Learn about using cell phone/smart phone and internet while away
When traveling abroad you really need to do your research before you start using a lot of data on your smartphone. The rates are high. Consider that one of the largest carriers charges $25.00 for a 100mb of international data use. For $250 then you can have the use of 1GB. Think about your domestic plan. You may have a plan that costs $40.00 a month for 4GB, but do that in Germany and it could be $1000.00. Just do you homework before you go. Use wi-fi, download maps on Google Maps for offline use when you head out for the day from your hotel. Used with GPS you can always see your relative position on the map without ever having to turn on cellular data. Turn off wi-fi assist on the iPhone, turn off cellular data and only turn it on briefly if you have to look up something while out. If you do it this way you probably can get by with 100mb for a week or two. Carriers offer plans that have base use for talk minutes, text and data for a simple flat rate, but overages add up fast. Certainly streaming video is out of the question and music is hardly advised. Just keep saying to yourself not without wi-fi. Here is a handy data calculator from Verizon that shows how fast certain applications use data:
One tip from Clark Howard is to download Google Maps for your destination onto your smartphone before you travel so that you can have full functionality of the maps in an offline manner so you don’t use any data when viewing the maps. See http://www.clark.com.
There are several different ways to communicate back home from buying prepaid SIM cards to using skype to buying a cell phone in the destination country. Here are three great articles that describe your options.