Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Avoiding Excessive iPhone Costs While Traveling & Other Tips

One of the things I do when I use my iPhone overseas, is send my important itineraries, maps, medical documentations, copy of passport pages, and such to my mac.com account.  Since mac account is an iMap account, I read those emails before I leave, putting them in folders in the mac mail account and I am able to access this information on my iPhone, even if I don't use the phone or have access to wifi. 

I was on a boat in the middle of Galapagos island, I had music from the ipod player, itineraries, notes in my notepad, Spanish lessons to listen to in the form of mp3 podcasts, maps of islands to visit, alarm clock, games,  flight info, etc.  All in one small device, easily accessible. 

I kept the phone specifically set to 'Data Roaming OFF', left it in airplane mode, until I had access to wifi in hotels in Equador and Peru.  I was able to send emails to family from Macchu Pichu.  How cool is that!

Remember that any text messages, voice mail and emails sent by others will be billed to you as data received.  So I always notify my family and friends not to call me or send excessive emails.  So if you have an account that is set for business that you might receive tons of emails on your iphone and you don't want to pay for the ones sent to that account, you should also disable that account on your iPhone while away.

Remember that when using your iPhone in other countries, there will be roaming charges which will  cost you more to make calls or download data. And since the iPhone constantly checks email accounts and can be used to browse the web, data roaming can quickly add up to lots of money.

There are two easy ways to avoid incurring the huge charges that iPhone data roaming can cause:
    •    ATT's Data Global Package
    •    Turn off Data Roaming

The ATT's Data Global Package is designed for iPhone users in over 29 designated countries.  You can check the pricing and availability for the country you will be visiting at this site:


Remember to use WiFi as often as possible, rather than the 3G or Edge network.  Remember also that some countries and areas may advertise WiFi, but the internet may really be a devoted 3G network.

On your iPhone go to 'Settings', 'General', 'Network'.   Set 'Data Roaming OFF'.  This will prevent your iPhone from accessing any cellular network data services, even automatically when you might be unaware of it, if a roaming surcharge would be applied. From this same screen, you can additionally turn off 'Enable 3G'.

At the most extreme, but simpler to do, you can enable the iPhone's 'Airplane Mode', essentially turning your iPhone into an iPod and game machine.

If you intend to leave all of the above options enabled, at least 'disable Push' and 'set Fetch to Manual'. Do this by going to 'Settings', 'Fetch New Data'.

Goto 'Settings', 'General' and Turn OFF 'Locations'.   These changes can reduce usage at least a bit.
Remember, you are free to reverse any of these settings whenever you want the access back temporarily.

You may also want to check  out the Apple World Travel Adapter Kit, to make sure you have the correct plugs for charging your phone in foreign countries.


NOTE: Did you know that you can put the iPhone in 'Airplane Mode', but still use the 'Wifi'? This will turn off the access to phone calls and enable you to connect to Wifi when available. Merely, put in 'Airplane Mode' and then select 'Wifi'.

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