Most Expensive Countries for International Roaming

From the sprawling metropolises of the US, to the sandy deserts of North Africa and the mechanised megacities of the People’s Republic, this list of some of the world’s most expensive destinations for mobile roaming ranges far and wide, to help raise awareness and steer would-be travellers away from bloated phone bills and hidden costs.

South Africa

In 2014 one British visitor to the Rainbow Nation accidentally racked up a bill of over £2,500 for downloading some Neil Diamond tracks off of the iTunes store, which is shocking both because of the amount and because it shows that the Golden Oldie is still in great demand, even between sights of wild and rugged South Africa! Still, the tale works well as a fable for would-be safari roamers, who would do well to avoid the £8 per megabyte fees associated with the country.


Home to the majestic rises of the Great Pyramid of Giza, the meandering channels of the mighty River Nile and the shimmering waters of the warming Red Sea, Egypt remains one of the top holidaying destinations in the world. But, between the dive spots and ancient wonders lurks a shadowy evil that none can see: International roaming costs as high as the Sphinx itself! One unlucky traveler reported a bill of over $7,000 for using the airwaves of Egypt while on holiday, so woe betide the selfie-taker here.


Perhaps a little unexpected, but definitely worth a mention, welcoming, well-to-do Canada has garnered a certain rep in the world of international roaming for trapping American travelers in a whirlwind of spiraling data costs—many of whom don’t realize that simply crossing a land border means moving between global mobile zones too. So, if you’re planning a trip up to Canada and don’t have a data roaming solution, switch off your phone and enjoy the view!


Amidst the heady fray of Shanghai’s markets, or the bustle of Beijing’s labyrinthine streets, we know how tempting it can be to turn that map app on and navigate the maze, but if you’re looking to save on your roaming costs, then perhaps it’s better just to ask a local and test out your Mandarin instead. That’s because China continually ranks as one of the most expensive places in the world to roam with your phone, with charges from some British networks breaching the £6 mark for a megabyte!

The United States

For Brits making the hop across the Pond, the temptation to take some Facebook snaps of the Empire State, the Statue of Liberty or a selfie on the panoramic viewing platforms of the dusty Grand Canyon is often just a little too much, which is no doubt why the US comes in as one of the most expensive destinations for travelers indulging in a little international roaming. Some horror stories tell of inflated bills of over $5,000 for just a weekend jaunt to New York City, which would certainly be better spent on a couple of pampering sessions in the spa at the Waldorf Astoria - don’t you think?

Before you travel you should always have a roaming solution in place, even if it’s just in case – or at least look at the rates with your provider so you know what to expect.  There are lots of ways you can stay connected when you travel – without the hefty costs.  This post will tell you more.