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Turn off that cell, avoid roaming charges

Thursday - 8/4/2011, 9:46am  ET

WASHINGTON -- Traveling abroad is expensive enough. Don't add to the price tag by incurring wallet-busting roaming charges on cell phones and laptop wireless cards.

Jeff Gardner traveled to Jamaica for his son's wedding. He and his wife brought smart phones, his laptop and a wireless card for the four-day trip.

The Gardners received a poor welcome back home. They were slapped with a Verizon bill for more than $11,000.

That hefty price tag didn't buy them much. The cell phones didn't work and the email was so slow they gave up trying. Verizon stands by the charges.

The New York Times frugal traveler warns against using smart phones and laptops while traveling abroad because of these costly roaming fees.

The Times recommends using a pre-paid SIM card for local calls and Internet phone services or Skype for calls to home.

And don't forget to turn off the roaming option.

WTOP's Dick Uliano contributed to this report. Follow WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)