Avoid Crazy Phone Bills When Abroad | Guest Post



ALANNA HERE: If you are like me, you may have heard some pretty scary stories about students racking up extraordinary cell phone bills while studying abroad. Also like me, you may have vowed that this would never happen to you! This is why, prior to studying abroad in Denmark, I got a study abroad plan with AT&T.

This plan cost me $60 a month, but it provided me with peace of mind. I knew that I might be traveling to other places while I was abroad and I loved the fact that over 150 countries were included with this plan. I wouldn’t ever be charged with roaming fees or anything like that because every country I planned on visiting was covered by this plan. I had also left procuring an international phone until the last minute and I was unaware that I could get a simple Danish phone once I landed, but I was still very happy with my decision. This truly international plan helped me a lot when I was traveling alone in Italy and when my friends and I needed directions or information online in other countries.

There was one very problematic thing about this package, and that was a lack of knowledge on my part regarding what this plan covered exactly. Before traveling anywhere I would always double-check that the country was covered by this plan. I never thought to check into cruise coverage. I didn’t even know that cruise plans were something that existed. This was something that I had to learn the hard way. Norway and Denmark are both covered by this study abroad package, so I believed that I could use my phone while traveling on a cruise ship between these locations. While on the ship I even received my typical message from AT&T welcoming me abroad. I had received this message dozens of times while traveling and entering a new country, and there was nothing out of the ordinary in this message to suggest that the data I was using while on the boat was not being covered by my data package.

The only way I found out cruise ship phone packages even existed was by searching them out on AT&T’s website after my data plan was suspended due to high international data usage and I was charged over $600! Nothing in the study abroad package’s terms and conditions specifically mentioned not being able to use my smartphone while on a cruise. It focused more on reminding me that not all countries were covered by the plan, and therefore that is what I had paid attention to. The cruise I was taking was just overnight, and felt more like a fun means of transportation to Norway to me than an actual vacation.

Luckily, my parents were able to explain all of this to AT&T and they got rid of all of these charges. But, in order to prevent another student from experiencing the same fear, panic, and pain that I went through, I thought I would share my story! DO NOT USE YOUR INTERNATIONAL PHONE ON A BOAT.

For more Alanna, visit her tumblr.

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