Using your phone abroad? Four tips for keeping your roaming charges down

August 2, 2018

Have you ever used your phone abroad only to find out your €20 top-up has been drained seemingly out of nowhere? We’ve all been there, and it’s not fun!

Fortunately, thanks to the recent abolition of roaming charges in the European Union (EU) we can now ‘Roam Like at Home’ and stretch our phone credit a little further.

This basically means that you can make phone calls, texts and use data abroad at the same price you would pay at home.

Is there a catch? No, but there are still a few things to keep an eye out for. Check out our four tips for keeping roaming charges down:

1. Check your bundle

The phone calls, text messages and data you use in another EU country will be covered in your national bundle – they will be charged or deducted from the allowance that you have as part of your mobile package as if you were at home. Now that you can ‘Roam Like at Home’ make sure that you are fully aware of what’s included in your bundle, in particular the data allowance you have before you travel.

You may not be charged extra for using data abroad, but it’s still easy to exceed your operator’s data allowance just like you would at home.

It’s worth noting that if you have unlimited mobile data at home your operator may apply a ‘fair usage’ limit on the amount of data you can use while roaming. You should check with your individual mobile provider to see if any data limit applies to your specific package. Your provider should tell you in advance if there is a limit and alert you if you reach it.

If you go over your bundle while abroad there are caps on the prices that your operator can charge for voice calls, texts and data. You can find out more at the European Commission’s questions and answers on roaming.

2. Use free WiFi where possible

Keep an eye out for any ‘Free WiFi’ signs. It’s easy to save on your mobile data by taking advantage of free WiFi zones in local cafés, bars, and restaurants.

If you need to do something which requires a lot of data, why not consider using an internet café instead? They’re not free but it might work out better value!

3. Check charges for roaming outside the EU

It’s easy to forget that the abolition of roaming charges is only effective in EU Countries.

If you plan on travelling outside of the EU, it is worth contacting your operator to confirm what their charges are to avoid being caught out. Check to see if they have any special bundles or offers for calls, texts or data when roaming outside the EU. Also check before you go that your phone is set up to roam in the country you are travelling to.

4. Check for apps that use data

A lot of applications on your phone may be accessing your internet without you even realising. It’s worth checking in your settings which apps have access to your data and limiting it to only the necessary ones.

And if you really want to avoid any additional charges you can simply switch off data roaming altogether in your phone’s settings.

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