So - for non-business travel:
1) Subscribe to Boingo - at least for the duration of the trip. Pretty good hotspot coverage worldwide at $7.95/mth. Maybe checkout JiWire's iPhone app for seeking out hotspots (although I bet more than a few of us already have similiar apps on our iPhones).
2) Turn off Cellular Data in Settings
3) Turn off Data Roaming in Settings
4) Turn on WiFi and just go that route for the trip via Skype Mobile / Hotspots for the trip. Buy a Skype number at least for the trip so your 'Stateside friends know who is calling . Of course can send SMS messages via Skype to your friends, and of course via WiFi can log into a Yahoo (or similiar) email acct to send photos/files. I thought via Skype you can transfer photos via SMS but haven't figured that out yet.
I'm sure there are a few permutations to the above and even better suggestions out there and I welcome those.