A few years ago I was living in the Middle East and traveled to Hong Kong and Beijing for work. When I returned from a 10 day trip I had a $900 mobile phone bill waiting for me due to roaming and downloading e-mail messages to my device without realizing it. Back then my BlackBerry device didn’t have wi-fi (or if it did I didn’t know how to use it) but today’s devices most certainly do and you should make good use of your wi-fi feature. For the transfer of data you should use the wi-fi in your device and avoid the more costly 3G network charges from local carriers. You will also want to pay careful attention to your settings! Change them so that your device only checks for mail every hour (as opposed to every 5 minutes) and make sure it only checks for mail manually if you are not positive that you are connected to wi-fi 24/7.

Another cost saving tool is the use of Onavo. It is a free application for both the iPhone and Android and and can save you up to 80% off of your data charges at home or when traveling abroad. You do not have to do anything different to use your phone — Onavo does the work for you. The only catch is that it won’t work for those with Verizon as their carrier at this time.

For international calls I absolutely swear by SKYPE. You can connect to free internet via the wi-fi in your smartphone and save a small fortune making calls back to North America or to other countries while traveling overseas.

Enjoy your international travels and make use of these simple tips to keep more money in your wallet so you can afford to bring home a few more souvenirs.