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An Olympic gymnast could have avoided his $5,000 cell bill for playing Pokémon in Rio

Don’t get hit with Olympic-size overage charges.

All-Japan Gymnastics Apparatus Championships - Day 2
You think that’s high? You should see his cell phone bill.
Koji Watanabe/Getty Images

We all know Pokémon Go can be addicting. Well, it was apparently so addicting for Japanese gymnast Kohei Uchimura that he has already racked up a 50,000 yen (nearly $5,000) cellphone bill traveling in Rio.

Uchimura may be a gold-medal favorite at the Olympics, but he clearly has a lot to learn when it comes to tech. As savvy global travelers are aware, there are a bunch of ways to avoid big overage charges when traveling overseas.

For the novices out there, here are three recommendations: One, of course, is to swap out one’s home country SIM card for a local option. That’s the cheapest, but it involves some effort and means forgoing your traditional phone number.

Second, you can rent a hotspot from companies like Xcom Global and use your phone in airplane mode. Xcom, for example, offers unlimited 3G roaming for about $8 per day.

Third, some carriers have their own options for people traveling abroad.

For U.S. travelers, T-Mobile offers free, unlimited roaming in many countries though speeds are typically capped at decidedly un-Olympic 2G speeds. However, T-Mobile is giving customers unlimited high-speed data in Brazil for the month of August. Sprint has a similar approach, though it offers it in fewer countries. Verizon, meanwhile, offers high-speed international roaming for $10 per day as part of its TravelPass program (Brazil is currently listed for just $5 per day from Verizon).

Uchimura did eventually get his bill reduced by his carrier to $30 per day for flat-rate usage, according to Japanese news service Kyodo. That’s pricey, but not $5,000 pricey.

"I really lucked out," Uchimura told Kyodo.

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