This text message from AT&T arrived as my flight arrived at London's Heathrow Airport. I'd flown overnight from Los Angeles, and was ready to begin my holiday. I'm grateful for the notice. I called the number and, upon checking my phone settings, realized that I had forgotten to turn my mobile phone off, or put it in airplane mode, and had not turned off international roaming when I slipped it into my carry-on luggage. Even at over 30,000 feet, crossing the Atlantic Ocean, my phone was using billable data. I learned lessons that are worth passing on:
- Turn off mobile phones and other data enable devices when traveling internationally.
- Preserve purchased international data by manually switching on data roaming only when intending to use data. This takes conscious effort, but it's worth it.
- Switch off none essential data-using apps. Assume that everything uses data.
- Monitor usage by checking your online user account. Keep in mind that data usage doesn't update immediately. There is lag time.
- Note that international data packages cover data usage on land, and not on the sea or in the air. So, be warned! There is a separate "cruise ship" package with AT&T.