UNO: Use UART for XBEE

I’d like to connect a XBee to my Arduino UNO’s RX and TX pins (i.e. the same pins that go the the USB) since my device will be used as standalone later (i.e. not connected via USB).

Can anyone advise me how to do this.

  1. Can I just connect the XBEE RX and TX to the headers on the Arduino (obviously after level shifting 5v<>3.3V) or should the RX and TX pins be disconnected from the USB transceiver somehow? Won’t the connection between the AVR’s UART and 8U2 interfere with the UART and Xbee connection?

  2. Should the Xbee be removed while connecting the Arduino with USB for programming and then be connected again when the USB cable is removed, or can I just leave it connected?

Thanks