Traveling with your smart phone
Who needs a smart phone more than a traveler? To find a great restaurant, get directions, take pictures, keep in touch with friends back home… It’s as if smart phones were meant for travelers! Unfortunately, traveling with your US smart phone can be very complicated and expensive. Call your provider before you go, know your terms and be vigilant about your settings. For iPhone tips, see below. For all other phones, go here.
Tips for traveling with your iPhone
- Call your provider. Consider purchasing an international plan as an insurance policy.
- Settings – As you board the plane, turn airplane mode ON and cellular data roaming OFF. Keep these settings until you get back on US soil.
- Wi-Fi – When you know you are in a Wi-Fi hotspot in France, turn ON Wi-Fi (airplane mode remains ON and cellular data roaming remains OFF).
- Skype –Skype has a free app that allows you to make VOIP calls while in a Wi-Fi hotspot. So cool! You are in airplane mode, but you can still make phone calls.
Get a local phone
If worrying about settings and international calling rates is not your idea of a tranquil séjour, consider using a cheap local phone. A few options:
- Check with the owner/manager of your rental home. There will often be an inexpensive mobile phone for you to use while staying there. You will just need to buy credits (minutes) at a local convenient store.
- Buy a cheap, pay-as-you-go phone when you get to France. Stores are everywhere. Most popular: Orange, SFR and Bouygues. You may need your (temporary) French address, so bring it with you. Ask for “sans atonement et sans engagement” (without subscription and commitment). Phones are about 20 Euros, SIM cards run about 5-7 Euros.
- Rent a phone. I’m sure there are reputable rental companies out there, but I cannot recommend one. Unfortunately, I’ve read a lot of complaints about rental phones not working properly and poor customer service.
More on technology:
Love this article:
How to Avoid a Smartphone’s Bite, by Seth Kugel at NYT