How to ensure you don’t get hit with a huge roaming bill

Unless you have money to burn, it’s a good idea to turn off data roaming when you are travelling as it could end up costing you a small fortune (actually, even a large fortune!)  Turning your phone off will not help, smart phones automatically update so even if you don’t use the internet, you could still get a huge bill. It’s also worth remembering that you will also be charged just for answering your phone while you are travelling so even if you turn off data roaming, these costs will still apply.

digital nomad johnny ward

Here’s how to turn off data roaming:

If you have an iPhone

Go into settings and navigate to the general menu, click network and turn data roaming off

 

If you have a Samsung

Go into settings and click wireless and networks.  Select mobile networks and untick the data roaming box.

 

If you have a Blackberry

In options, select network and in data services set the data roaming to off.  Save and close.

 

For all phones data roaming can remain off, this will not have any impact on you accessing the internet when you are in your home country.  Keeping data roaming switched off will ensure that you never have to suffer with unexpected roaming costs again (unless you switch phones of course).

 

What is the alternative?

When faced with the reality of having no internet access for a whole two weeks while on holiday is a disturbing thought for many, but there are a few other options.  Your hotel is likely to have free wifi so it’s a good idea to check before you travel.  If you are backpacking, this option is unlikely, however, there are many cafes that offer free wifi so depending on where you are going, this may be an alternative option.

An international SIM card is definitely my preferred solution (you could get a local one in each country you go to but error messages and customer service is unlikely to be in your language.)  International SIM cards are like loads of local SIM cards from different countries, all packed in to one, plus they are pre-paid so you can’t over spend.  You get free roaming calls, cheap calls and cheap data.  If you are planning to use your laptop while you’re away, a data roaming USB might be your preferred option.

Local internet cafes are another possibility, although annoying to have to find one and have to dedicate an hour of your day to accessing information you usually have at your fingertips. If you’re going to go cold turkey and face the world without internet, I would recommend a guide book to save you time and make your holiday a smooth one.

This blog is written by Andrea who is an adventurous but practical traveller that works for WorldSIM.  WolrdSIM specialise in global roaming solutions for travellers, holiday makers and businesses because staying in contact while you’re away shouldn’t be so expensive.