How to save money on mobile roaming charges while abroad

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Avoid the costly setbacks when you return home with our guide to mobile roaming

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One of the many consequences of Brexit is that mobile roaming charges roll back when you holiday in Europe. Most of the major mobile networks have reintroduced EU roaming charges, adding to the charges that you never went for using your phone in non-EU countries.

However, it’s not just uploading vacation snaps from your mobile to Facebook or calling family, which can bring you up with hefty roaming charges. Even answering calls or taking voicemails from home may incur charges while on the go.

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If you want to avoid being hit by a hefty roaming bill when you return from a trip, follow our guide to saving money while using your mobile abroad.

mobile roaming cost

What you’ll be charged for roaming depends on which network you’re on, the type of contract you have, and where you’re going. General rule of thumb: Don’t assume anything before you travel and check roaming charges very carefully, not least because you can often save money by buying roaming packages in advance (more on these later).

As a very brief rule, if you are under contract with EE, Vodafone, or Three, you will be charged £2 per day for using your mobile data in EU countries, although customers There is generally no additional charge to be incurred on the contract as a payment. O2 and many other virtual networks do not charge extra for EU roaming at the time of writing.

When it comes to roaming around the rest of the world, charges vary greatly from network to network and from country to country.

Some of the allegations are, frankly, reprehensible. If you’re an EE pay-monthly customer lucky enough to vacation in the Dominican Republic, for example, you’ll be charged £2.05 per minute for just one call you receive and 67p for every text you send Will go Other networks have similar charges. This shows that it is not only using mobile data that can create bill shock.

how to save money on roaming

There are many ways to prevent roaming bills from spiraling out of control and ruining a good vacation. Here are some ways you can cut down on costs while you travel:

buy roaming packages

Many networks offer pre-paid bundles of roaming data, especially if you are traveling to countries outside the European Union, where roaming data tends to be more expensive. Make sure to check such packages before your journey starts. If not, you could actually face some pretty harsh charges. We’ve seen charges of £15 per MB for customers’ data that is not on the bundle, which means uploading a photo to Facebook could cost you £45 or more.

Note, there is a (currently voluntary) limit of £45 per month on roaming charges, but there are exceptions in Ts&Cs, so don’t assume you can’t really run up a big bill. The previous EU protections are gone.

Switch to a network with cheaper roaming rates

If you are traveling abroad often, it is better to switch to a network that offers cheaper roaming rates. You will often find that virtual networks offer the best deals when it comes to roaming.

Take Lebara, for example, which uses the Vodafone network in the UK. If you’re traveling in the EU or India, you can use your UK plan allowance at no additional cost while abroad (or up to 30GB of data if you’re on an unlimited data plan). If you’re traveling for four weeks a year, this could save you over £50, not just over £50, compared to using one of the major networks in the EU that charges £2 per day Your regular plan to mention any savings you make.

use local sim

If roaming rates to your destination are overly expensive, you can consider buying a SIM card as a local payment when you get there. For example, if you’re traveling to the USA, you can get an Ultra Mobile Tourist SIM for $30, which gives you 3GB of data and unlimited US calls and international text messages for 21 days. You can order a SIM card on eBay before you travel.

Switching SIM isn’t technically difficult – you just take out your current SIM and insert a new one. Some phones have dual SIM slots that allow you to use two SIMs at the same time, meaning your current and Travel SIM cards can receive and send calls while using the Travel SIM for data. can.

Be aware that you may have problems with some apps like WhatsApp and banking apps while switching SIM.

turn off roaming data

If you can do without checking Twitter every few minutes while you’re away on vacation or are prepared to rely on hotel Wi-Fi, you can turn off roaming data and make sure that when You don’t have to face any dreadful data bill at home.

To turn roaming off, go to the Settings app in iOS or Android and search for “roaming” – you should find an option to turn roaming off.

call over wi-fi

If you need to call home abroad and you’re not on a roaming deal that includes free or cheap calls, you can always make calls in an app like WhatsApp or FaceTime using a local Wi-Fi connection. Most hotels provide free Wi-Fi.

Similarly, it can be much cheaper to send a WhatsApp message instead of a text message.

Download Rich Media for Free

Any music, movies, or even maps you might need for a trip over Wi-Fi on your device for free, ideally before you leave, rather than waiting until the kids are there for a long time. Shouting behind the car during a road trip.

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