How to avoid unexpected phone bills while overseas

TRANSCRIPT: When Joshua Fair boarded a cruise ship in Miami he didn’t plan on using his phone, so he locked it in a safe.   But when he went to check his messages the next day, he was shocked to see a text from his provider, AT&T   I had an alert saying that my phone bill had exceeded high data usages and they had froze my account.  
Confused, Joshua waited until the cruise returned to Miami three days later to call.  
At&t told me hey, your data reached 4000 dollars but today if you want to settle for 2000 dollars we can turn your data back on and we’ll forget about the other 2000 dollars.   My thought in my head was this is like a scam  
But it wasn’t. Because Joshua failed to put his phone in airplane mode. He had several apps like Snapchat and Facebook running background—-eating up data!    
The worst part, his billing cycle had closed and there was no way to back date his usage. He was on the hook for $4,433   It’s pretty frustrating, I’m a college student and I live off of student loans and freelance video work. 4000 dollars is the same as my tuition.  
His advice for people traveling outside the country with their phones:   Make sure that you have a data plan involved before you go on that trip, or I would just leave it at home.  
I’ve received this call over and over again from people who’ve been traveling and been clobbered with multi-thousand dollar cell phone bills. The best answer of all is if you travel frequently overseas switch to T-mobile. Because you can use T-mobile almost anywhere in the world at no cost with unlimited free data, but if you’re with someone else, Joshua’s answer is the right one. Either leave your phone at home or keep it in airplane mode.
Or as a third alternative. Buy one of those very expensive data packages from your cell phone provider. I’m Clark Howard.

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