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Are you getting ready to travel abroad?  Using your cell phone internationally can get expensive every quickly. Your phone uses data in the background to continually update and data charges add up quickly. The following tips will allow you to minimize costs while traveling abroad.

Change your phone settings
Turning off your data roaming is something simple that can be done to eliminate a huge international data bill once you return home. Simply go into settings, tap cellular and slide data roaming off. You can also turn off cellular data meaning your phone will only work when it is connected to the internet via wi-fi.

Get a SIM card
If you have an unlocked phone, a SIM card that works only in a specific country can be purchased for your phone. Some cards are pay as you go, while some cards are prepaid. If your phone is unlocked and loaded with a SIM card, contact your wireless carrier. You’ll then be given a code to enter to activate the SIM card.

Purchase an international data package
Most cell phone companies offer data plans that have international coverage in the package. Data roaming can add up quickly because of apps and background features that use data. If you plan on using a lot of data while abroad, check with your phone carrier to check out the plans they offer so you do not come home to a large roaming charge on your next phone bill!

Use a messaging app
Apps like WhatsApp and Viber make messaging friends and family easy. The apps allow you to keep in contact with everyone while overseas. The apps are free and connect to wi-fi allowing you to send as many messages as you’d like. Skype is the perfect option when you need to video chat with people from back home.

Purchase an international phone
Sometimes purchasing a specialized international phone while traveling abroad is the best option. An international cell phone will have a reduced data plan and lower international roaming rates. This is a great option if you will be abroad for an extended period of time.

Turn off updates
If you’re using a smartphone, it is constantly connecting to the internet in the background. This allows your phone to be up to date through apps and allows your social feed to be the most current and up to date. Turning off automatic updates through your settings, if you use an iPhone, or through Google Play, if you’re an Android user, will dramatically cut down on additional data usage.