If you’ve ever been overseas, you’ll know the joy that can come from the little surprises along the way, but not all surprises make for happy memories. There’s nothing worse than receiving a shock four or five figure phone bill when you return. Here are five ways you can avoid mobile roaming charges on your next trip.
Talk to your provider
- International roaming costs will generally be outside any call, data or SMS allowances included in your current phone plan.
- You may be charged for calls you receive.
- It will be more expensive to make calls and send SMS/MMS.
- Data in Australia can cost 10c/MB, whereas roaming costs could exceed $15/MB.
Use a prepaid SIM
- Buy an international SIM card (make sure it’s the right type of SIM for your phone!)
- Use SMS instead of phone calls to contact people. You’ll be able to make local calls, send texts, and access data at the prices the locals pay, which is often a fraction of the roaming charges.
Wait for WiFi and turn off your data roaming
- If you’re staying in relatively populated areas, you should be able to easily find free Wi-Fi hotspots in local hotels, cafes and restaurants. They’ll give you more than enough access for the odd email and status update.
- Stick to free Wi-Fi and you’ll be able to turn off data roaming for the duration of your trip, eliminating any risk of bill shock.
Save your data
- Turn off any voicemail or diversion services you have.
- Download an app which allows you to track your data usage.
- Be aware of apps that use data such as maps, emails and background internet services.
- Turn off push notifications and automatic software updates.
- Change the settings so that your applications only access data and update when you ask them to.
Download in advance
- Apps such as translators and maps can be a lifesaver when you’re stuck in a tight spot overseas. Check the app store and download a few options before you leave home.