Phones have become a part of our daily lives. We rely on them for everything. I have an iPhone 5 and use AT&T cellular service. I was grandfathered into an unlimited data plan so they have me until that changes. When you go to Europe (or any place outside the USA) your plan no longer stands. If you have unlimited free calls, that is only in the USA. In Europe you will be charged for all calls made as well as incoming messages even if you don’t answer the call. If the phone is off or in airport mode, then the in coming messages are not charged unless you listen to them. Data is you ability to do internet searches, maps and run your various apps. Your home data plan does not include foreign data usage. You will be charged a hefty fee for the use of data. You can buy a phone plan that reduces the cost of calls. Only do this if you must make or receive calls for your work or an important personal matter at home. You can also buy a data plan. AT&T charges $30 for so many MB of data usage. This can easily be exceeded if you stream video or music or send pictures and videos to friends or Facebook. The experience can end up costing you a lot of money.
OK what to do? I keep my phone in airport mode all the time. If I am at a hotel I either get free wi-fi or I buy it (usually around $10/night). This is much cheaper than the data costs from your phone company. You can keep your phone in airport mode and still connect to wi-fi. There are no additional charges from your phone company. You can also go to a free wi-fi area (like a town, cafe or restaurant). Once you are on wi-fi you can get your email, check Facebook, etc. Avoid texting since that costs extra (except on apple texting to another iPhone – iMSG). Send emails and you can include all the pictures and videos you want. It’s free! I use a Tom Tom app for Europe when driving. It costs a one time $50. It is a great app that does not use the internet. I can keep my phone in airport mode and still get GPS directions. If you have to go off airport mode to make a call, Make sure you turn off data over cellular in your preferences. If not your apps could start using data.
Phones are important in Europe as is directions. If you get lost it is nice to find your way back to your hotel with a GPS app. Make sure you have it in walk mode. Get an app like Tom Tom that does not use the internet for directions. I usually save a favorite for my hotel so I can easily use it when needed. Happy travels!
George & Jo Anne