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Have Cell Phone, Will Travel… Without Going Broke

The New York Times has run a genuinely helpful "Practical Traveler" column focusing on the smartest ways to use a cell phone when you're travelling internationally, hopefully without paying usurious fees. iPhone owners in the United States are generally locked into AT&T and its GSM network; that means you can keep using your iPhone when you travel abroad, but you'll need to pay AT&T (rather generously) for a temporary international plan. The article offers practical tips, like disabling 3G and roaming to avoid incurring insane data charges, and relying on Wi-Fi instead. (AT&T's international data plan costs $24.99 for just 20 MB, which I might burn through just checking my email on the first day of vacation.) The column highlights other options, too, such as buying an international cell phone from a company like Telestial or Planet Omni, buying a local SIM card (if your phone is unlocked and you only want to make local calls), or relying on VoIP solutions like Skype.

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