I recently returned from vacation in Western Australia and was able to experience firsthand the iPhone AT&T roaming plan.
Areas of Western Australia can be very remote. When I had service it worked as expected and I was easily able to make local calls. However I only had mobile phone service near the cities and was often without service. To cut down on additional roaming charges I signed up for the AT&T World Traveler and an International Data Package. In addition, I kept data charges low by putting my iPhone in Airplane Mode and using Wi-Fi access whenever possible.
To ensure Wi-Fi access was always available, I brought along an Airport Express Base Station and Ethernet cable to connect to existing Internet connections where I was staying (if they didn’t already have wireless). Below is a checklist of recommendations for traveling abroad with your iPhone.
- Read iPhone Tips for International Roamers.
- Login to your AT&T account online and sign up for AT&T World Traveler. It’s only $5.99/month and will ensure you get the best roaming rates. Although even the best roaming rates are more expensive than home rates so be aware of your calling usage.
- While you're there, also sign up for an International Data Package. I bought the 20 MB package for $24.99/month. It was more than enough. Check your usage as you go (Reset Statistics when you arrive) … iPhone > Settings > General > Usage.
- Keep data charges low by putting your iPhone in Airplane Mode and using Wi-Fi access whenever possible. Optional: Bring along an Airport Express Base Station and Ethernet cable.
- Remember to cancel your World Traveler and International Data Package when you return home! HOWEVER, PAY FOR A FULL MONTH. If you were only traveling for a few days and used nearly a month of service, canceling the service early may prompt AT&T to prorate your fees and usage. This will result in expensive roaming fees and eliminate the benefits of the plans (see reader comment below).
Additional Travel Tips for all Electronics
Keeping laptop, camera, Nintendo DS, iPod and iPhone batteries charged during my vacation was required. Fortunately, all but my camera battery could be charged through USB. In addition, the Nintendo DS could even be charged using the iPhone USB Power Adapter. Only our Flip Video camera required my laptop USB port for charging.
I used the very convenient Apple World Travel Adapter Kit (although it may be overkill if you’re only visiting one country), and not all devices will charge through the iPhone’s USB Power Adapter so test before you leave. Automobile power adapters appear to be universal (though I didn’t test this) so if you’ll be traveling with a car overseas a Belkin auto charger with USB connections could be beneficial. Belkin also has a very cool power strip with USB ports. However, you’ll still need a voltage converter if you plan to bring along this device.
Please contact us with any questions and share your tips for traveling abroad!