A question on a listserve prompted me to respond and I thought the gist of my views would be worth sharing beyond the list. The question had to do with protection against huge cell phone charges while one is using one's iPhone [or any other I suppose] overseas. Here is what I do, based on a recent trip to Italy:
1. turn off cellular [incl LTE, data roaming etc] all the time and limit use of it to when needed, only
2. I have ATT but it's true for all carriers, as far as I know = you can get a flat charge contract for overseas use [text-phone-data might be separate] and sign up to start when you get there and end when you get back and it'll be prorated [works with ATT at least] - I had [foolishly] used the GPS maps system in my phone and ran up $200 in charges but called asap when I got the warning email and ATT allowed me to backdate the flat plan to cover my trip, saving me loads of money.
3. use wireless whereever you go = there's a McDonalds everywhere - some cities have libraries with free wifi and most hotels do in the lobby and increasingly in the room.
4. you can download photos directly off your iPhone to your computer [or iPad] with the right cable/connector = no need to go thru the internet for that. But if you have/want to, turn on PhotoStream and your photos will be sent wirelessly up there til you need them. When I needed a photo on iPad [which I took with me], I waited until got to a Wireless place to upload from iPhone and then went to Photostream and downloaded from there on wireless.
5. I used the GPS/Map function in my iPhone and even though the Cellular is off, apparently the antenna will still send and receive GPS signals. That's what caused me to go way over the limit. So, if you can pack or find there maps of local areas [we drove around and were lost quite a bit on back roads] or map the drive before you go. With a basic contract, any such use should be well within the maximum.