Depending on how far from the western world you are traveling you may find your mobile phone is useful or perhaps invaluable. There are some things you should bear in mind however. Your mobile phone is unlikely to work in countries which do not have significant western influence, for example in Africa. Another issue to consider when moving from Western Europe to the US is that the US operates on a tri-band system, most European phones are only dual band and won’t work in America. Your mobile phone manual and your service provider should enable you to determine if your phone is dual or tri-band.
In order to use your phone abroad you will need to make sure that your operator has enabled international roaming. This is by default usually switched off to prevent thieves from running up large phone bills abroad on stolen phones. If you are on a pay-as-you-go plan you may find that your operator will not offer international roaming features.
Before you leave be sure to check what your operators charges are for using your phone abroad. You will probably find that you are charged twice for text messages and that calls made whilst abroad are significantly more expensive than ones made at home.
This site may be useful to you if you would like to use your mobile whilst travelling. RoamAndPhone.com can help you to significantly reduce your mobile phone costs when you are travelling internationally. They offer pre-paid international SIM with no minimum contract or service charges.
Changing sim or renting a phone
It may work out cheaper for you to buy a local sim card on arrival at your destination, especially if you intend to stay for a long period of time or will be primarily making calls within your destination country. Such a sim card can easily be switched with the one in your phone for the duration of your stay. Some operators such as orange lock their handsets so that they can�t be used with other sim cards. This is done primarily to dissuade theft of high price handsets. You should be able to contact your operator to find out if the handset can be unlocked and how much that will cost. Additionally some independent phone retailers will be able to unlock handsets for you.
Another alternative is to rent a phone when you get to your destination. This option is becoming increasingly popular and most phone retailers will be able to provide the service.
Call barring/ Call forwarding
While you are abroad it is likely that you will be charged to receive incoming calls, you don�t want to have to pay through the nose for one of your mates to phone you up to invite you to the pub so it is wise to bar incoming calls. You have two options here, you can either forward all incoming calls to your voicemail service, you can then retrieve them on your return or you can bar incoming calls completely. In either case simply phone your operators customer service line to get call forwarding or barring activated.
Most phones have a facility to change networks, you can use this if your coverage or call quality has degraded whilst you are abroad. Also bear in mind that some networks charge less for roamers than others so it may be worth checking which network is the cheapest in the country you are going to. Your mobile phone will automatically use the strongest network while you are abroad not the cheapest so you may have to change this setting yourself to get the best value for money. Your handsets manual will tell you how this can be accomplished.
Phone safety and security
Mobile phones are high priority targets for thieves, ensure that you keep yours hidden and out of site wherever possible. Make sure you keep a copy of you operator�s customer service line as well as a record of your phone�s serial number and your mobile phone number. These will be needed to block the use of your phone should it be stolen and should be kept in a separate location from your phone.
General Mobile Phone Tips
Your international access number may be different whilst roaming in other countries, it is advisable to check with your operator what code to dial to make international calls from your destination.
It is a good idea to program important numbers into your mobile phone before you leave, examples might include the numbers of the nearest embassy or consulate, your travel insurance companies number and your mobile phone operator�s customer service number. Doing this ensures that you have all of the important numbers which you might need at your finger tips in case you encounter any problems.
Remember to take a travel adapter with you to ensure you are able to keep your phone fully charged!!
If you are going to any country in the Russian Federation you are required by their laws to register your mobile phone on arrival.
- Oftel advice from Oftel on using international roaming services
- O2 (formerly BT Cellnet) site
- Orange�s site
- T-mobiles�s site
- Virgin mobile�s site
- Vodaphone�s site