Digital nomads are the people to turn to when you need an advice on how to communicate to your loved ones when you are traveling the world. Even so, apart from using Skype to make international calls, there are other ways to cut your phone costs while abroad.
Unlock your opportunities
The first step of lowering the costs of having a phone abroad is unlocking it. This will make the phone compatible with any carrier, which is a highly important factor, as the huge fees come from using the phone outside a particular carrier’s area of coverage. With an unlocked phone you are free to use any SIM card and any carrier. This alone gives you more freedom when it comes to picking the lowest cost.
Suspending can be an option
If you don’t want to lose your phone plan back home, you can suspend it for as long as you need or as long as you can. This way, you will be preserving your advantages included in the plan, but you won’t have to pay the fees for something you won’t use.
Tweaking the SIM
With your phone unlocked, you can now put any SIM in it. This is a wonderful option for a digital nomad, because you can research the local carriers and buy a SIM card from a local carrier. However, some carriers will request proof of residence, so make sure to inform yourself about this detail before you leave your native country or current location.
Another option is getting an International SIM card, which allows you to travel with your phone across multiple countries, without switching the SIM cards each time.
How to keep your phone number
All digital nomads want to keep their home number, so you can opt for KnowRoaming, a sticker which applies on your home SIM card and allows you to connect to local carriers in about 200 countries. It may not be the best way to cut your phone costs abroad, but it’s the most efficient way to keep the costs under control and benefit from a lot of goodies. You can also opt for a specific plan with KnowRoaming: the unlimited plan allows you to use free apps, which is another plus.
Apps are your new best friends
Speaking of apps, they are probably the best way to cut your phone costs. Period! You may think making a short call home or texting is not going to hurt, but they will, because they stack up really fast and before you know you have to pay a lot for them.
To reduce the costs, head to a place where the WiFi is strong and use free apps. You can choose between Facebook Messenger, Google+ Hangouts, Skype, WhatsApp or the lesser known Line and Viber.
What about data roaming fees
Apart from calls and texting, push notifications can make your phone bill skyrocket. To avoid them, just turn off data roaming. You will still be able to connect to WiFi and use VoIP services to call your friends, family and business connections.
Another trick to cut your phone costs is to switch to Airplane Mode, which automatically shuts down the data, phone calls and text messages, leaving you with the ability to connect to WiFi and use chatting apps.
Renting a phone?
Yes, there are companies which provide such services to travelers. You call them and rent a phone, you receive it via mail and pay the fee for the time you’re renting it. When you leave the place, you return the phone by mail.
The advantages of this method is you will be able to get a phone with a local SIM card and number, which allows you to direct all your incoming calls you receive on your regular phone to the new one, so you won’t miss anything. Another benefit of this service is that you can rent a satellite phone, which allows you to stay in touch with the world even in remote areas where carriers don’t have a signal.