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Don’t let roaming charges ruin your summer sun

Joanna Faith
Written By:
Joanna Faith

The EU may have slashed data roaming charges in half, but ‘bill shock’ is still a serious risk. Here’s how to avoid a pricey post-holiday phone bill.

While the EU is steadily marching towards an end to roaming charges within member states, the date they are set to be abolished has been pushed back to at least the end of 2018.

Here’s how to keep your data costs down in Europe and the rest of the world.

1. Close your apps

Smartphone apps eat up data simply by being open – they don’t even have to be in use. Before your flight takes off make sure all of your apps are shut down. Shutting off push notifications from Facebook, email and Twitter may also help save some data.

2. Don’t ignore texts from your provider

While getting texts from your mobile phone providers at home may be a bit of a nuisance, don’t ignore these messages when you’re abroad. Providers will often send a text the second you land on foreign shores to let you know how much you’ll be charged to use your phone while abroad. Take note of the charges and budget phone use accordingly.

Your provider will also let you know when you’re close to hitting usage limits, so make sure you always read what they send you.

3. Don’t opt out of caps

Speaking of usage caps, it is possible to opt out of them, but the golden rule is….don’t, no matter how much you want to connect to the internet.

By opting out of the cap, users expose themselves to unlimited data usage and the sky-high bills that follow. You may want to upload those holiday snaps ASAP, but it pays to wait until you find WiFi.

4. Unlock your phone

The cheapest way to stay connected 24/7 – just like you would be at home – is to buy a local SIM card and top it up as you go. All you have to do is replace your own SIM card with the new one, but be careful: you have to make sure your phone is unlocked before you go or the new SIM won’t work and you’ll be back to square one.

5. Keep track of your own usage

Some countries with less advanced networks won’t keep your home network updated on how much data has been used. That makes it important to keep track – that way you’ll never use more data than you can afford, even if providers don’t warn you when those megabytes start accumulating.

The absence of official roaming caps outside of the EU mean you have to be especially vigilant further afield.

Even using a small amount of data can cost you a small fortune.