People will often save their cash for months in advance of going on holiday. You skip those nights out, be a little more choosy in the market, and keep the car put away. After a wonderful time, you get back home from your trip and get your mobile bill. All that money you saved can go right back down the drain if you used your phone incorrectly while overseas. It can really ruin the trip. So here are some tips on how you can avoid those massive return home bills, and still use your phone to the fullest extent while traveling.

Check the Policy with Your Carrier

Some carriers do have what is known as a “fair use” policy. So this means that you will begin seeing roaming charges once you exceed a certain data limit. For some, this is around twelve to fifteen gigabytes. You'll want to check your specific contract information before heading overseas.


Regulations passed in 2017 by the European Union mostly make it easy to travel within Europe. Data roaming charges have basically been abolished. Anywhere you go, your text and mobile minutes should not be any more expensive than they are for you when you are at home. The only two nearby exceptions popular with tourists are Switzerland and Turkey, which are both exempt from EU law. You will want to check with your provider before you use your phone there to find out exactly what their policy and charges are.


Once you get to other continents, however, all the rules change. Check the details with your carrier and read some helpful guide about the charges when using your phone abroad. Some foreign countries can charge you as much as £3 extra for a minute phone call. Some places can add on as much as £7.50 for a megabyte of data. This can get extremely expensive if you start sharing photographs or streaming video. The countries included can be the United States, Australia, and India. However, almost all have a special add-on package you can buy that allows you to use your phone and your data. Knowing these details can really help you save money.

Use the WiFi Connections

If you hook your phone up to a WiFi network, you no longer use that precious 3G and 4G bytes. And while you are traveling, you will probably be spending time in hotels, cafes, restaurants, and public spaces with WiFi connections. Often, these will be free or a minimum charge compared to what your data rates might be. If you are lucky, you have a good mate with a high-speed connection to stay with. 


When using WiFi, there are plenty of apps like Facetime, Facebook Messenger, and What's App that you can install to make phone calls. However, you will need to make sure your friends and family have the same app installed so you can contact them for free.


Also, remember to change your phone's settings so that it does not download any apps while you are not connected. Updating apps should be limited to when you have a WiFi connection.

Pre-download Your Maps

When you are in a different country, getting around easy is key. You will want to download all the maps you might need ahead of time. Both Apple and Google Maps let you do this. You can get the city or the whole country installed on your phone while you are still home. 

Avoid Streaming

Video streaming is the most expensive thing you can do, because it requires a lot of data. Download any videos you know you will need before leaving. Only stream when you are connected to a WiFi, or avoid it altogether. When on a trip, there are usually plenty of other great things to see.

Make Sure You Have Insurance 

One of the most important things people forget to do before they leave is insure their phone. If you lose it or it falls in the water overseas, getting a replacement from your carrier is much simpler if you have it fully insured. It is usually only a small charge, and it can cover hundreds of pounds in costs while you are on your trip.


The most important general rule for any overseas trip is to prepare ahead of time. Contacting your mobile carrier and learning the details of your usage rules can make that trip a whole lot simpler, safer, and cheaper. If you follow these simple tips, know your policy, use WiFi, and pre-download important items, you can save a lot of money, and won't be surprised by a huge bill when you get home.

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