Should cellular data be on or off when traveling internationally?
If you're relying on Wi-Fi, it's important that you turn off cellular data on your phone, otherwise you may inadvertently rack up international roaming charges. Skype, Google Hangouts and other apps also let you make free video calls with other users over an internet connection.
Turn off Data Roaming or prepare for a trip. Need to avoid roaming charges because you arrived at your destination without an international data plan? Check your Cellular Data options and turn off Data Roaming. In the Settings app, tap Cellular, or Cellular Data, or Mobile Data.
- Put your phone in airplane mode. Only use it (besides features such as the camera) when you can connect to Wi-Fi. ...
- Get an international plan. Every phone carrier offers its customers international plans, which vary. ...
- Buy a prepaid SIM card.
Disable the apps and background operations that use data.
Wait for a good WiFi spot. Turn auto-updating off for your Play Store (Android) or App Store (iOS) or at least set automatic updates to only run over Wi-Fi. Check the settings inside each app on your phone.
Before you get on that plane (or train) to leave the country, turn off both data roaming and cellular data on your phone. This will prevent your device from connecting to towers or networks along your journey, leading to pricey roaming charges from your carrier.
Turn off cellular data completely
This way, no data will be used, and certain apps will only work if you are connected to a Wi-Fi network.
Roaming rates for the countries you plan to visit.
For most U.S. customers, domestic service plans do not cover usage abroad. Rates may be much higher because of additional roaming fees on foreign mobile networks and may vary from country to country and network to network.
The disadvantage is that international roaming data typically entails additional charges to your account that can quickly add up. Roaming on cell phones is simple to switch on and off, and it's always a good idea to double-check roaming costs at your destination before traveling to avoid an unexpected charge.
All of the major carriers (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile) sell international add-ons that allow for voice, text, and data service while traveling abroad. If you're staying within North America—i.e. Canada or Mexico—and have an unlimited plan with one of these carriers—service will most likely be covered over the borders.
Mobile telephone networks differ from country to country, and your phone may be incompatible with the networks in the country you are visiting. Your phone might work for voice calls, but other functions – such as text messaging or sending and receiving data – might not.
Should I turn on data roaming for international?
How to use data, talk, and text internationally. To use cellular data, make sure Data Roaming is turned on in your device settings. To call or send a message to the U.S., dial +1 followed by the 10-digit number.
If you can't get an international plan for your destination, the safest option is to turn off data roaming entirely. In iOS, the toggle switch is under Settings > Cellular. In Android, it's under Settings > Wireless & Networks > Data Usage.