Traveling Overseas with the iPhone

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by bendrucker, Nov 26, 2010.

  1. bendrucker macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2010
    #1
    I am going to be in Spain for a week or so in December. I have a question which more frequent iPhone international travelers might be able to help me with.

    When I board the plane from the US, I'll put my phone in airplane mode. When I'm in Spain, I'll turn on WiFi as needed to check email, etc. I can change my voicemail message before I leave to let people know to email me if they need to reach me. I've also moved my business calling over to Google Voice so I can use Skype to make business calls via WiFi and immediately see voicemails left on my business number via email.

    I can't figure out what to do for text messages though. I don't need to send or even receive text messages, but I would like to let people know somehow that they should email me if they need to get in touch. Is there any way to create a text message auto-responder like most email providers offer?
     
  2. samven582 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2009
    #2
    download the app called whatsapp. Unlimited SMS over wifi but the person who you are texting also needs the same app.
     
  3. CosmoPilot macrumors 65816

    CosmoPilot

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2010
    Location:
    South Carolina
    #3
    I travel all over the world. As long as Network Data Roaming is turned OFF, you will not be charged any data fees. You DO NOT have to turn Airplane Mode On.

    As long as the data roaming is turned off, you can receive text messages for free and send SMS for $.50 a piece or send MMS at $1.30 per message. WiFi is free (obviously). Visual voicemail will NOT work without data, so it will not work with data roaming turned off. You can also use the phone (as a phone) for approx $2.00/minute (different country rates apply) if you need to in a pinch.

    Again, as long as data roaming is turned OFF, you are safe from extraneous charges. If you send a text message...you'll be charged. If you talk on the phone...you'll be charged. You won't be able to surf the internet AND any apps that require data will not be able to gain access to said data...so no need to do anything to those apps! However, several apps will give you an error message saying "cannot connect, so turn data roaming on." For those apps, I disable them as to avoid the annoying pop-ups.

    If it were me, I wouldn't worry about an auto respond. If someone sends you a text...it's free for you. Then just email the individual that sent you the text and tell them to communicate that way until you return from Spain. Why do it this way? Because, you want to get your text messages incase of an emergency/important information, etc. Again, receiving them doesn't cost you any extra...only when you send them. So just respond to a text message with a follow on email.

    Hope this helps.

    Cosmo
     
  4. matt78 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2010
  5. LivingLarge macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2010
    #5
    Excellent info Cosmo :). I agree with these methods 100%. Its what I have done before as well, and with no unexpected billing surprises.
     
  6. Rooskibar03 macrumors 65816

    Rooskibar03

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    Location:
    State of Denial
    #6
    To add to Cosmos already good information.

    Perhaps consider adding a small international data package to your account for the month. IIRC they start around $20 or so and will give you a small amount of data in a pinch. You can then remove it from your account when you start a new billing cycle.

    I went to Germany last year and needed a Google map to find our way to the hotel in Munich and few minutes of data I used (forgot to turn off one of my email accounts) ended up costing me close to $70 when I got back. :eek:

    My brother just got back from Italy. He put the 25mb plan on his account and used it once and knew it wasn't going to cost him anything.
     
  7. DanK104 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    #7
    Cosmo gave good advice. I would add that if you follow his advice, and someone calls you, you will be charged at the exorbitant international rates, around $2 per minute. That's why I keep mine in airplane mode. The other choice is to not answer when someone calls... (unless you REALLY want to talk to them!)

    For calling I use my old pre-iPhone phone, which I had unlocked, and buy a local pre-paid SIM card.

    Dan
     
  8. CosmoPilot macrumors 65816

    CosmoPilot

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2010
    Location:
    South Carolina
    #8
    This is not entirely true. If you answer the phone call, then yes you will be charged. However, if you read ATT's website, with data roaming turned OFF, voicemails will not be routed to your phone, so you will not be charged. Instead, voicemail will be routed to the server until you turn visual voicemail back on (turn data roaming on...or connect to ATT's network, i.e, you get back to the States)!

    Again, if data roaming is turned OFF...no phone calls will cost you ANY MONEY unless you answer the call!

    Of note, ATT offers a Global Texting plan at $10/month. This plan allows you to send 50 SMS and/or MMS (which works out to be $.20 per message with no limit if it is SMS or MMS). These 50 messages only apply if you send a SMS/MMS from within a list of 90 countries. So, if you are not in one of the "approved" countries and send a message, you'll be charged $.50 for that message...and it WILL NOT count against the 50 global messages. After you exhaust the 50 global texts from within an approved country, each additional text is only $.40 (SMS or MMS). This plan works great if you send over 20 text messages a month internationally. I recommend checking ATT's website concerning the "Global Text" plan.

