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Cellphone Shot

Cell Phones & Technology

1. Confirm that your phone will work in Europe. Nearly all newer phones work fine abroad (as do older phones purchased through AT&T and T-Mobile), but it's smart to check with your carrier if you're unsure.

2. Research your provider's international rates. Plan pricing varies wildly by carrier. Call your provider or check their website for the latest pricing.

3. Activate international service. A day or two before you leave, log on to your mobile phone account or call your provider to activate international roaming for voice, text, and/or data (whichever features you plan to use), and sign up for any international plans.

4. Cancel international service when you get home. When you return from your vacation, cancel any add-on plans that you activated for your trip.


Tips for Using Data Roaming Smartly


Using data roaming on your cellular network is handy for times when you can't find Wi-Fi. But while convenient, data roaming is also potentially expensive, depending on your international plan rates. You'll want to be conscious of how much data you're using, since you're probably paying for a limited amount of bandwidth. Still, data roaming can be worth it when you're out and about, need to get online, and don't want to waste your

valuable vacation time hunting for a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Avoid using your cellular network for bandwidth-gobbling tasks. Skyping, downloading apps, and watching YouTube all eat up megabytes and can wait until you're on Wi-Fi.


Keep track of data usage. Upon arrival, it's smart to start tracking how much data you're using. On your device's menu, look for an item like "cellular data usage" or "mobile data" and reset the counter at the start of your trip so you can see how many megabytes you've consumed. Some carriers automatically send a text message warning if you approach or exceed your limit and will let you upgrade your package without penalty.

Limit automatic updates in your email and other apps. By default, many mobile apps are set to constantly check for a data connection and update information. You can cut your data use by switching off this feature in your various apps. Start with your email: Go to your device's email settings and change them from "auto-retrieve" to "manual" or from "push" to "fetch". This means that you will have to manually download (or "fetch") your messages when you're on Wi-Fi rather than having them automatically downloaded (or "pushed") to your device. If you receive an email with a large photo,

video, or other file, wait until you're on Wi-Fi to view it.


Other apps — such as news, weather, social media, and sports tickers — also automatically update. On some devices, you can select which apps are allowed to update via the cellular network. It's smart to disable these features in most of your apps so that they'll only update when you're on Wi-Fi.

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