Taking your phone abroad – what not to do

If you have a smartphone and are planning on taking it on your next international trip there are several things you should be aware of to ensure that you don’t accidentally waste obscene amounts of money staying connected while you are away.  Here are a few pointers so you can be savvy with your spending…

Don’t answer your phone

When you leave your country of residence with your mobile phone you are ‘roaming’ this means that you will pay to receive calls as well as make calls.  Receiving a call is charged at a per minute rate.  In some countries this can be pretty expensive.  If you don’t answer your phone and someone leaves you a voicemail you will pay for the international part of the call so make sure you turn off voicemail.

Don’t leave data roaming on

Data roaming is when you use internet on your phone while you are travelling internationally.  You have probably heard about the ‘bill shock’ stories of people being charged thousands while using their phone to get online while they are on holiday – these stories are because these people didn’t turn off their data roaming.  Your smart phone automatically connects to the internet to keep you updated, this will happen even if your phone is switched off.  It’s safest to turn of data roaming and find free Wi-Fi hot spots to browse the web and check your Facebook.  You can also use internet cafes, an international SIM card, a data roaming USB, or a local SIM card.  It’s a good idea to investigate the best options in the country/countries you are travelling to well before you travel.

Data roaming

Don’t take your contract SIM card

If you have a contract SIM you should consider getting a pay as you go SIM as this will limit the amount you can accidentally spend.  If you do take your contract SIM abroad then make sure you call your mobile network provider to put a cap on your daily spend.

Don’t download travel apps that connect to the internet

Many travel apps access the internet in order to get you the information that you are after.  Make sure your travel apps are offline apps so they don’t eat your data.

Andrea Crome is Marketing Manager at WorldSIM.

Comments (4)

  1. Heather says:

    Bill shock is all too common, as your typical phone user knows nothing about this technical feature, and phone companies say nothing about this to their customers … great article!

  2. Roxane d says:

    Add turn off cell data. As a fido customer- i turn off data roaming and left on cell dara they charge me 1200$ in 4days…

  3. Great point about avoiding a huge bill for when you return back from abroad.

    I work in telecom and this is the biggest question we get about how to bring your cell phone abroad.

    Which can be tricky and you hear horrible stories of people leaving a cell phone on in luggage in a cruise ship only to find a huge bill when they return for roaming.

  4. Andrea says:

    Totally agree, roaming catches even the most informed people out on occasion – hey, we need to be connected! Its the reason that we (WorldSIM) developed our products in the first place :) Thanks for reading everyone!

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