One of the best things about owning a cell phone is that you can take it with you anywhere. You don't have to worry about being out of the house when an important call comes in or even out of the country. If you need to call back to your office while you're at a conference in Las Vegas or phone home from Italy you can do that. But, if you are calling from out of the country then you can usually expect to have some roaming charges waiting for you on your next bill, and you could be in for a shock!
When you first turn on your phone in a foreign country you will usually get a message from your provider telling you about the rates that you will be expected to pay in that location. If you're visiting the USA and are from Calgary then you will likely be paying less than if you were traveling to India for a two-week vacation and wanted to use your phone there. With modern phones you will have a roaming rate for calls, texts, and data. Make sure that you know how much it will all cost before you start using your phone.
If you know that you're going to be traveling frequently with your phone then you might want to look into a plan that includes international calling. If you're from Richmond Hill but are taking a six-week course in California, for example, this will likely be cheaper than just staying with your current plan and paying roaming charges each time you use your phone. If you're having trouble finding the international plans with your phone provider then you might want to look under the plans offered to small businesses.
Another way to lower the amount that you're paying for roaming is to get an international SIM card for your phone. With this you will use your standard card when you're around Toronto and another one when you're traveling to New York City, for example. To use one of these cards you need to have a phone that is unlocked. You should check to make sure the card would work before you buy one. You should also first weigh the options between buying a SIM card and switching to a more affordable plan.
Roaming charges mean that your cell phone is required to operate using a tower that is not owned by the cellular company that you're working with. Because of this it can cost much more just to make a simple call. If you're someone who frequently travels for work or just someone who likes to see different places in the world then you should think about roaming charges before leaving for your trip.