How to cut roaming costs on your mobile when travelling abroad?

Travelling Abroad

Any plans to travel abroad? While travelling overseas you have geared up with all that you need while on move and your stay to another country.  But one thing you might have missed out. Your mobile phone…but you say you have it with you. Yes you have but one thing is still missing. You did not plan ahead for your phone bill that might give you a shock when you return just because of your roaming charges and expensive international phone calls.

So what you need to do to avoid this? It is simple but if you prepare yourself beforehand and plan well.

Have a prepaid SIM in Australia

Before you travel overseas, order a prepaid SIM card from a company such as Go-Sim or TravelSIM. A Go-Sim SIM card costs $49 including $50 credit, while also its Travel card costs $89 and comes with $100 credit. You top up via a phone app.

Go-Sim also offers data-only SIM cards that give you 1GB of data for $99. You pay more to connect other devices to your phone by adding a Wi-Fi hot spot option. Your phone needs to be unlocked to use any of these services, make sure to check with your provider before you leave.

Have a local SIM at your destination

This type of card works better when you are visiting just one country, such as the France. You can buy SIM cards at airports or at some supermarkets. If you travel to another country though, you won’t be able to use that SIM card without turning on global roaming.

Do not forget to inform  with text or call your friends to tell them your local number, whereas if you buy a prepaid SIM card in Australia, you can give them your contact details before you travel.

Have a local SIM before leaving home

This also sounds better. Check out the Aussie owned and operated travelgear.com.au. You can order local SIM cards from a range of countries, from the Bahamas and Great Britain to Canada and China. Also do not forget you can hand your number out to your friends before you go. Receiving calls from home are usually free with such SIMs

Opt to Use Wi-Fi

Turn off global roaming on your phone and head to a Wi-Fi hotspot, such as a hotel lobby, or local cafes. You can communicate via Facebook of course, or use apps such as Skype, iMessage or WhatsApp.

With Skype you can buy prepaid credit. Also  iMessage is an Apple program that allows you to text messages with your iPhones and  WhatsApp lets you call and text too.

Alternatively, check if the country you’re visiting allows WiFi or Portable Wi-Fi Routers, where so that you get to enjoy Wi-Fi on the go. Some countries like Japan and India even let you have them delivered to your hotel upon arrival.

Download essential apps before you use roaming

You know very well turning off the apps saves battery too. So if your phone is locked and you need to use global roaming then prepare beforehand. Turn off automatic updates and don’t use non-essential apps. Download things like maps before you go, to cut down on global roaming cellular usage and turn it off when you find a good Wi-Fi spot.

Google Maps are available on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone, and you can store maps for offline use. Since data isn’t required for the GPS function on a smartphone, this means you can navigate around the place you’re visiting without paying roaming charges.

When you’re connected to Wi-Fi, open the app and search the area you want to save. Once it’s on-screen click on the bar that has the place name you search for and then select the menu button in the top right hand corner. To save it select Save Offline Map.

Buy prepaid roaming

Telstra and Optus both offer prepaid plans that allow you to check emails and surf the web when you are overseas.

Optus with its prepaid Mobile Broadband keeps you online and you find no need to depend on WiFi hotspots. There are plenty of data-packed recharge options to suit you, whether you want a little data or a lot, for just a week or for a month or even upto 2 years. You can even roll over your unused data up to 50GB when you recharge before expiry!

Telstra offers two International Travel Passes, one covering New Zealand, Indonesia and Thailand, and the other catering to countries from Cambodia to the USA. You pay a daily fee of either $5 or $10 based on set periods and you get unlimited voice calls and SMS to and from standard numbers. You also get a data allowance.

Remove the SIM card

You can go and move about without a SIM card specially when you know you are going to place where you will be less called and you will also not be contacted often with your mobile. So it is better to take out your SIM card, and use your phone as an alarm clock or a Wi-Fi browser.

Use Wi-Fi

There are two ways to access the internet via your mobile while abroad. You can use your mobile’s 3G or 4G signal, in which case you’ll pay your mobile provider for data usage. Or you can connect via Wi-Fi, wirelessly hitching up to a local broadband connection.

If you can, it’s best to switch off data roaming and rely on Wi-Fi when you need it. It’s usually faster and much cheaper – in fact, you can often find free Wi-Fi hotspots in bars, hotels and cafes.

Wi-Fi doesn’t just offer a cheap way of browsing the web you can use it for calls too. If you’ve got a smartphone and free internet access, download an “internet-to-phone” calling system like Skype before you go. If the person you’re calling also has Skype, you’ll simply need to find a free Wi-Fi spot to call for free.

Have Phone Insurance

When going abroad it is better to have your phone insured and also get yourself a travel insurance. Phone or mobile is a medium of communication when you are travelling therefore it is important to keep it safe and secure. Losing your phone or having it stolen will not only ruin your holiday but also cut off your mobility.

Remember when taking travel insurance that they have a policy that covers mobile devices too. Telstra, Vodafone, Optus, Phone insure are some of the ways to keep your phone secure.

With all these measures secure you can be carefree now of your roaming costs when to a distant land. Though it is not necessary that all together you bill will show zero but obviously all these will help you cut down the cost to some extent.