Are you going on a business trip, studying abroad or planning to explore a new city? In these times, if you’re young or old, it is almost impossible to not keep in touch with loved ones. Traveling abroad shouldn’t be an excuse to stay disconnected. Here are 5 tips for using your mobile phone abroad.


Get an International Plan

Every major phone carrier has an international plan available. One of the steps you should make before traveling abroad is to call your phone carrier to see what international plan options are available. A popular plan is T-Mobile’s Simple Choice Plan that gives you unlimited data and texting in 120+ countries and destinations at no extra charge.


Free Wifi

If staying connected while abroad is a must, save some coins and use the wifi available in the area. When planning your trip, choose a hotel or guest house that has free or low-cost wifi available. Some cities even offer free public wifi in malls, parks, libraries and beaches.


Use Messaging Apps

Skype, Group Me and WhatsApp are just some of the many messaging apps that can be used to keep in touch with friends and family while abroad. As long as wifi is available, these can be used without using your data. In a recent update, WhatsApp has added the feature to place free calls with your contacts. How cool is that?


Get a local SIM

If you’re not comfortable using a smartphone overseas, you can have a “travel phone”. Purchase a cheap, unlocked phone and use a local pre-paid SIM card. You still have the option to make calls and text. When minutes are low, you or your family can add more minutes to keep in touch. Rates vary by carrier and country, but there are prepaid services that offer free incoming calls.


Buy a Phone Card

Not everyone has a smartphone and phone cards are still used by many people when traveling. You can use a phone card, allowing you dial the U.S. from a pay phone, landline or your mobile phone. Phone cards can be purchased in most gas stations and convenience stores.

Here is a video from Travel Noire that gives more details:

How do you stay connected with friends and family when traveling abroad?