International Traveling: How To Cut Phone Costs

If you have ever traveled internationally, whether for business or pleasure, and talked on your cell phone, you may have received a shock when you returned home. Most people don’t realize just how darn expensive it is to communicate with people back home while they are gone. If you are going to do it via phone, it is going to cost you! But the good news is that there are things you can do to help curb that expense.  

Know what you are up against.  If you want to use your cell phone while traveling, first find out what you will be paying for international calls. Making international calls on your cell phone can range from $1 to $2 per minute, and it’s easy to lose track of the time. So before you go, get in the know by calling your cell-phone provider and finding out what it will cost you.  

Use WiFi connections to make calls.  Depending on the type of phone you have, it may be possible to place free calls and texts if you use the  WiFi connection available in certain spots. In order to take advantage of this, however, the conditions need to be right, including having a  WiFi-enabled phone system and being at a location where free  WiFi is offered at the time you need to take or make a call.  

Screen your calls.  At home, you probably just pick up every call that comes through on your cell phone. But if you are traveling abroad and answer an unnecessary call, you may end up paying a couple of bucks per minute as you try to get off the phone again. If you don’t know who is calling you, or whether or not you need to answer it, let the call go to voice mail and then determine whether you need to call them back.  

Look into the available apps.  There are some apps available that can be helpful for making international calls and saving money. Check to see which ones would work for you and whether it would be worth it. Usually, such apps are under $10 and may save you a bundle in the end.  

Consider using Skype or VoIP.  Consider alternative methods of making calls, such as using Skype or VoIP. With Skype, you can make the calls online or with your phone, and it is much cheaper per minute than using your cell phone. Also, VoIP providers offer a variety of plans that allow people to pay one low fee for making international calls. They are both worth checking out.  

  Respond via e-mail.  If you get a message from someone and you can easily address their issue via e-mail, just respond that way. Most likely you will have your laptop with you anyway, so while you are in your hotel room you can catch up on communication that way.  

MIKE MICHALOWICZ  (pronounced mi-KAL-o-wits) started his first business at the age of 24, moving his young family to the only safe place he could afford–a retirement building. With no experience, no contacts, and no savings, he systematically bootstrapped a multimillion-dollar business. Then he did it again. And again. Now he is doing it for other entrepreneurs. Mike is the CEO of  Provendus  Group, a consulting firm that ignites explosive growth in companies that have plateaued; a former small-business columnist for  The Wall Street Journal; MSNBC’s business makeover expert; a keynote speaker on entrepreneurship; and the author of the cult classic book  The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. His newest book,  The Pumpkin Plan, has already been called “the next  E-Myth !” For more information, visit  

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