Returning from your holiday to discover an expensive phone bill waiting on the matt is something we all dread. We've all read tabloid scare stories of returning travellers being stung with huge data charges, and it's not a pretty thought.
We love our data, and being abroad usually only wants to make us use it more. Whether its uploading sunny snaps to social media, or sat-naving your way around a new town, the last thing you want to do on holiday is keep our handset switched off.
Luckily, new EU roaming legislation has put an end to nasty shocks when visiting certain nations, but it obviously doesn't cover the whole globe. There's also the risk on holiday of enjoying yourself so much, you don't keep tabs on your usage. Help is at hand, however, in the form of our handy money saving tips below.
Wi-Fi is your best friend
You take that classic airport photo and want to share it on social media to show friends and family you've safely arrived abroad. Through sheer excitement, you start chipping away at your overseas data allowance. The likes roll in and you feel great. Subconsciously, this makes you want to snap and share all of your holiday experiences, at which point you totally forget that continuously using 4G is burning through your allowances.
Take as many snaps as you want, but when it comes to sharing them, wait until you can find complimentary Wi-Fi, either at your hotel or a friendly local cafe. Switch off data roaming and cellular data for extra peace of mind.
Save important documents offline
You've successfully passed through customs, picked up your rental car and then…panic strikes. Just where is the hotel exactly? Chances are you'll head straight to Google Maps or your internet browser to watch a map painstakingly load up on your screen ever so slowly. Equally, if you're not clued-up about getting to restaurants, theme parks or sightseeing spots, you'll only repeat this costly process over and over.
Fortunately, the Wallet feature on iPhones and handy apps like Pocket enable you to store directions, maps, boarding passes and other important documents offline, providing you swift, data-free access post-flight.
While most mobile phone providers allow you to track data usage on your trip, this is usually the last thing on your mind when you're having so much fun abroad. This is where usage caps come in handy.
It's all about showing tough love to yourself and limiting the amount of data you use on a daily or weekly basis abroad. Speak to your provider today if capping your usage sounds like an agreeable idea.
Ah, voicemails. Your Mum and Dad love it, but you prefer your parents could just wish you a safe flight over text.
Taking longer to pull up, listen to and then delete, voicemails are even more of a nuisance abroad. Why? Because they're more expensive to receive overseas and more often than not, the same information could've been sent more cheaply via text. Before your flight, deactivate voicemail and tell everyone to reach you via text or email.
Ok, so this is one for the seasoned savers out there but have you thought about buying a local SIM card during your trip? Granted, your phone will need to be unlocked first but when you arrive, installing a local SIM card and using a temporary phone number abroad can mean serious savings.
Overseas data packages are handy but not as cheap as this method. What's more, if you're worried that you'll continue to receive important texts to your usual number, forwarding can be set up so you don't miss out on anything for the duration of your stay.
Other handy hacks
That's not all, however. Here are a few other ways to help avoid receiving an expensive phone bill after travelling abroad.
• Avoid downloading (and using) smartphone apps with ads - they consume data
• Switch off automatic smartphone updates that eat data in the background
• Use free instant messaging services like WhatsApp instead of paying for texts
• Only switch on data roaming and cellular data when you need it
• Buy a portable Wi-Fi device and install a local SIM card for a cheap data rate
• Research overseas costs with your provider before you go, and check to see if your destination is covered by new EU roaming laws.
Remember to be savvy and adopt some of our smart money saving techniques on your next trip abroad. This way, you can concentrate on creating unforgettable memories without the fear of spending money you can't afford.
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