Frugal Travel Tips: Airplane Mode

As an athlete there will be many times you will have to travel overseas for competitions or even offseason vacations. A quick frugal Friday tip when traveling overseas deals with the one thing we can’t live without when you are away from home comfort.

Your phone.

Being in different time zones and miles away you have to keep  in touch with your loved ones and keep up to date through text message, facetime, twitter and Instagram. Snapchat too. Pokemon Go too if you’re a gamer like Olympian, Kohei Uchimara.

I wish I would have written this prior to the Olympics. Oh well $5,000 dollars too late.

Want to know one way to avoid paying the crazy roaming charges or data or 50 cents for every text sent? Put your phone on Airplane mode. Once again, I repeat put your phone on Airplane mode.

Don’t fall for that trap text your phone companies send you when you land in a foreign country about “texts being free.” My buddy Gale Agbossumonde was a victim of that on a youth national team tournament. He swore his texts were free for some reason and I being the frugal athlete that I am, asked to text my friends and family from his phone. Long story short: he still wants me to pay a portion of the absurd bill he got. Sorry Gale, unfortunate.

Pro Tip: Airplane mode on, Wi-Fi on = Good to go!

By putting your phone on airplane mode you are cutting off any chance your phone company has to charge you. Once you are on airplane mode, you can turn your wifi on and and use your phone like normal. Apps like Whatsapp, Viber, and Skype allow you to call via internet access and if you have an iPhone, you can easily Facetime audio/video call with fellow iPhone users. Even with Facebook and Snapchat, you can text, chat, and video call if need be. There’s really no excuses.

The airport will have free access to Internet, your hotel will have free access to the Internet and even some of the buses you will be traveling on. If you are that desperate there’s probably a coffee shop nearby wherever you are at, where internet is readily accessible. And for that one instance where you might be enjoying yourself out exploring while in a foreign country…enjoy that moment and save the phone for your downtime. You can always save the tweets as drafts or upload Snapchats later.

There are other ways to avoid roaming charges and such when traveling overseas but this is the best option for me. Certain phone companies such as T-mobile offer unlimited data internationally which enables you to just disregard my airplane mode tactic. 

Send some of your methods to or tweet them to @FrugalAthlete with the #frugalfriday hashtag and we will be sure to share them!