How much can you save on international roaming charges?

How much can you save on international roaming charges?

According to a recent survey we did, over 45% of travellers found staying connected while travelling internationally the most annoying thing about travelling.  What if we told you that you could reduce your roaming charges by as much as 95% - that’s just 5% more than the cost of using your phone in your home country.  This saving can be increased even further if you also follow these tips for reducing data roaming charges. We compared the rates of the most popular mobile networks in the UK, 75% of people in the UK are with one of the networks below. 

 Roaming charges comparison rates table


Based on a daily usage rate of receiving 16 minutes of calls a day, making 12 minutes of calls a day, sending 8 text messages and using 19MB of data even travellers to Europe can reduce their roaming charges by 20%, those travelling outside Europe can reduce roaming charges by up to 95%!  As the EU Commission has forced roaming charges in Europe to be reduced, many operators have hiked up their roaming charges outside of Europe so those travelling further afield can easily rack up a roaming bill that costs more than the whole holiday.

 Girl on beach using phone

How to avoid international roaming charges

  • Check that your hotel has free WiFi and that it’s secured (ie. you enter a password to use it).  This will ensure your personal data isn’t compromised
  • It’s all about preparation!  If you don’t have a plan or you wait till the last minute you haven’t done your research so you are unlikely to get the best deal.
  • Do you travel apps need to use data?  If so they are fairly pointless as they will cost you a fortune.  There are loads of apps out there that don’t use data, just make sure you download them before you travel.  We love these travel apps.
  • No matter what company you choose to use when you travel internationally, always, always check the rates before you travel, even if you don’t think you will use your phone.
  • Keep your data switched off and only switch it on when you want to use it.  You should also turn off auto updates or this could cost you a fortune!


Watch out for...

  • Free WiFi – if it hasn’t got a password its open to ANYONE! Check out these tips for staying safe on free WiFi
  • Voicemail – if you don’t turn it off before you travel, every message left is actually classed as a roaming call which could cost you up to £1.50 per minute!
  • Thinking you can just switch your phone off to avoid roaming charges – your phone updates its self in the background even while it’s switched off, always disable data!


Man using laptop and phone abroad

How to stay connected for less when you travel

In our recent survey, over 46% of travellers use their phone abroad to call home and to browse the internet – on a two week holiday this can soon mount up.  Free WiFi helps reduce roaming charges but what about when you are out exploring and you get lost, or you want to google a restaurant?  Rather than pay up to £6 per MB it pays to have a travel SIM card as alternative solution as you can receive calls for free in all the popular destinations and reduce your roaming charges by as much as 95%.  It works just like a regular pay as you go SIM but has a lot more coverage and lower rates worldwide.  You can still use data, make calls and send SMS messages and use Whatsapp etc. Our travel SIM is freem just pay for credit.


If you hate doing the SIM card swap there’re are several ways around this; iPhone users can use a dual SIM adapter which is a little gadget that holds your regular SIM card (put your travel SIM inside your handset).  It will enable you to use two SIM cards simultaneously. If you have a dual SIM phone it’s a perfect travel companion as you can use two SIM cards in one handset and chose which SIM you want to use for calls, SMS and data.  Read more about dual SIM phones.  If you have a spare phone you can take that with you to use with your travel SIM, or you could be trendy and put your travel SIM in a smartwatch phone.  They are actually pretty useful as they enable you to leave your expensive phone at the hotel when you go out as you can make calls, use internet and even take photos with your watch.


man using portable wifi to reduce data roaming charges

Do you use a lot of data when you travel (or want to)!

Data roaming is often a killer when it comes to roaming charges but WiFi isn’t always an option and if you are an adventurer, who wants to be a slave to WiFi areas?  There is a solution for this too, hoorah!  Portable WiFi.  This pocket sized solution means you can get online anywhere in the world.  Simply insert a SIM card inside and start browsing the web.  You can then select the best data rates in the destination you are visiting and get online very reasonably.  FYI we have a worldwide data SIM with bundles for all the most popular destinations so you can get up to 1GB of data and have the peace of mind that you know you can’t overspend.  Read more about portable WiFi and how they work.


Hopefully this has given you some insight into international roaming charges and how you can avoid them.  If you have any questions feel free to ask us on Facebook, Twitter or live chat.  We also have lost of blog posts to help you stay connected for less when you travel, try these:


*Average usage rate is taken from our customer’s usage over the last 12 months

**The findings from our survey will be published at the beginning of May 2016