Setting off on a grand adventure but want to stay connected to to home while you’re on the road? It’s easier than ever with your smartphone in hand, even when you’re halfway around the world! To get the lowdown on using a smartphone abroad we caught up with Anne, Go Ahead’s Emergency Support Manager. Here’s what she had to say about purchasing international phone plans, calling home from tour, and more.
Getting an international plan is easy!
“All major phone carriers offer some type of international phone plan. If your calendar is brimming with upcoming trips, perhaps a long-term international plan is the way to go—you can often just have the extra charges added to your monthly bill. Or, you can do one-off packages based on the number of days of your tour or a certain number of minutes. Your options depend on your provider, and simply calling or going online is the best way to choose the right one for you.”
Data comes in handy on the road
“Most international phone plans cover talk, text, and data, and in the age of smartphones, data is always a plus! Data allows you to use the internet when you’re not connected to Wi-Fi and can come in handy when you’re out exploring. For example, if you want to look up an online review of a restaurant during free time or need directions on Google Maps, having access to your phone’s data is very helpful. It’s not just staying connected with a phone call or text message that’s useful.”
You can add your contact info to your account
“If you have an international phone plan, be sure to put your contact information into your account. That lets the Go Ahead team know that you approve us calling you if we need to offer assistance or confirm safety. It’s really simple: Just log in to your account, click ‘Getting ready,’ and go into the ‘Traveler info form.’ Then, you’ll be able to choose ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ and include your mobile number under ‘On-tour contact information’ to let us know whether or not we’re able to call you while you’re on the road.”
Dialing internationally is simple
“Each country has an exit and entrance code, but you don’t need to worry about knowing the exit code when you’re calling from a smartphone. You just need to dial + (which does the exit code for you) followed by the entrance code of the country you’re calling, and then the phone number. So, if you’re on tour in Europe and you want to call somebody in the U.S. or Canada, you’d dial + and the country code, which for us in North American countries is 1.”
Airplane mode is always an option
“If you don’t have an international phone plan but would still like to use your smartphone without getting roaming charges, you can! It’s as easy as going into ‘settings’ and turning airplane mode on. While you won’t be able to send or receive phone calls without charges, you can still connect to Wi-Fi and use certain apps to communicate with your family and friends. Talk apps such as WhatsApp, Viber, and Zello are free to download and help you keep in touch with people who have smartphones in the U.S. and Canada.”
How do you stay connected while on the road? Tell us in the comments below!