5 Ways to Use your Phone Internationally (Without Paying for It Later!)

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We all know someone who thought their cell phone plan handled international data and usage one way but were surprised by hefty fees and charges on their next bill.  But Wi-Fi is the answer, right?

We recently met a woman who thought she was on a café Wi-Fi network in Aruba, and texted her family back home. In fact, she held a very full conversation with them, by text. She later discovered, thanks to her phone bill, that the café signal was not strong enough to send her messages, and her iPhone (that was set to “wi-fi assist”) used data messaging to push the messages. It only cost her an additional $258 dollars on her monthly bill.

That’s an expensive price for making sure someone is feeding the cat and walking the dog while she is away.

So how can you save yourself this trouble? First, turn Wi-Fi assist to OFF! In fact, airplane mode is a great idea too. You should also look into these 5 apps.

Skype

Yes, it’s been around for ages, but Skype works! Plus, you don’t need to only use their video chat services anymore! Skype now offers the capability to make free international calls with their “Skype to Skype” program. Each phone is different, but they’ve placed all their app downloads on this page.

Google Hangouts

Have a gmail account? Chances are Google Hangouts may be a great fit for you. Like Skype, Hangouts allows conversations between two or more users, but can be accessed online through the Gmail or Google+ websites, or through mobile apps available for Android and iOS.

Rebtel

Internet-free international calling! But it’s not free… And that is ok. Rebtel allows you to use your phone, any kind, and (magically?) connects it through local phone lines. It saves on costs, but also provides great call quality. Rates are cheap, and by destinations.

Viber

Fairly new to the scene, Viber is a close rival to Rebtel, minus the domestic lines. Viber Out allows you to call landlines as well as cellphones.  There are pay as you go options, or plans too.  With no hidden fees, Viber is great route for calling grandma on her house phone.

Voxofon

Send videos and pictures with Voxofon, no matter what kind of device you or your friend back home may have. Traveling with multiple devices? Calls and texts will automatically synchronize between your devices in real time, so you never miss a thing.

So as AT&T used to say, “Reach out and touch someone.”

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