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For those who frequently find themselves landing in foreign locales, you’ll probably understand just how tough it can be to stay in touch with loved ones back home. For one, there’s the time difference. But also, mobile providers simply don’t make it easy (nor affordable) to stay connected once you’re on international lands. Thankfully, the advent of the smartphone is making it a little easier to stay in touch regardless of where you are, but it’s not exactly cut and dry. To that end, I’ve collected a list of my three top tips for messaging apps that can save you a bundle on texting fees – both at home and abroad. Read more
Last week, I took a look at the U.S. mobile phone landscape and how the major players compared when it comes to international plans. The truth is, however, that even the best of ‘em aren’t specifically set up to offer an affordable, long-term solution for those who frequently cross borders but want to keep their smartphones connected. As the business world shrinks and connectivity is expected even in foreign locales, I’ve found a number of loopholes, workarounds, and small businesses that exist solely to serve the smartphone-equipped business traveler.
The first option sounds pretty simple on the surface: pick up a local SIM upon arrival in a foreign country. Each smartphone that can support international roaming has a SIM card slot – either a full-size SIM, a micro-SIM, or in the case of the iPhone 5, a nano-SIM. Most major international airports now sell local SIM cards that will allow visitors to temporarily connect to a local carrier for voice and data, at rates that beat the pants off of roaming with a U.S. carrier. For example, I was able to get a SIM valid for two weeks in Kuala Lumper International Airport for around $30, and it had 2GB of data on it. That was plenty for keeping tabs on work e-mail, uploading a couple of photos to Instagram, and generally staying connected with what was going on in the world. Read more
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