Hopefully you’ve been able to find the best mobile phone tariff to use when you’re at home. But did you know that you can alter your contract it to suit you when you’re on your hols?
When in Roam…
If you’re tariff works for you then you won’t want to change it much. However it’s good to know what you can do to keep costs down so holiday deals stay affordable. You don’t want to return home from a wonderful holiday to be faced with a massive bill for keeping up-to-date with your Facebook or Twitter gossip while away. Roaming charges can add up when you’re abroad because your network provider needs to pay a foreign company for you to make calls. Ofcom points out that in the EU charges for calls and texts are capped, but these can still prove costly at 33p a minute to make calls and 12p a minute to receive them. Instead you can contact your provider to find out about tariffs that can be used in Europe – perfect if you’re planning a beach holiday to Cyprus or a cultural trip to Egypt.
Tariffs available include the Orange Europe Traveller (200 mins at 21.64p for £5.10 a month) or the Vodafone EuroTraveller (£3 a day to use phone rates that apply in the UK). Some popular holiday spots like Turkey aren’t included in some European tariffs, but you can still get bundles for your trip, like the free T-Mobile World Class tariff, where you can make calls in Turkey for 55p a minute.
Opt for Text
If you’re not planning on using your mobile much, then maybe try and restrain yourself to just texting when you’re abroad! EU caps mean that you shouldn’t pay more than 9p to send a text and receiving them is free. Even if you’re travelling outside of the EU, it can still be cheaper to send a text, instead of making calls – which may be costly for you to make and receive.
Getting the Message
A friend or colleague leaving a voice mail on your phone while you are abroad might not be charged for the pleasure; however you might tot up a bigger bill than expected when you try and listen to the message. Some providers charge the same amount to listen to voice mail as they charge to make calls. You could cut costs here by turning off your voice mail or by finding out exactly how much you would be charged by your provider to pick up messages. This way you should get an idea how big your bill is likely to be.
The European Commission was so concerned by the number of people getting huge bills for data roaming charges on holiday; they ordered network providers to stop customers accessing the internet abroad when their bill reached £40. It sounds like a lot of money – but with some providers outside the EU charging up to £10 per MB of data – it could be easily done by avid internet surfers! In the EU charges are capped at 69p MB.
Although it might be difficult to let go of our connections to home, even when we are supposed to be getting away from it all – it could be safer to turn off data roaming, or an even better idea – just use free wireless when you’re on your holidays to keep in touch. Remember we used to make do with an old-fashioned postcard to let people know what we were up to!