On the Road Again
When you are traveling, especially international, your cell phone bill tends to be less than responsive to the change of location. This is often made even worse with a smart phone that has active internet connections and media. For the iPhone you can get additional international data charges that can really up the price scale, or at the very least make you curb your phone use. There are a number of ways you can help to lower your eventual costs.
Roaming costs a lot of money overall, but data roaming costs even more. Try shutting off data roaming to save money. Do this start by going to Fetch New Data in the Settings section and turn it off. If it is important to keep push notifications on some apps then you will want to go through them one by one and ensure that this takes place, such as with social networking tools. This way you can ensure that only required apps are going in for data roaming. Beyond this, the international data roaming is already going to be off, but the first part will help ensure this.
Try to avoid using the 3G or EDGE networks whenever possible because these will end up costing you more money. Try to go ahead and use Wi-Fi networks when you can, which should be quite often if you are in travel friendly locations. This is especially important for newer iPhone contract holders since they will likely be on limited data plans anyway, but when you are actually abroad the rules are going to change as the data that is approved in your plan is for domestic coverage or in specified locations.
You can try to go ahead and purchase a travel plan, which will cost you more money at first but may save you some in the long run. These range from under twenty-five dollars up to two hundred dollars a month extra, depending on how much use you want. Decide how long you are going to be gone and how much you use your iPhone for internet and applications before you do this. What you will have to note is that the smaller data plans will really only cover things like the occassional checking of email, so you have to decide whether or not it will even be worth it unless you are required to have consistent Internet access for work or similar needs.
The best thing to do is to update everything as much as possible before you leave domestic soil. This means first getting the OS software updated first, then going ahead and getting all current applications up to par. If you want any new applications or music from iTunes this should be done before you go to an international location because downloading them over the 3G or EDGE networks will be an unreasonable amount of data package time. Get you phone where you want it to be before you jump on a plane and hop across the pond.
The only real way to ensure a cheaper option is to forgo your iPhone altogether in many cases. For example, if you are traveling to South Korea you are going to find that you are in a T-Mobile exclusive zone and you will have pricing problems both for phone calls and for data use. In this situation it is going to be immeasurably cheaper to simply purchase a Korean phone for the time you are there and then either save it for a return trip or sell it on eBay when you are finished. You will be in a better boat if you are in international locations that are represented by your service carrier, but even in these situations you are not going to get much of a break on your bill.