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Best international options while on vacation in Japan?

Best international options while on vacation in Japan?

Hello all!


I am going to be traveling to Japan this month and I will be there 11 days. I want to be able to use my phone to call and text back to the states as well as connect on Facebook, but I would do all of that pretty minimally. I should have WiFi access in a lot of places from my understanding (my lodging and some of the planned activities are on a military base), but I like the idea of knowing that I can be connected even when I am not on WiFi. I have looked a little bit at the international plans, but I just don't know what would financially make more sense: get the international plans (possibly pre-rated since I won't be there a whole month?), just pay-as-I-go or a combo of both?


Also, do I need to do anything with my iPhone 5 device itself to make sure it works abroad? It's compatible with Japan's network, but I just want to make sure I don't need a special SIM card or need to change any settings.


Thanks in advance and any other tips I haven’t exclusively asked for are completely welcomed!

Message 1 of 4
Accepted by Employee (Employee)
Accepted by ATTDelia
‎09-30-2015 1:39 AM

Re: Best international options while on vacation in Japan?

Hello TXCutie785!  Thanks for your post.  I am hoping the following articles will help you!  


Travel Guide or Using Your Wireless Phone or Device Internationally and Important Information When Your Travel to Japan or South Korea 



Please let us know if these articles are helpful and we wish you safe travels!  Smiley Happy ~Delia

Employee Contributor*
*I am an AT&T employee and the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent AT&T's position, strategies or opinions.
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Message 2 of 4

Re: Best international options while on vacation in Japan?

I had already looked at those links, I was looking for more of a compare/contrast.

Message 3 of 4

Re: Best international options while on vacation in Japan?

Looks like it too late for this info to be useful before your trip.  But for the benefit of others:


1)  The plans for calling and texting are significantly cheaper if you buy a package versus per-minute or per-text usage.  Of course, the catch is buying the package that is sufficient for your usage, but not too much, since if "you don't use it, you lose it".


Obviously, I have no way of knowing how much you intend on calling or texting.  But if you just plan to make a few calls occassionally to loved ones, maybe go for the 40 min ($60) plan.  The Global Messaging 200 plan ($30) is probably good for most folks.  But of course, if you are a big talker and texter, then you will want to opt for the more expensive plans.


Also keep in mind that if you have a phone/laptop/tablet that is compatible with Skype or other internet calling service, and you have access to decent WiFi, you can use this to make calls to loved ones while abroad, as long as they setup to use that same service.  This will be free, and a big money saver.


2)  Plans get pro-rated for the time you are travelling.  You can set the plan to start on a specific date (when you leave for your trip), than end on a specific date (when you return from your trip).  Then you get pro-rated according to that time period, as well as the voice minutes, texts, and data getting pro-rated.  So if you sign up for the Global Messaging 200 plan, for example, and have it active for 2 weeks (about half a month) you will get charged $15 (instead of the full $30/month) but also only get 100 texts for that fee.


3)  Data is VERY expensive if you don't get a package.  So absolutely get a package if you intend to use mobile internet at all.  I used mobile data while in Germany on one trip, and just decided to go pay-per-KB to see how much it would cost.  All I used mobile data for, was Google Maps on a few occassions, and checked email a few times, and it racked up a few HUNDRED dollars in fees.  On a package, it probably would have cost about $30.


4)  Be aware that your phone likely is using data, even if you are not actively browsing or using other apps. The phone will constantly check for email, update weather, and other things.  The only way to shut this down is by turning off mobile data (or turning off roaming) in the phone settings (WiFi will still work).  Then turn it back on when you actually want to use your phone on the mobile data network.


5)  Use WiFi as much as you can.  Free WiFi is pretty widelay available in many areas.  Or even if you are in a hotel that charges a modest fee for WiFi, it will still be a lot cheaper than using mobile roaming data on a plan.


6)  This one is very important:  BEFORE you leave on your trip, call AT&T to activate International Roaming.  It is not setup by default (due to fraud potential), and you have to set it up by calling (can't do it online, for the same reason - fraud).  Your phone won't work while abroad, if you don't do this.  Also, don't confuse this with International Long Distance, which is just for calling other countries while you are in the US.  Again, this won't make your phone work while abroad, either.


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