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Although the idea of taking a vacation is to unplug and not be tethered to your phone or computer, My Vacation Lady knows that being completely unplugged from friends, family and work and social media may not happen for most of our clients.

So what tips can we offer to those of you who MUST stay in touch while on vacation in a destination where you’ll run into roaming or international data charges?

According to Rick Steves, you have 3 options when it comes to staying connected while in Europe:

  1. Use your US smart phone and rack up roaming charges.  This can be the easiest but the most expensive
  2. Get a European SIM card.  If I even knew what that was, it would be a beautiful thing but I wouldn’t know how to take my SIM card out and replace it but this might be relatively inexpensive because you have access to the cheaper European rates.  It requires some shopping around while in Europe and having the right phone to start with.
  3. Use WiFi for calling via the internet.

Using WiFi to make calls

There are some apps that many of my clients and colleagues use on a regular basis to make phone calls from abroad using WiFi:

  • Skype
  • Viber
  • Whatsapp
  • Facetime
  • Google Hangouts
  • Talkatone

All require an internet connection so make sure that you are on WiFi on your phone or tablet.

Get an International Text Plan

If you really need to stay in touch but don’t want to be stuck on the phone, check with your mobile provider about options for an international text plan.  They can be pretty cost effective if you just need to check in for quick updates or messages.  For a flat fee, you might have 50 or 100 texts, which may be all you need.

Don’t Forget

So if you are going to be in a destination, where you will encounter roaming charges, make sure to TURN OFF your data roaming once you get onto the plane and set your phone to airplane mode.  This will prevent you from using getting emails, calls and messages that you’ll be charged for.

For more travel tips, check out My Vacation Lady’s Facebook page.   Every Tuesday, we post our Tuesday Travel Tip.