Navigating your way through roaming fees can be complicated and expensive. KillBiller have compiled these tips for travelers to help avoid racking up a large bill so you can focus on enjoying your holiday:
1. Opt-In Bundles
Many operators have opt-in bundles for data and calls/texts. Ensure you are signed up to the best value ones before you go.
Some of them require nothing more than a text to the operator to opt-in at no extra fee, while some will cost a few euro per day. Either way, they are almost always better value than paying standard rates. Vodafone offers a particularly good deal for certain destinations with their Red Roaming package.
2. EU Regulations
When travelling within the EU you are protected by regulations. If you are charged over €50 without agreeing to it, then your mobile provider is in breach of those regulations and you should be entitled to a refund.
3. Free WiFi
Make as much use of Wi-Fi as you can. The price of data varies hugely, from bundles that cost a few euro for a GB, to charges of over €5 per MB! However, all is not lost as there is free Wi-Fi on offer in many hotels, cafés and bars. While we don't condone a visit to Starbucks, they almost always have free Wi-Fi.
4. Data considerations
Within the EU, the maximum price per megabyte is 25 cent. Even at this rate, the costs will add up if you plan on using Facebook, watching video or mailing photos back home.
Outside the EU, forget about using data unless a purchased add-on explicitly includes it. Data usage could cost you hundreds of euro even for ten minutes.
5. Messaging Apps
Make use of free services like WhatsApp, Skype or Viber to call and message people back home. It is best to use these on Wi-Fi to avoid the high data charges.
6. Phone Settings
Turn off options such as ‘auto-media download’ on WhatsApp and ‘auto video-stream’ on Facebook. These automatically download large images or video which can quickly use up data. Push notifications for emails and other services also use data, these can easily be turned off on Android and iPhone.
7. Purchase a Local SIM Card
If you are going to be making a long trip, consider purchasing a local SIM card at your destination. This will cost you significantly less as you will be charged at local rates. To do this you will need to do the following:
Ensure your phone is ‘SIM unlocked’ before you go – you may need to phone your mobile operator before you do this
Many far flung destinations will have a store in the airport where you can purchase a local SIM. If not, go into a local mobile shop and purchase a ‘pay as you go’ SIM. You will have to purchase some credit in advance and top-up if you run out.
Note that if you use a local SIM in your phone, you won’t be contactable on your normal phone number – but you can swap SIMs in and out as much as you like.
Your roaming costs will largely be decided by what network you are on and whether or not you avail of additional roaming packages. This being said, the best opportunities for saving money are often by being savvy by watching data usage, availing of free WiFi and generally using common sense while abroad.