Off on holiday? Here’s how to avoid roaming charge horror

Alex Yau
May 26, 2015

The thought of leaving our smartphones at home is unthinkable for many of us holidaying across Europe this summer. But taking your smartphone on holiday can be damaging on your phone bill if you’re not careful. We’ve heard dozens of horror stories about people being charged thousands of pounds for simple tasks like downloading music, watching YouTube videos and even posting on Facebook.

This is all due to excessive data roaming charges. Data roaming is is when your phone connects to another mobile network that your own provider doesn’t own to send and receive data. Your mobile operator might charge you extra for this, which is where the extra charges come in.

If you can’t bear to leave your smartphone at home whilst jetting away, there are several ways you can avoid experiencing these nightmares. Just follow our simple tips to minimise data usage and prevent your monthly phone bill skyrocketing.

Turn off data roaming

You can avoid racking up costly bills by switching data roaming off before you leave the UK. Phones and tablets use roaming to automatically seek out mobile connections for app updates, even when you’re not actively using your phone.

To turn roaming off, go to ‘Network settings’ and switch the data roaming slider off.

Free WiFi

Take advantage of free WiFi in hotels, restaurants or cafes when possible, but avoid making purchases or accessing bank accounts or security reasons. WiFi is a free and easy way to download files and browse the web without using your data allowance or roaming.

Download before you go 

Fully download any apps, books, films, music or maps before you leave home. This way you’ll minimise the likelihood of you having to download anything, which uses your data allowance if not done on WiFi, whilst on holiday.

Buy a SIM card 

Purchasing a SIM card when you arrive at your destination or an international one from a specialist provider can cut costs. Your phone must be unlocked, which means it can use any SIM from any provider, and it has to be compatible with your destination country’s radio frequency. A local or international SIM means you’ll be given a different number. It also ensures that you pay local prices that aren’t as expensive as your regular provider’s rates when downloading or using the Internet.

Disable Push Notifications and Auto-Synching

Notifications when your receive email or other messages cut into your data allowance. If you have an iPhone, change this by accessing Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Fetch New Data to turn off Push Notifications. Android users should go to Settings > Accounts & Synch and turn off Auto-Synch.

Got a tip on how to avoid roaming charges? Let us know in the comments below

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