Keep your phone bill low while on holiday

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Date: July 23, 2015
We all want to use our mobile phones seamlessly between boarders, but no one wants a heavy cell phone bill after an awesome holiday. 
Keep your phone bill low while on holiday
I've seen clients livid after receiving bills that were up to 10 times more than what they usually spend. Always remember that when you are roaming overseas, you are likely to be billed twice for everything you do. You are billed firstly by the roaming network, and then by your home network. All mobile network companies have roaming deals with  international counterparts in most countries that you will visit. Unfortunately these partnerships are rarely favourable to us customers.

Why do foreign networks charge you such high amounts when you roam on their networks? This is because they know very well that they only have a few days to make as much money as possible from travellers. Their short term profit strategy is to get as much money out of travellers as possible (and they will not be nice about it). This is different from home network providers who have a longer time period to make profit from subscribers.

So here are a few tips to keep you out of trouble.

1.  Get a prepaid SIM
Prepaid rates are normally cheaper, so it’s wise to replace your contract SIM with a prepaid SIM card while on holiday. Send your prepaid details to those who are important and may need to reach you. 
If using a different SIM card is not an option, we have additional tips for you. 

2.  Know your roaming rates
Before departing, call your service provider or visit their website to find out about rates that you are likely to be charged in the destination you will be travelling to.

3. Data usage cap
It’s a good idea to request your service provider for a cap on your usage while you are away. However, experience has taught me that this does not always work as planned.  Your home service provider may apply the cap, but the roaming network may not

4. Download & update in advance
If you think you might get bored and need to stream music or videos, better download your content before you leave. The same applies for maps, travel guides and other travel apps which can be used offline when you are at your destination. This will save you a lot of money.

5. Turn off your data services
Turn off your data connection and make sure that none of your applications are enabled to override your data roaming settings. If you won’t be on your apps all day, its best to turn data off and only have access to it via Wi-Fi.  Remember to switch off all free services that you may subscribe to (Email, News apps, Weather apps, Twitter, Facebook etc.)

Double check your data settings because most apps automatically update themselves daily. Therefore, even when you are not using these apps they will keep depleting your data. When you move to a different country, most apps will have a lot of destination related information to be updated

6.  Disable your Voicemail
If you opt for international roaming and you know that people might try calling you when your phone is off - disable your voice mail. This is because most service providers will charge you every time someone reaches your voicemail while you roam.

7. Use Wi-Fi
Almost all hotels offer Wi-Fi these days. So take advantage of free Wi-Fi connections that are offered in most hotels and tourist spots.

8. Track and limit your Usage
If you dont have the option to switch off your data or use a prepaid, try to keep track of your usage with a data monitoring app. Most smart phones have native usage trackers. If your device does not have an app, you can opt for one of many data tracking apps that are free to download.  Spend less data on the internet by opting for mobile friendly websites. On emails, avoid downloading big attachments. So unless it’s something important, it’s best to wait until you get home to open it.

9. Don’t get your mobile stolen!
Probably the most important thing to remember is to keep your phone safe.  A lost phone means you won’t only have to worry about a high bill, but getting a new phone as well. You don’t want crooks running up a hefty bill and sharing inappropriately using your personal information.

1.    Turn off your data services
2.    Know your roaming rates
3.    Get a prepaid SIM
4.    Disable your Voicemail
5.    Activate a data usage cap
6.    Download & update in advance
7.    Use Wi-Fi
8.    Track and limit your usage
9.    Don’t get your mobile stolen!