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Traveling With Your Phone? Consumer Reports Has Some Tips!

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Consumer Reports joined Into Tomorrow this week with advice about cellphone use abroad:

Traveling abroad can cost you a fortune – for cellular service.  The minute you’re outside the U.S. with your smartphone, costs for making calls and using your apps can soar higher than the jet you flew in on.  Consumer Reports electronics spokesman James McQueen is here with some tips how to avoid those high costs.

If your phone is compatible with your host country’s cellular networks and you’ve got decent WiFi service at the hotel, consider using your carrier’s world plan. You won’t have to fuss with your phone and the people you care about can just dial or text your number to reach you (though you should warn them that those phone calls may cost them more than usual).

Or you could slip a foreign SIM card into your phone. The service rates of foreign providers are often comparable to those of U.S. carriers. Sometimes they’re even cheaper. And that includes data fees. So it behooves you to consider buying a pre-paid SIM card and using it in place of the one in your phone. If replacing the SIM card proves to be too complicated, think about purchasing a low-cost smartphone in the country you’re visiting. Or buy one from a trusted retailer such as Amazon.

And of course you can always try turning off your data and only using WIFI. Using apps like Skype or Google Voice-accessible from any smartphone or tablet, you can host free person-to-person chats over WIFI.

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For Into Tomorrow, James McQueen – Consumer Reports

Dave and Chris recommended apps they’ve been playing with:

Google’s response to other popular video calling options, including Apple’s FaceTime, Microsoft’s Skype and Facebook’s Messenger app. It’s called Duo and isn’t too much different from the other video chatting services, except it gives a glimpse at who is making the call, helping you decide whether to answer or not. Google calls this feature “knock, knock.” The new app was just released this week as a free service for phones running on Google’s Android operating system … as well as Apple’s iPhones. So maybe you’d like to give Duo a look.

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I have not quite found the real use for this app, but MyIdol is probably one of the coolest apps I have found in a while. It allows you to make a 3D animated avatar using your face and interact with friends that have also used the app to create avatars. Basically, you import a picture of your face which it uses to create the general shape of the face, then you select a hairstyle, eye color, facial hair and so forth. Then it creates your avatar. You can also use the app to create animated emojis of yourself that you can send to your friends. One of the coolest things, though is that you can insert your avatar into some of their many pre-built scenes. Ever wanted to see yourself play the piano or pole dance? You can, in this app!

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Written by Dave Graveline

Dave Graveline is the founder, Host & Executive Producer of "Into Tomorrow" in addition to being President of the Advanced Media Network".

Dave is also a trusted and familiar voice on many national commercials & narrations in addition to being an authority in consumer tech since 1994. He is also a former Police Officer and an FBI Certified Instructor.

Dave thrives on audience participation!

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