Avoid Data Roaming Fees Cruising – iPhone Edition

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Hi Cruisers, in this episode we take a look at how to avoid international data roaming fees on your iPhone when you cruise. If you are an Android user, take a look at our Samsung Galaxy S5 video: http://youtu.be/v-HJtu-wy90

The first thing we recommend is to call your carrier before you cruise. Tell them where you’ll be going and ask them about their international plans. It might be worth purchasing a very small amount of international data just for peace of mind. In most cases this is a better option than paying roaming fees, but remember, you may have to limit your data usage significantly. When you speak with your carrier about the available options, be sure to ask for international numbers for voicemail and customer support.

So what happens if you do nothing? When you take your smartphone to another country, you are no longer using your carrier’s wireless network. So you’re not using your data plan, and your phone goes into data roaming mode. You’ll have to pay for each megabyte of data your phone sends or receives – and it’s not gonna be cheap – believe me.

The best way to make sure you don’t incur data roaming fees is to turn data roaming off on your phone. With data roaming turned off, your phone won’t be able to connect to any data networks other than those in your country. You won’t be able to get online or check email when you’re out of the country, but you also won’t get a costly surprise in your phone bill. Let’s take a look at how to do that. We’re in horizontal mode to make it easier to view on YouTube. If you’re using an older or newer operating system the process may be slightly different, but the end goal is the same.

To turn off data roaming on an iPhone, do the following:
• Tap the Settings app on your homescreen
• Tap Cellular
• Move the Data Roaming slider to Off (or white position).

If you want to be absolutely certain, you can turn off all cellular data. With that setting on, the only way to connect to the Internet is via Wi-Fi.

To turn off cellular data on an iPhone:
• Tap the Settings app
• Tap Cellular
• Slide Cellular Data to Off

Turning this off means you can’t connect to data networks even in your own country. You can turn of Data Roaming, Cellular Data or both. It just depends on what you want to do. I typically leave Data Roaming off all the time, and turn off Cellular data when I board the ship.

Of course there’s always airplane mode. It’s super easy to turn on, but I’ve had a few incidents with my phone mysteriously coming out of airplane mode, so I’m a little paranoid about it. Keep in mind airplane mode will likely turn off Wi-Fi, but you can turn it back on, and stay in airplane mode on most phones.

To turn on airplane mode on an iPhone
Swipe up from the bottom of your phone, and select the airplane icon.

What happens if something goes wrong, and you run up a massive data roaming bill by accident? Well you’re not necessarily out of luck. I have first hand experience with this, and while it wasn’t fun sorting it out, in the end my carrier did agree to roll back the fees. In my case, I simply called my carrier and explained the situation, but it may be helpful to search the Internet for the best way to contest data roaming fees.

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