Recently we’ve been telling you all about the varying costs of using your mobile abroad. While the same basic principles about phone usage on your travels apply everywhere, each part of the world has different options, rules and things that you can do to keep the size of your bill down. You may well have read our guide to roaming in Africa and Asia and picked up some useful hints on the most cost-effective way to travel with your mobile (we hope they were useful to you!). Now let’s look at how to use your mobile – sorry, ‘cell phone’ when your travelling around the ol’ US of A…
Pick up a pay-as-you-go SIM card
Provided you have an unlocked handset, you can buy a special ‘USA SIM’ which will save you an absolute packet. You won’t have to pay any connection fees, your calls start from only 16p a minute and you won’t have to pay a dime for incoming calls. You’ll also get to piggy-back on the AT&T mobile network – the biggest and most reliable network in the states. It comes in at £25 (with £6 loaded credit), so you’ll probably need to get your money’s worth from it.
Cut down on your internet use
As with roaming anywhere else outside of Britain, you’ll have to pay over the odds for data and downloading. Try to avoid checking your emails too much if your on a real budget. The USA SIM allows you to connect to the internet, though it’ll cost around £3 per MB.
Pick the right network in the UK
If you anticipate spending a lot of time in North America before signing up to a contract, it pays to shop around. Vodafone currently offer the best rates for data roaming outside the EU – It’s only £3 per MB with them. O2 charge £6 per MB, with Orange coming in at a comparatively expensive £8.
Head to mobile-friendly sites
Your phone uses more juice trying to download and deal with larger, more complicated websites. Ease up on the megabytes by trying to stick with mobile-optimised websites if you can (they contain less information for your phone to download).
Most networks offer roaming ‘bundles’ – prepaid packages set up to help your pockets. Find out if yours does and get one.
You can rent mobiles in America that can save you up to 70% of the cost of roaming. If the idea appeals, check out T-Mobile’s ‘FoneRent’ scheme.
Any tips from you lot out there? We (and your fellow readers, no doubt…) would love to hear!Author's Google+ Page