By the FCC Dulles Airport Passenger Visit Team: Yul Kwon, Dan Rumelt, Marissa Astor, Erik Chamberlin, John Cochran, and Sam Rodriguez.
During Wireless World Travel Week we went to Dulles International Airport outside of Washington, DC to tell people about Wireless World Travel Week. We distributed our tip sheet, Wireless World Travel Made Simple, talked to international travelers about their calling experiences, and told people about ways to save money on international wireless calls. We also warned many travelers about possible hefty phone bills if they didn't use their phone properly while overseas.
When we arrived at the airport, we staked out a few prime spots in the main terminal and began handing out our tip sheets. We were pleasantly surprised to find that many people had already followed the cardinal rule of international travel: check with your wireless provider before departing. Unfortunately we met many travelers who didn't know whether their phones would work overseas and what the charges might be. Some people assumed their wireless phones would work abroad, especially if they were GSM-enabled.
One man was about to make a mistake with his iPhone that could have been costly. While he had a voice plan with unlimited data in the US, we told him that he needed to temporarily turn off many of the data applications so he wouldn't accidentally incur lots of unexpected data fees. Another traveler told us a story about how he traveled overseas multiple times in one month and came home to a phone bill hundreds of dollars more than he expected. So he decided to buy a world phone, a much cheaper option for the frequent world traveler. Some people told us they avoided unexpected international calling charges simply by leaving their wireless phones at home in the US.
VoIP calling was also a subject of interest for many travelers. Lots of people were aware of VoIP services, but never thought of using them while abroad. We told these travelers to go to check out one of the VoIP provider websites and look up rates for the country they were going to. If you travel with a laptop or Smartphone, VoIP might be able to save you lots of money also.
For more information, visit our Wireless World Travel web page at www.fcc.gov/worldtravel, where you will find our tip sheet, information about wireless providers, how to turn off some data applications, and more. We continually add information to this web page, so check back often for more tips and updates on wireless calling options.