Organising your holiday checklist can be a bit of an epic task, so there’s a chance you might forget to think about your mobile phone and what you need to sort before leaving the country. No-one wants to return home to a monumental phone bill, so here’s some tips you need to know before using your mobile phone abroad:
Most countries will have free Wi-Fi available in the hotel, restaurant or at a hotspot. If you can’t access the service for free, you should be able to pay a small fee that will be a lot more cost effective than connecting to 3G data networks.
If you’re planning on uploading holiday snaps onto your Facebook profile, make sure you check that your phone is set to use Wi-Fi, or it could end up costing you an arm and a leg!
Turn off your voicemail
Outside EU countries you will be charged to receive any voicemail messages people leave for you, so it’s a good idea to turn this function off. You may need to ask your mobile provider to do this for you, but it’s worth the effort as not only do you have to pay to receive a voicemail message, you also have to pay for listening to it too!
If you’re travelling inside the EU, the charges are capped at 31p a minute, which is helpful for estimating costs, but no good if you have friends or family who like to leave you long rambling voicemails! Ask them to send you a text message instead as they’re free, or e-mail you.
Turn off roaming
This tip is the most crucial thing to remember as it will save you a whole load of money. Disabling data roaming will mean that your phone can’t automatically connect to a random data network without you knowing. If you forget to turn this off, your phone operator will charge you for every megabyte of data you use, and your contracted minutes become irrelevant.
Disable the auto-sync function
If you’re not a techy kind of person, you may not realise that your phone regularly synchronises data and checks for push notifications and updates from apps on your phone such as Facebook. These regular checks will cost you money, so it’s best to turn off the auto-sync facility and manually update information when you have access to Wi-Fi.
Switch your SIM
You can purchase an International roaming SIM card and keep the same UK number, wherever you’re planning to travel to. This option is not particularly cheap, but will save you money if you plan to use your phone a lot.
You can also buy a local SIM card, which is a much cheaper option than the International card. This is a specific Sim for the country you are travelling to which has a new UK number that you can give as a contact to your friends and family.
As an example, say you’re planning to visit or move to Australia, it may be more cost effective to purchase a local SIM in advance from a provider such as Aussiesim; this will save you the hassle of sorting out calls, when you could be relaxing on a sandy beach instead!