Your tickets are purchased, your bags are packed, and you’re ready to set out and explore the world. International travel is always exciting, but there are quite a few differences from day-to-day life at home you’ll need to grow accustomed to — potentially including a foreign language, an unfamiliar currency, different rules of the road and more.
One thing you might not have anticipated being different from the usual routine back home is that you’ll see some differences with your Wireless service once you’re outside the United States. Before you go, here are a few tips regarding your mobile phone and your FTC Wireless calling plan:
- INTERNATIONAL DAY PASS: For $10 per calendar day used, you can use your domestic calling plan while traveling in over 100 foreign countries by adding International Day Pass to your plan before you depart. Once International Day Pass is added, if you place or answer a call, check a voicemail, send a text or use data while abroad, you will automatically be charged $10 for that calendar day’s access to your domestic plan. During the same calendar day, you can use your data plan for emails, web surfing and social media, as well as make unlimited calls to the United States and any country included in the International Day Pass plan, plus send unlimited texts to anywhere in the world, all without incurring additional fees.
MONEY-SAVING TIPS: If you’re outside a calendar-day access period and want to avoid using your phone/incurring any charges, be sure to turn off your data roaming to avoid being charged $10 accidentally. Place your device in Airplane Mode — which will keep it from receiving data, text messages or calls — to prevent it from registering on a cellular network and incurring any daily fees.Further, you can save data by connecting to Wi-Fi, especially when sending and receiving large files.
A FEW NOTES: There is no need to remove International Day Pass upon returning to the U.S. — the $10 daily fee is only initiated when the phone is used in another country, and if left in place upon return to the United States, it will remain on the device for use on the user’s next trip abroad. Cruise ships are NOT eligible for International Day Pass service.
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- MAKING CALLS AND SENDING MESSAGES FROM OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES: To send calls and messages from another country, dial “+” followed by the country code, then the local number. (To dial the “+” on most mobile phones, press and hold the “0” key. The country code to dial back to the United States while abroad — as well as to Canada and most Caribbean nations — is 1.)
MONEY-SAVING TIP: If you have Wi-Fi Calling enabled on your phone and are connected to a Wi-Fi network while out of the United States, you can call back to the United States at no additional charge. Note, though, that calls to all other countries, including the one you’re in, will be billed based on your domestic calling plan or international long-distance package, if applicable.
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- CRUISE TRAVEL TIPS: There is no Wireless plan that applies to calling, texting and using data from a cruise ship while at sea. (Standard cruise ship rates are $2.50 per minute for calling, 50 cents per text sent, $1.30 per photo/video sent, and $8.19 per megabyte of date sent.)
But there are a number of steps you can take to reduce your usage and charges while at sea:
- Carefully manage (or even temporarily disable) your apps, especially those related to social media, video chatting and internet-connected gaming, as well as any that use location such as navigation and weather.
- Disable any apps that may be running in the background while you’re not using them.
- Avoid streaming movies, music and videos as much as possible, as all of these are heavy data consumers. Instead, download content to your device before you leave port.
- Disable your email’s auto-check feature by switching your phone’s settings from Push to Fetch. (For more info on how to do this, click here.) Also, try to avoid sending and receiving large email files like photos or videos while on the cellular network.
- Use W-Fi connections whenever available as Wi-Fi usage doesn’t count toward any data limits you may have and does not incur data-usage charges.
- Disable iMessage, along with other calling and messaging apps, as use of these are treated as data rather than texting when you’re traveling abroad. (For more info on how to do this, click here.)
- Turn off data roaming to avoid using any cellular data.
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- FTC PASSPORT: Those who send a lot of time traveling abroad might want to consider one of our FTC Passport packages, which offer our best-ever values for international calls, texts and data. Learn more about our international plans here.