Is Your Cell Phone Costing Too Much–Abroad?

It took you a year to plan and budget for that breathtaking and relaxing trip overseas. For once, you returned home in the black with gifts in your suitcase and money in your pocket. So imagine your surprise when a few weeks later, you receive a hefty cell phone bill. What gives?

“If you take your cell phone abroad, you may be charged roaming fees of up to $4 to $5 per minute,” says Sascha Segan, columnist for PC Magazine and Frommers.com, a travel site that gives comprehensive information on deals, destinations, and trip ideas. The best way to avoid such fees, he suggests, is to purchase a Subscriber Identity Module, a removable smart card that you insert in your phone in your destination country or countries. In essence, your phone number will temporarily change to a local number. You’ll receive free incoming calls and pay 10 cents to 25 cents per minute for local calls plus approximately $1 per minute for overseas calls.

To use the SIM card, call your wireless carrier and request a code that will allow you to use the card in your cell phone. Sorry, but you can’t use the SIM card in Sprint or Verizon phones. If you’re a Sprint or Verizon customer, or you don’t want to carry your own cell phone, you can buy an inexpensive European cell phone once you arrive at your destination. To learn more about using your cell phone abroad, visit www.telestial.com.

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