I’ve been asked by many people if they should read The Cheapskate’s Guide to Traveling With Your iPhone if they are taking a trip within the United States. While I certainly encourage reading my book at any time, let me clarify a couple of related topics.
Hawaii is a part of the United States. So are Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
Yes, they may seem like foreign destinations, but Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands are all considered domestic call areas for AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile. This is because these locations are part of the United States and our domestic wireless carriers operate there as well. Therefore there are no international roaming charges to worry about. So you don’t need to be concerned about getting socked with excessive charges and you can use your iPhone or other cellular phones normally. However, you should still try to make use of Wi-Fi whenever possible to keep your cellular data usage to a minimum, just in case you might go over on your data limits.
Cruise ships are NOT part of the United States, even if you are only a few miles offshore.
Maybe you’re taking a cruise around the Caribbean and it may seem like you aren’t that far away, but cruise ships are considered international calls and will incur the corresponding huge roaming fees if you don’t follow the advice in my book. Unfortunately, I’ve heard that Wi-Fi on many ships is still pretty expensive, but likely will still be less than international roaming fees. Check with your cruise line before embarking, or better yet before you book that cruise.
Bottom line, if in doubt always verify any questions you may have with your wireless carrier and use Wi-Fi whenever possible.