    I use this feature when I travel. I typically send 1 or 2 text messages a day letting my wife know what's going on with my schedule when I'm not near WiFi. When I get back to the hotel, I facetime via WiFi for free! :)

    Cosmo
     
  9. ODK123 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2010
    #9
    Sending SMS/MMS/e-mail is all free over Wi-Fi while oversees?

    I've read the thread and possibly the answer to this question is already in here and I missed it or mis-interpeted so I just want to be sure.

    Are you guys saying that when you're oversees and on Wi-Fi that sending SMS, MMS and e-mail are all free of charge as long as you're on Wi-Fi?

    Thanks!
     
  10. iVoid macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2007
    #10
    Yes, if the WIFI you are connected to is free to use you won't incur any additional charges for email. Although MMS and SMS are cell phone messaging technologies, so they don't normally work via wifi (there may be special apps for that though).

    Of course, if you connect to a pay WIFI spot, then you have to pay for the use of that WIFI spot (some hotels, airports, etc. charge for wifi usage).
     
  11. Mliii macrumors 65816

    Mliii

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2006
    Location:
    Southern California
    #11
    Wifi for FaceTime will not cost you anything.
    SMS and MMS without either a hack OR a different program (NOT the standard iPhone SMS/MMS) WILL cost you because they use data.
     
  12. ODK123 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2010
    #12
    Thanks!

    Thanks for the quick response guys. Makes sense.
     
  13. LFSimon macrumors regular

    LFSimon

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Location:
    Illinois
    #13
    SMS has nothing to do with the wi-fi. ATT international roaming charges for text messages only have a feee $0.50, for outgoing text messages. Incoming messages are charged at your home rate so if you have an unlimited text message plan, or are within your home plan text limits, you won't be charged for incoming text messages. If you don't have an unlimited plan and are over your home plan limits you'll be charged for incoming texts at the same rate that you would be charged at home.

    DATA PACKAGES: If you are considering an international data packages be sure to call ATT and have them explain the pro-ration and what you need to do to best match your proration to actual usage at the end of your trip before you discontinue the international plan - it is a little confusing.
     
  14. Cowboy8467 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    #14
    This thread is very timely as I am actually going to be leaving for Spain in a week and will be there for about two weeks. My original plan was to turn airplane mode on as soon as I got there and just use my phone at any wi-fi spots I could find, but my understanding from this thread is that I don't have to do that.

    The reason I was wary about leaving the phone on was because I know that ATT will occasionally use data even when I don't initialize it, like when it's checking email, etc. To be clear, as long as data roaming is off, the phone will not access any data on its own while I'm overseas?
     
  15. bendrucker thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2010
    #15
    I totally forgot about this thread. The responses here are incredibly helpful. I had no idea incoming text messages were free. I'll get an app for sending texts via WiFi in case I need to get in touch with someone right away (or email if it's not so immediate). I can use Skype if I need to make calls.

    As to your question Cowboy8467, with data roaming off you will not use data overseas or anywhere else where you're roaming. You can still be charged for SMS and voice, but I now know from the very helpful info in this thread that you are only charged for outgoing SMS along with voice, not incoming SMS.
     
  16. CosmoPilot macrumors 65816

    CosmoPilot

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2010
    Location:
    South Carolina
    #16
    This is ABSOLUTELY correct! The iPhone has Data Roaming Turned OFF by default. Just double check before you depart for Spain that this is the case.

    Again, if you SEND a text it will cost you. If you make or answer a phone call, it will cost you.

    On Wi-Fi, you can access the internet, email, and Facetime for free. Texting does not work through Wi-Fi unless you have some sort of special app that sends the text through the internet rather than the cell tower networks.

    I'm an international pilot and travel all over the world. If you need some re-assurance, please visit AT&T's website. They have an excellent FAQ concerning data charges on the iPhone while abroad.

    Again, ensure Data Roaming is turn OFF....don't answer any incoming calls and don't send any texts and your AT&T bill will be as if you never left the country. You can leave location services on with your camera so it will Geo Tag any photos you take, and you can leave Wi-Fi on as well.

    Cosmo
     
  17. Cowboy8467 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    #17
    Sweet, thanks for all the help guys!
     
  18. PharmDoc macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2010
    #18
    If your phone is UL/JB, it might be easier to buy a prepaid sim over there. That's what I did when I went to the UK. The rates are pretty reasonable and I even added 3G internet for about $15 for the month (from O2). It will save you from worrying about a crazy phone bill and you will actually be able to use your iphone normally.
     
  19. bendrucker thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2010
    #19
    First time travelers should visit the AT&T website to enable expanded international roaming on your account. I arrived in Spain and found I had no service. I went on AT&T's website and added the international roaming feature (no charge), put my phone in airplane mode, disabled airplane mode, and then it connected to the Orange network.
     

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