U.S. cellphone--going to Haiti--How to avoid big charges?

My sister is going to Haiti to do volunteer healthcare Saturday. Shell be gone a week. She’s done it twice before. You’d think she could figure this out, and I guess she could with a phone call. but I thought I’d try to help her.

What does she need to do before she leaves so that she doesn’t have to pay big money for calls and texts? I don’t even know if she needs to make calls. I doubt she does, but what happens if people call her? Text her?

[quote=“samclem, post:1, topic:691112”]

You’d think she could figure this out, and I guess she could with a phone call. but I thought I’d try to help her.[\QUOTE]

Well since you’ve decided to help her, the best thing you could do is to find out who her carrier is, and then search on their site about international roaming charges, and any temporary international plans they may have.

In my opinion the best thing for her to do is when she gets on the plane of Haiti is to shut down her phone and not turn it back on until she comes back to the U.S. She’ll enjoy her experience more getting to know the people that she’s with and she save quite a bit of money as well.

Her best bet would be not to even try to use her US cell phone in Haiti. Most cell phones in the Caribbean are prepaid networks like Digicel, she can easily purchase a cheapo prepaid phone when she gets there and buy minutes at any shop or grocery, it would probably cost her less than 20 USD for a prepaid phone.

*I’m assuming here and have no particular info on Haiti.

For communication, she would probably find a laptop or tablet a lot more useful. There will certainly be an internet connection she can access - probably free.

If they’re that prevalent, could she use Skype or Google Voice? I had some problems a couple years ago with nusiance texts and a call to my carrier had them turn off the service. She could do that temporarily, keep her contacts and apps with her, call over wi-fi in general and ovder a cell network in an emergency, and people who know her will still be able to get in touch via her old number. Klunky, but workable.

But as Omar said, the best thing to do would be to call her carrier.

Surely if she turns cellular data off, she can still make use of any wi-fi hotspots, etc, without incurring charges?

These are all bad advices that have not an understanding of Haiti, assuming the luxuries of OCDE countries.

It is not common in Haiti to have “wi fi hotspots” or public wifis, even in Port au Prince. It is also even where there is wifis not often of good bandwidth. We will not mention the power outtages that are common.

For her phone needs it is more practical to use a cheap cell phone like an old nokia and buy a sim card at the airport, if she arrives via Port au Prince as is common.

there is anagency of Digicellat the airport, on the way out after the baggage claim. It is on the right in exiting, before the exit doors. She should know there is no exit lounge.

They can sell her a pre-paid minutes and it is easy to find digicell revendors throughout the country.

She can then keep her american phone turned off most of the trip or only for emergencies.

I have forgotten to say that I have seen that they accept dollars and euros at this agency at the airport. I think the exchange rate is not very excellent but it is okay and she can buy some small bit of minutes there.