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Whether you want to just use the Wi-Fi functions or if you want to go to the extent of using an international SIM card, adding international service, or even freezing your service in the States, the answers for how to do it are right here. Traveler B: Going abroad for a significant amount of time and would like an international SIM card to have all the bells and whistles (calling and data capabilities) of the smartphone abroad. Traveler C: Going on either a short or a long trip, and is interested in adding global services to your already existing plan, so that you can just pay a little more to use your phone overseas. You don’t need to do anything special to your phone before you go abroad, unless you are leaving for at least a month.
Step 3: To connect to a Wi-Fi signal, go into your Settings, select Wi-Fi, and select a network. While connected to Wi-Fi, guess what you can do on an iPhone, even if you’re in a foreign country? Facetime: A nice way to chat with family and friends back home as long as they have iPhones and are awake at the same time as you!
You can find a great resource of travel apps here for even more options of what you can do with your phone abroad. The only functions you cannot do with your phone in this scenario are receive and answer phone calls and text anyone who doesn’t also use iMessage. Similar to Traveler A, if you will be gone for at least a month, go online to your account or call your carrier’s customer service and ask them to put your account on hold or freeze, and be sure to give the date of the day after you leave the States for it to take effect. If you purchase it from a cellular carrier, you may be required to show your passport (bring it with you). Some SIM carriers might simply be a better option because they exist in more than one country. Make sure it is the right size and will work for your phone, whatever phone you decided to buy it for. Step 3: Purchase any extra credits or data that might not have come included on your SIM card.
This part is a little tricky for me to write about because there are many different cellular carriers within the US and each carrier’s services and rates are going to vary. I have opted not to get the plan, because I have Skype credit and can make phone calls as necessary through that, and I can still check my voicemail via Skype to see if I’ve received any messages. The point here is that there are possibilities to use your phone abroad just by adding some global services to your plan.
If you opt for this route, I suggest taking care of it before you leave the US, for convenience. You won’t be able to use your dumbphone abroad unless it is SIM card-compatible, and even then some countries are strict about what phones will work with their carriers. Finally, I must throw in a disclaimer that the way SIM cards are obtained and how they function throughout different countries may not be exactly like I have said above. Why is that you have to wait until you reach your destination country before turning on airplane mode?
But you might be happy to know that this complete guide to using your iPhone overseas includes details such that even the least tech-savvy people should know how to use their smartphones abroad if they follow the instructions below. Oh, and for you Droid users out there, I believe you will get the same great information out of this post, but the specific images and instructions are straight from my iPhone, so I apologize but you’ll just have to apply the steps to your own phone, and hopefully you’ll get the same results! If you are not going to be needing your US cellular service at all for a month or longer, I suggest that you put your service on hold.

Airplane Mode automatically turns Wi-Fi OFF, so you will want to go in and turn it back ON. If your hotel or a restaurant provides Wi-Fi that takes a password, you’ll need to get the password from them, then select that network and type in the password to connect. You don’t have to do anything special to make iMessage work, your phone already knows what to do. One of those apps is Voxer, the free app I highly recommend for staying in touch with family and friends across the world.
And of course, you can’t access anything that needs Wi-Fi to function if you’re not connected to a Wi-Fi signal. If this is possible, you may pay little or nothing for the time you are gone, rather than your regular bill amount. These will be available in the same store that you buy your SIM card, and many convenience stores also sell them. For iPhones, make sure your phone is off, take off any case you might have, and find the tiny slot on the side with a little hole in it. If you’re using a card with a scratch-off code, just follow the instructions on the card. You will have a local phone number, and you should be able to use everything on your phone just as you would in the States. However, I use Verizon and can tell you what I know about Verizon, then you can take this and apply it to your own carrier so at least you will know what to look for.
I am currently in Mexico as I write this, and there is a special plan between the US, Mexico, and Canada, which would allow me to pay $15 per month for 1,000 anytime minutes to make and receive phone calls.
Get online and do your research to find out what kind of international services are available to you for a decent price.
It’s a really simple process, much easier than it is to get a cell phone through a major carrier in the US.
You must have a slot for a SIM card to do this (obviously), but Verizon also is able to put a SIM card in your phone for use in the States. The fact that you have a smartphone to begin with should mean that you at least know something about technology, right?
Your only chance to use your phone’s Wi-Fi-capable apps and functions will be when you are connected to Wi-Fi. Any apps that function on Wi-Fi (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Mail, Voxer, etc.) are accessible as long as you are connected to Wi-Fi.
You just call your customer service and ask them to unlock your phone for international use, they send a request to Apple to unlock, the request comes back approved, and presto, your phone is unlocked. Getting one might be as easy as purchasing one from a vending machine like this one in the London Heathrow Airport.
They come in the form of cards with scratch off codes, or it may be an automated system that the store clerk can do for you. Use a paper clip to push into the hole (push hard), and that little tray will slide out, where you can remove your SIM card associated with your account in the States (be very careful not to lose this!) and replace it with your new international SIM card. Usually you dial a number, and a recording tells you what to do, entering your scratch off code to activate your credit.
There is such a thing called Global Services within Verizon, and if you look at the plans and pricing, you will see that it’s an add-on deal that goes on top of your already-existing service.

Most dumbphones in the US are not SIM-compatible, but don’t worry, because your destination country is bound to have many international cell phones for you to choose from for cheap.
Refer to the steps in the Traveler B section for buying a SIM card, and you will just also need to add the step of buying a cheap phone while you’re at it, something to put the SIM card in.
However, this is how it works in most of the foreign countries that I have been to, so I hope you are able to at least get the gist of it, even if you have to figure it out a bit differently in your destination country. This is why purchasing from a third party vendor (like a cellular store or a kiosk at Target) is a better idea than purchasing through Verizon because they won’t automatically give you a phone that uses SIM cards.
If you don’t freeze your account and your phone happens to pick up service in foreign countries (this depends on your carrier), you might be tempted to use apps or answer calls that will sky rocket your bill. If you aren’t picking up any free signals, you’ll want to head to a coffee shop or your hotel in hopes to find one. In most cases, however, you will need to locate a store where they are available for purchase.
Be careful if you are in a country that speaks another language, perhaps ask someone else to help you load your credits to make sure nothing gets lost in translation. It enables you to use your phone while overseas, and it gives you several options of how you’d like to pay for it. The phones will already be SIM-capable and some might even come packaged with a SIM card and credits included. Anyone you text that has blue text bubbles is an iPhone, anyone with green text bubbles is not.
It is pay as you go with SIM cards, so once you use up your credit, you will need to buy more. The only bummer about this plan is that it also costs you 50 cents to send a text, and 5 cents to receive. With my Wi-Fi capabilities, I can still use all my apps for free, as long as I’m connected to Wi-Fi of course. This means that you do not need to have a smartphone overseas, you can still have a regular phone, but the ones overseas will be SIM-capable, and that is the key to using it abroad.
Unless you end up somewhere that has some sort of block or limited use on their public Wi-Fi, you should be able to use your Wi-Fi and apps just as I said above.
On that note, you will still have all your apps on your phone, switching out the SIM is simply switching out the phone number. I do not know for sure if you could still send free iMessages via Wi-Fi or if they will charge you if you have this plan enabled, if anyone has the answer to that, please share in the comments! This means that I could have full use of my phone while in Mexico for just $15 more per month if I wanted to. When you get back into the States, you can go back online and have them reactivate your service. The other option for me here would be to pay $4.99 per month for the use of the phone, and then pay by the minute, MB (data), or text, but I can see that getting expensive quickly.
If this is possible to do with your service, it could save you a significant amount of money that would otherwise be wasted.

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