Avoid Roaming Charges When Traveling Abroad

Traveling outside the country can be an expensive advantage. One thing you can do to prevent some unplanned and unexpected expenses is to make sure that you don’t get roaming charges for using your phone while traveling outside of the country.

Roaming charges can be very expensive. I have heard stories about people getting roaming charges for hundreds of dollars. You don’t want to be surprised by a huge phone bill after you get back home from your trip.

I have Sprint as my iPhone service provider. If I travel internationally with my iPhone, I make sure that I read and understand the charges that will occur if I use my iPhone to make calls, check emails or access Internet.

Using China as an example, the international roaming rates in China are as follows according to this Sprint tips document:

  • Voice calls: $2.99/minute for all calls placed and received
  • Texts: $0.50 to send a message; $0.05 to receive a message

To prevent unintended usage and charge, here is what to do:

Turn off voice & data roaming (using other company’s towers)

To block international calls and texting, to prevent roaming charges, do this with your iPhone:

Settings > general > cellular > Roaming (off) > Voice & Data Roaming (off)

Turn off data roaming (for email and Internet access)

Settings > general > cellular > cellular data (off)

Turn off cellular data only when you leave the country, otherwise you can’t access email and Internet while still in the US.

It’s free to use Wi-Fi in other countries, but make sure the cellular data and roaming are TURNED OFF so no charge will occur.

To check voicemail on your iPhone from another phone

It’s free to check voice messages, as long as you use another phone to do it, not your own cell phone.

To check your voicemail from another phone in China,

Dial 001 + your iPhone # ( to do so in the US, just dial your cell phone #), and wait for voicemail to come on

While the greeting plays, dial * , enter your voicemail password (the default password is your 7-digit phone number without the area code, you can change it in Settings >Phone>change voicemail password), and then #.

As you are listening to a message, you have four options that you can perform at any time:

  • Delete the message by pressing 7
  • Save it by pressing 9
  • Replay it by pressing 4
  • Hear the date, time, and number the message came from by pressing 5

For more reading on this topic:

How To Avoid International Charges When Going Abroad

How to Beat Roaming Fees While Traveling Abroad