Roaming charges in the EU have largely been scrapped, but outside Europe, you can face hefty charges. Even when roaming is ‘free’ in the EU, there is still chance that you get a substantial bill when using too much data plus the fact that we have no idea if it will still be “free” after Brexit dateline in March 2019.
If you’re heading off overseas but can’t live without your mobile phone, then make sure you take a few moments to read this helpful guide featuring top tips on how to save money or calls and internet usage abroad, EU or not. Following some of these suggestions will help you to avoid a nasty bill once you arrive home.
No “Free” Roaming
Many holidaymakers find themselves hit with unexpected charges for data roaming, especially when visiting several destinations during their break. If your provider does not offer “free” roaming at your destination country, always disable data roaming on your handset before you jet off. Make full use of Wi-Fi when you need it. You can often find free Wi-Fi hotspots in bars, hotels and cafes.
Where possible, download as much of your non-internet connection required entertainment like maps, music, games, movies, photos etc., directly to your mobile for anytime access.
Cap Your Usage
Even with “free” roaming, providers are allowed to charge users with unlimited or more generous data packages extra fees to use their full UK allowance or if you’re away for too long.
To keep your phone bill as low as possible when abroad, you can cap your usage by contacting your provider or set limits on your online account. Not only will this ensure that you avoid a massive bill when you get back, but in the event your phone is stolen and used overseas, the damage to your pocket will be minimal.
An automatic €50/mth cap is set, thanks to EU regulations even if you’re roaming OUTSIDE Europe, but you can change the cap value as you wish. But bear in mind, that if you decide to get your network’s roaming add-on, you may also be opting out of the EU €50 cut-off limit.
Be Aware Of Border Usage
If you’re visiting multiple destinations, you could find yourself a victim of charges for crossing borders e.g. Spore/Malaysia, South Africa/Mozambique, Dover/Calais. Even when you are physically in one country, your mobile may be picking up and using a neighbouring country’s provider. It is best to be aware of charging destinations of any fees before you go.
Disable Automatic Updates & Voicemails
To avoid your mobile eating up any data allowances you have unnecessarily, disable automatic updates that you won’t need while you’re away such as emails or social media notifications. It’s incredible how much these updates can eat into your data, so turn them off to make some significant savings.
Some providers may charge you for some leaving you a voicemail as well as listening to the message. Have a check and if these incur charges, it is best to disable this function before you leave the country.
Consider A Local SIM Card
If you’re going travelling in a group or taking an extended break to a single destination, then it might be worth getting a local SIM card as this could work out far cheaper if you’ll be making calls within the country to other people in your party or staying for longer than a few weeks.
You can even do a little research on the best local providers and their pay as you go tariffs before you head off on your next adventure.