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Keeping in touch while you are traveling, whether it’s for business s or pleasure, can often be a costly thing, like those that regularly travel, or do business across borders will know well. Make sure you know what you will be charged for – and what is classed as ‘Europe’ not all is always what it seems…
Pay to receive a call
While you are abroad you are ‘roaming’ and calls are no longer free to receive. Instead, you will be charged a per-minute rate just to answer a call, plus the person making the call will be charged the normal call rate. Although Europe roaming fees will be reduced on 1st July, they can still be costly - and what you perceive as Europe may not actually be included. Traveling outside Europe is much worse and the big network operators like Vodafone can cost up to £1.30 a minute, just for answering your phone. International roaming has become a big issue over the last 5 years and continues to cause a stir with many unsuspecting travelers getting hit with astronomical bills.
Pay to make a call
In addition to this, you will pay to make a call, this is usually worked out as a call rate out of the country you live in + the call rate from the country you are calling from + costs incurred form the network provider of the country you are in, and that’s per minute.
Smartphones automatically update; your apps, your location, your emails, your contacts - all are automatically connecting to the internet to make sure you are kept up to date. When you travel overseas, accessing data is called ‘data roaming’ and this can be very expensive. If you think simply switching your phone off will resolve this issue – think again! Smartphones will still update when switched off. To ensure you’re not hit with a massive bill, you should switch off ‘data roaming’ in your settings. This will ensure your phone won’t connect to the internet when you leave the country, but you will still be able to access data in your country of residence.
Know your Europe
What is and isn’t Europe according to the big network providers? It’s worth finding out, for example, is Switzerland included? It’s not part of the European Union, therefore when roaming rates in Europe drop on 1st July Switzerland will not be included, nor will Croatia or Norway.
So what are the solutions?
If you are traveling and plan to make or receive calls get a travel SIM. This will give you free roaming in 90 countries you can feel free to answer calls and as it’s a pay as you go SIM, there is no chance of overspending. The travel SIM has good rates on data roaming but if you are planning on doing a lot online, a data roaming USB might be a better idea. Ensure you turn off data roaming and if you aren’t planning to make calls you could just take an old (non-smart) phone and pay as you go SIM to ensure there are no nasty surprises.