Using an American iPhone in Europe… without going broke
Note: This article was updated in March 2015 with new rates and information.
If you’re an American smartphone user getting ready to take a trip to Europe, you’ve likely been warned about using your phone abroad. After all, phone carriers’ rates for international calling and data use can be confusing, and misunderstanding your usage or phone setup could be a very costly mistake.
I recently returned from two weeks in Europe, one spent in Paris and one in Venice. This was a work trip, during which I visited about 90 hotels for EuroCheapo. I brought along my laptop, but what to do with my iPhone? Was there an economical way to use it in France and Italy? Should I pay for one of the international data packages offered by AT&T (my carrier)? Should I just leave the thing in New York?
Connecting with friends and travel companions is obviously aided by sending text messages. Those, however, don’t always work with American cell phones and, if they do, require international roaming. And if you turn on roaming, you could receive phone calls from home — which will cost you. But I’m getting ahead of myself…
I realized that my iPhone could be handy. But how could I use it without going broke?
After hours of hair pulling and squinting at fine print (and some phone time with Verizon and AT&T employees), we have compiled a list of pointers for American travelers hoping to use their iPhones in Europe.
Our Guide to using an American iPhone in Europe
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