Do you have to pay to use your mobile abroad?Last modified:
Have you budgeted for extra mobile costs on holiday? You’ll want to stay connected, but is there going to be a sting at the end of it?
Are you going to feel the financial burn?
If you’re going on a European getaway you’re lucky – data roaming charges have been scrapped by all networks, but what happens if you’re travelling outside the EU?
Although it may depend on the type of contract or PAYG agreement you have in place with your network, and where in the world you’re travelling to, you could be facing some nasty charges at the end of your holiday – some can even charge £3 per minute for calls (even if you’re the recipient), and over £7 per MB of data.
To put that into context, browsing one webpage could be between 1MB and 4MB, so if you’re going to be searching for somewhere to go for dinner – ask at reception!
How much data does my mobile use?
It’s easy to dismiss underestimate the charges if you’re unsure how much data your phone actually uses. This handy table from Which? Shows the kind of rates you might expect if you’re travelling abroad:
What are you doing?
The data it uses
How to avoid high data roaming charges
It may be best to speak to your provider directly to get an idea of any add-ons without getting caught up in the small print on your documents – but there are also a few things you can do to keep the costs down:
Turn off data roaming: some phones have the option to turn off data roaming, which you can easily turn back on should you need to use it – this helps you to cut down background data drainers like emails.
Put airplane mode on: there’s no harm in waiting to upload your holiday pics to Instagram. Keep your phone on airplane mode and turn it off when you’re connected to Wi-Fi at the hotel, or a restaurant when you stop for a spot of food.
Make sure auto sync isn’t on: some phones will constantly be using data in the background for things like updating your email inboxes or searching for incoming messages. Turning this off will make sure that you’re in control of alerts coming through.
If in doubt, ask your provider: some networks will help you put a block or cap on your data roaming charges. Speak to them before your holiday to see how they can help you keep charges to a minimum.