If you’re travelling overseas these holidays, you’ve probably checked your passport is valid, booked in your vaccinations, organised your visa and bought travel insurance. But to avoid losing the fond memories of your trip faster than your tan, do one more thing—call your mobile provider and ask about international roaming.
While many consumers avoid making calls while overseas because they know it can be expensive, more and more people are experiencing ‘bill shock’ when they return from an international trip and receive a substantial phone bill. The culprit is often data roaming charges for using mobile services or applications, particularly on smartphones. Even simply turning on your smartphone while overseas may activate data roaming or enable automatic updates that you will be charged for.
However, making a quick call to your mobile provider before you leave and adjusting some of your mobile settings will help you save a lot of money and avoid unnecessary stress.
Make sure you:
- Ask about international roaming on your service, including the rates for calls, data, message services, SMS and any other services you use.
- Clearly explain how you intend to use your phone to ensure you receive accurate information.
- Ask about deactivating international roaming or changing your settings.
- Find out if you can monitor your usage online while overseas.
- Consider disabling data access while you are overseas.
- Read your manual and understand your settings.
- Do your own research so you understand your mobile phone and your options—for example, you may find it is more cost-effective to purchase a prepaid SIM card in the country you are visiting rather than using your own phone.
You can find further information on international roaming on the ACMA website.