Quick and Easy Tips for Cell Phone Use in Italy

Whether or not we want to admit it, as Americans, we rely on our smartphones for virtually everything. Smartphones have transformed the way we communicate, from checking emails multiple times a day to making phone calls and organizing appointments. And when it comes to traveling around in the States we can easily map out directions or find a nearby restaurant with one simple click.

So obviously it makes sense that you would want to use your smartphone while traveling abroad. Deciding how and to what extent you will use your phone out of the country can be pretty confusing. Each phone company is different, with specific phone call and texting rates. Unfortunately, a lot of international cell phone packages can be extremely expensive; and what your cell phone carrier doesn’t tell you, are the ways to make your life easier without burning a hole in your pocket.

iPhone users

Smartphones are a great tool while traveling

The easiest and least expensive (free) solution would be to either cancel your iPhone service or turn your phone onto “Airplane Mode.”

Turning your phone to Airplane Mode simply turns off your phone’s data and phone functionality for the time being and ensures that you don’t accidently use any data. If you are planning to use Airplane Mode you should also manually turn off “Data Roaming” and “All Cellular Data” as an extra precaution before you leave the country. With Airplane Mode activated you will be able to connect to Wi-Fi if available.

When you are overseas, you will no longer be using the cellular data network belonging to your wireless carrier, so it is extremely important to turn off “Data Roaming” and “All Cellular Data.” If you don’t, you will end up paying for each megabyte of data your phone sends or receives. Paying it in this way can be extremely expensive; costing you hundreds of dollars.

Turn off Data Roaming

This turns your cellular network connection completely off, thus you can’t connect to any data networks.

  1. Tap the Settings app on your home screen
  2. Tap General
  3. Tap Network
  4. Slide the Data Roaming slider to Off

Turn off All Cellular Data

Saving money is as easy as one simple click!

Saving money is as easy as one simple click!

This feature is only on iPhones with the iOS 4 update. Now the only way to connect to the Internet is via Wi-Fi, which is completely free.

  1. Tap the Settings app on your home screen
  2. Tap General
  3. Tap Network
  4. Slide the Cellular Data to Off


Look for this logo!

When traveling, it is likely that you will need to get online, and to do this without major data roaming costs you can activate your iPhone’s Wi-Fi Connection and connect to any Wi-Fi hotspot. Now you can email, iMessage, and find directions without any extra charges.

International Data Packages

 AT&T and various other cellular providers offer International data plans for purchase. Know your providers international rates before you leave for your trip. If you decide to purchase an international plan, you can use your iPhone like you would in the States but at a higher cost.


There are also a lot of free apps you can download to your smartphone that allow you to communicate with your friends and family back home. Some of the most popular include Viber, WhatsApp, Skype, and Google Voice.

 Share your experience and tips with cell phone use in Italy!



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