Cellular Data and International Travel

International Travel Tips for Cellular Devices

Data usage while traveling internationally is quite expensive. Many people remember to control the automatic download of email but neglect to control other applications on their devices resulting in surprising cell charges!

The following steps help you control the data usage while traveling overseas.

  1. Remember to add an international plan prior to departing if you plan to use data during your travel. Calls received and even calls going to voicemail will cost you.
  2. The best way to control data usage is to set the device in Airplane mode. That will block all calls, text and data but will also severely limit functionality!
  3. Turn off data roaming. This will block email, browsing, and downloads but will not block text messages.
    • iPhone: Settings > General—Network > Data Roaming > Toggle Off
    • Android: Settings > Wireless and Network > Mobile Networks > Data roaming > Uncheck it
    • Windows 7: Settings > Cellular > Data Roaming Options > Select "Don’t roam""
  4. Disable automatic download of email
    • iPhone: Settings > Mail, Contacts Calendars > Fetch New Data > Toggle “Push” to “off” and under Fetch, select “Manually”
    • Android: Settings-Accounts and sync > Manage Accounts > Un-check Auto-Sync
    • Windows 7: Settings > email and accounts > select your account. Choose Download new content and set it to manually. Uncheck all content to sync, then click the checkbox at the bottom of the screen to save changes
  5. Track your usage. Several phones have a data usage tracker. Reset the tracker at the start of your trip and check it occasionally to ensure you aren’t using too much data without your knowledge!
    • iPhone: Settings > General > Usage