Sunday, December 12, 2010

Keep the Cell Phone bills to minimum during overseas travel ...

After travelling all over the world and trying many different ways to manage my telephone bills and the data plans, here are my findings to manage the costs.

The best scenario is to have a cell phone working on WI-FI all the time. There are many IP based software APPs ( like Skype, Viber, Vonage etc )on the smart phones ( like iPhone or Android based phones and some other smart phones ) that work great and allow you to make and receive calls from anywhere in the world for all most free. Unfortunately, it is not easy to get connected to WI-FI during the over seas travel. So, while we can use our USA based smart phones while they are connected to WI-FI, we need to find other options to make and receive calls from anywhere during our travel. There are a combination of things that I do contain the costs. Some times, there could be more effective ways to handle these issues depending on which country you are located/travelling. Here are a few tips. These are only my views and my experiences. There could be better options that I am not aware of but like to learn. Please comment and share your experiences.

1) MagicJack and a Telephone: I carry this kit all the time with me during my overseas travel. This works best in a scenario where I am near a computer that is connected to Internet. I usually use this when I am in a Hotel Room and my Laptop is connected to Internet. Magic Jack is a small sized connected that gets connected to the USB drive on your laptop. You can plug-in the telephone on the other end. Voila. You now have a telephone working and all your calls to USA are free from anywhere in the World. Click here to learn more about MagicJack.

2) Use local Phone in the foreign country + Call forwarding thru This arrangement works great to receive calls from USA or other countries into the local phone. Here is how it works.

Visit, register and then buy a local phone number in your country. In USA, we pay around .99 USD/month to keep this number. The advantage with this number is that you can forward calls from this number to any international numbers. When I travel overseas, I take a local phone for rent in the air port and then forward my USA cell phone to the USA local number from and then forward the number to the rental cell phone. Make sure that the rental cell phone does not charge you for the incoming calls. Many rental cell phones in many countries do not charge for the in coming calls. So, when some one in USA calls to your USA cell number, that call can be received in the rental phone of any country. What you are paying here is to the for international forwarding. Their rates are quite reasonable for such an international forwarding compared to the roaming charges that we pay to the USA cell phone company. For example, I paid 14 cents / minute when I receive calls from USA to my Japan's cell phone to

This is lot better compared to the roaming charges that I pay to my USA carrier.