For business owners and employees traveling abroad, a mobile phone is a necessity to stay connected wherever you go. Thanks to the ubiquity of mobile devices around the world and cost-effective roaming plans, you don’t have to go off-grid anymore when doing business in foreign countries.

Before you board that flight, though, make sure your phone will be call- and text-ready when you land. Here are four tips to guarantee you’ll be easily accessible once you get to your destination:

  1. Plan ahead. Contact your carrier ahead of time to set up an international roaming plan. Mobile networks vary by country, so be sure to confirm with your carrier that your smartphone is compatible with the network in the country you are visiting. Fortunately, there are cost-effective plans that can be easily turned on and off without requiring a huge monthly commitment. Some carriers, such as Sprint, provide free global roaming with free texting and free basic data service to more than 200 countries, allowing you to simply turn on your phone when you arrive at your destination, and get to work.
  2. Be clear about your needs. Make sure you understand the difference between basic and high-speed data. We take high performance for granted here in the U.S., but it may not be as good in the country you are visiting. That could require you to upgrade your data plan. If all you need is text messages, a basic data plan may suffice, but if you need to stream video or collaborate online with colleagues back home, you may want to check with your carrier for faster data speed options.
  3. Reduce roaming. You can turn off the “automatic” email setting on your phone to reduce your data roaming, especially if you are paying a fee. By changing the setting to manual you can control when you check for email messages, such as when you are connected to a free internet connection in the hotel or elsewhere. But be sure that connection is secure.
  4. Don’t forget voice. Before you leave, make sure your global roaming capabilities include voice calls. International data/text plans may be free, with a small fee for voice calls. Verify with your service provider how to activate international calling, as well as the rates, so you can determine ahead of time what will fit your needs.

In addition to these tips, be sure to check with your carrier beforehand about the best way to track your voice and data usage to avoid exceeding your plan’s monthly limits. Also, don’t forget to check voltage requirements in the country you will be visiting. Bring a power converter for the phone charger so you don’t have to spend time finding a store that sells converters once you arrive.

Finally, it’s good advice to update your address book with frequently used phone numbers and emergency contacts, as well as hotel and transportation numbers. Enter the numbers using the appropriate international dialing codes so that your calls can be easily initiated.

A better way to roam

Sprint’s Global Roaming option reduces the cost of mobile phone use for international business travelers and makes the process simple, with fees as low as 25 cents a minute for voice calls, with free text, free basic data, no data caps and no overages or surprise charges.

This service, available in more than 200 destinations, is automatically included with all Sprint Plans.

Optional high-speed data passes provide faster speeds with no overage charges. For most destinations, you can get a one-day pass for $5 or a one-week pass for $25. The high-speed data pass can be easily added at any time while traveling should you decide you need more speed.

For a quick side-by-side of global roaming options, take a look at this handy global roaming comparison guide.