2008
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#6
This is great information! I will probably end up doing the pre-paid purchase that way. This way I can at least receive a call if needed. I will follow your advise and just turn off email all together. I wont be using the internet often their/wi-fi because I'll be busy doing other things. I just want to have my phone with me, just in case if somebody does need to call me. In regards to the pre-paid SIM, are you saying to get one in the country and take the SIM card out and use that in my iPhone?

Thanks a lot!
You are welcome.

And just to be clear:

Unless you have unlocked your iPhone so that it can take any SIM here in the US, putting in a pre-paid SIM won't do you any good. What I meant was taking a NON-iphone overseas with you, one that you've unlocked here. Many people (myself included) buy a cheap unlocked GSM phone from eBay just for that purpose. In my case, I use an older Tmobile MDA that I've unlocked. Then I buy a pre-paid SIM when I land (can buy them at the airport if you are in a hurry), pop it in, go through their setup routines and voila...you've got a local-country telephone number that can receive calls and dial out. You can buy pre-paid SIM's on eBay and over the internet also to speed things up, but I usually travel last minute so don't have time.

Safe travels!
 

GLiMKIV

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Sep 23, 2007
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#7
You are welcome.

And just to be clear:

Unless you have unlocked your iPhone so that it can take any SIM here in the US, putting in a pre-paid SIM won't do you any good. What I meant was taking a NON-iphone overseas with you, one that you've unlocked here. Many people (myself included) buy a cheap unlocked GSM phone from eBay just for that purpose. In my case, I use an older Tmobile MDA that I've unlocked. Then I buy a pre-paid SIM when I land (can buy them at the airport if you are in a hurry), pop it in, go through their setup routines and voila...you've got a local-country telephone number that can receive calls and dial out. You can buy pre-paid SIM's on eBay and over the internet also to speed things up, but I usually travel last minute so don't have time.

Safe travels!
I'll look into Unlocked NON-iphones for when I go overseas.

Thanks again!
 
Nov 18, 2009
10
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0
#8
I was in your situation. You can either unlock your iPhone and then you loose warranty or to turn off data roaming, then you can't use most of the applications abroad. The last option is to rent iPhone for Europe. Just search in google rent iPhone.
 

iNinja

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Gold
Aug 8, 2008
3,984
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UK
#9
I really don't see the need for these steps. You have these simple options below.

1) Turn off data roaming. This stops all data through a roaming carrier.
2) If you don't want to use your phone and your jailbroken, just use SBSettings to switch everything off but wifi.
 

GADeputy

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Jan 21, 2008
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Georgia, USA
#10
My wife and I recently went to Germany and Austria for 2 weeks. Since we didn't want anyone to call us I simply took the sim card out of my iPhone. Doing this made sure that I didn't incur any overseas/data roaming charges. Our hotel had free wifi so I installed TextFree Unlimited so I could make free sms texts and then installed iCall so I could make free phone calls via wifi. Worked great.
Don't be surprised if you don't find many places to get free wifi. There weren't a lot of places in Europe that gave it our for free.

You might also want to look into unlocking your phone. I talked to a few people that unlocked their iPhones and used a prepaid sim card once they got there. From what I was told you can pick up a prepaid sim card for pretty cheap at most European cell phone shops.

Another thing that I did which didn't involve my iPhone was to purchase a Magic Jack. Since I also took my laptop with us all I had to do was plug the Magic Jack into my laptop and then use a standard land-line phone with it to make free phone calls to anywhere here in the States.
 
Nov 18, 2009
10
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#11
My friend did not want to unlock his iPhone. So instead he just rented european iPhone from iPhone rental company - iPhonetrip.com.

Then he told me he just copied all content from his old iPhone to the rented iPhone including all applications and traveled Europe with the rented iPhone without any limitations and without roaming costs. So, I guess, it is a good option for people who do not want to mess with jailbreaking and unlocking.
 

jezbiansky

New Member
Jan 2, 2010
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#12
Thanks for all the info. As a regular international traveler with a new iPhone, I really appreciate the help.
 

johnmc

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Feb 12, 2010
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#13
On my last trip to London I rented from www.Fonmigo.com a mobile Wi-Fi. A modem that gave me for $50 1GB of data anywhere in the UK... tuff to beat that.. i really recommend unlocking your phones or taking a mobile wifi...