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Thursday, January 9, 2014

So, the good news is that we can do something about cutting roaming charges with a bit of careful planning. We’ll have a look at some hassle-free methods to ensure there are no nasty surprises waiting for us on return from holiday.

First off, think about whether it is really necessary to take a mobile phone abroad. After all, being on holiday might be a welcome break from the day to day rigours of our normal lives. However, for many people, especially those on business trips, this isn’t an option. If you are lost without your phone, the following tips could save you money.

Check with your network provider, many providers such as Orange and O2 and mobi-data.co.uk offer roaming packages for people who are going abroad. These add-ons can be purchased at short-notice prior to your trip. It only takes a call. Make sure you check the coast of these packages and weigh up the benefits with the cost, you don’t want to be shelling out for services you are hardly going to use. If you are only going to be using your phone infrequently it may be best to avoid buying a package. Viewing a few emails every now and then won’t cost the earth, but try to avoid downloading attachments as there may be big data usage charges involved.

According to EU regulations you can’t be charged when someone leaves you a voicemail, but you can if you listen to it. Check with your provider how much you will get charged. EU regulations have caps in place for data, text and voice usage. However, outside the EU there is no cap, so listening to a voicemail can be extravagant. You can view more EU regulatory data on mobile phone costs here

The cheapest way to use your mobile phone abroad is to get a separate Sim card. This can be bought at home to be used for cheap network service in a variety of countries or you can get one when you are abroad. To do this you need to get your phone unlocked

Mobile phone users are not charged if they download data or access the internet over wi-fi. Many hotels, restaurants etc will provide access to wi-fi for free or for a nominal cost. If you can restrict your mobile phone usage abroad to periods when you have access to wi-fi, then you won’t be charged a penny.

Adjust the settings on your mobile phone. Most phones such as Apple's i-phone will give you the option in their settings to turn off data roaming. That means that apps which normally automatically update or download data will no longer do so unless specified otherwise. You won’t then get charged for any data being downloaded in the background.

If you are going to need to use your phone to look at maps of the area in which you are going to stay, try downloading these in advance of your trip. That way you avoid any data charges on roaming networks. You can do the same for music, films or files which you may want to view when abroad.

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