Using a US iPhone Abroad

Planning a trip away from the US this summer?

Your iPhone can be a handy tool during your travels, but be sure you know how to use it properly abroad, and eliminate the risk of piling up a massive data roaming surcharge.


General iPhone Travel Tips

  • Use Wi-Fi – Using Wi-Fi on your iPhone is free, and is available at various coffee shops, internet cafes, and libraries.
  • Download Apps that Cache – Many apps, including the free TripIt app, cache your travel information, so even when data roaming is off, and when you can’t find a W-Fi network, you can still access travel notes, flight information, and travel guides. Relating to the first tip, you can also download Wi-Fi finder apps that download Wi-Fi locations for your expected destinations.
  • Buy an electrical adapter – This may be part of your travel plan already, but if not, you’ll need an appropriate travel adapter to charge your iPhone.

See the full list of iPhone Travel Tips


Using US iPhone Data Plan Abroad

When traveling abroad, you can either use your data plan while on international roaming (this can be quite expensive, even to check an occasional email), or you can purchase an international data roaming plan.

From the ATT Website – last checked in June, 2010 – here are the international data roaming plans available:

$24.99/month: 20 MB Data Global Add-On gives you 20 MB of usage within more than 90 countries
$59.99/month: 50 MB Data Global Add-On gives you 50 MB of usage within more than 90 countries
$119.99/month: 100 MB Data Global Add-On gives you 100 MB of usage within more than 90 countries
$199.99/month: 200 MB Data Global Add-On gives you 200 MB of usage within more than 90 countries

Roaming overages if you own these plans, then cost an additional $0.005 per KB.

If you don’t buy one of these plans, international roaming rates are considerably higher; usually $0.0195/KB , plus an added fee of $0.99 per minute.

Find the specific cost of roaming by country here

How much does this all cost? A 3 minute video on YouTube can require 2 MB of data, which without a special roaming plan, can cost you $40.