Nothing can dampen your mood like finding an $800 or $1000 phone bill after your vacation. Well, it happens. But it shouldn’t happen to you. Worst still, it should not happen to anyone during this rising pandemic-driven inflation.
In most cases, you only worry about the big-ticket expenditure like plane tickets, destination, stays, and food. The phone bill is hardly factored in. But, it can be expensive if you include roaming charges too. For example, EU roaming charges after Brexit can cost you at least £2 per day.
So, your phone bill can hit the ceiling fast when abroad. But, it should not block you from connecting with your loved ones and business partners back home. You should adopt saving tips to avoid paying high phone bills while traveling abroad.
That’s why we have made these tried and five easy ways to save money on international calls and data.
1. Install International Calling Apps
There are several platforms and apps you can use to call your people while abroad without paying a penny. Some of the free international calling apps you can use include:
- FaceTime (only available on Apple products)
All the platforms mentioned above only work if the receiver has installed the same app and has a reliable internet connection. How do you contact your loved ones or partners in rural areas with limited or no internet connection?
International calling apps can route calls through the internet and Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). PSTN is a collection of local, national, and international switched telephone networks.
As a result, the international calling apps can connect even regular phones and landlines. So, you can call your loved ones and business associates without bothering them to buy data. Only the caller must have an internet connection and the app installed.
Examples of such an international calling app are Talk360 and Rebtel. With their free minutes as test calls, you can even call far-flung regions in South America and the Caribbean for free. You can make free international calls to Cuba, Hispaniola, Havana, and the rest of the Caribbean.
And the services are premium-quality international calls whether the call receiver is on a smartphone, regular phone, or landline. So, choose what works for you and be flexible to your needs and those you’ll be calling. But, most importantly, choose free or affordable international calling apps to communicate and save while abroad.
2. Turn Off Data Roaming
The roaming market will increase by over 5% annually, reaching $100 billion by 2028. Considering that the market value was about $70 billion in 2021, the costs of international calls will rise. Already major EU carriers have introduced roaming charges after Brexit.
Turn off the data roaming if you don’t want to meet a ridiculously high phone bill. Vacation can push you to constantly check up on your friends through Messenger, Instagram, or Facebook. Do not access those services without turning off data roaming.
Most regional and local carriers partner with international providers to allow your phone to access their networks abroad. So, accessing internet services through third parties can expose you to a high phone bill.
So, how do you disable the data roaming on your phone? Most phones will have it on the cellular data options in the “Setting”. Scroll down to “turn off data roaming” to prevent your phone from connecting to another network while online.
You should also turn off the “WiFi Assist.” It is an active service that enables your phone to switch cellular data if there is a weak internet connection.
3. Disable All Auto-Updates
Another way of saving money on data is by disabling all auto-updates on your devices while on the go. Failing to do so can force you to dig deeper to sort your phone bill after the vacation.
Follow these steps to disable the auto-updates on your devices while traveling internationally:
For iPhone, follow this procedure:
- Go to Settings
- Select iTunes & App Store
- Select “No” to “Use Cellular Data.”
- Alternatively, you can disable all auto-updates
For Android, follow these steps:
- Open Google Play
- On the top left of the app, select the three horizontal lines
- Select Settings
- Click Auto-Update apps
- Select the “Do not auto-update apps” option
You can also disable your podcasts or put your devices in “Airplane mode.” The airplane mode can come in handy, especially when you’re out of reach of WiFi spots. Not to mention it is an excellent way of saving on your batter.
However, remember to disable the “airplane mode” when you’re in a WiFi hotspot to reconnect.
4. Install Messaging Apps Using WiFi
Most people prefer texting to talking. Your data usage will increase if you prefer using standard texts while traveling. It can be worse if you’re sending videos and images. While sharing your intimate moments abroad is a sign of caring, it can be expensive.
You need to be smart if you don’t want to end up with a high phone bill. You can still share and care by using messaging apps through WiFi. Here are some of the messaging apps you can use to cut down the cost of texting:
- Facebook Messenger
For better data savings, ensure your cellular data is off when using these messaging apps. That’s where you’ll need to utilize free WiFi hotspots in your hotel and other places.
5. Search for Free WiFi
These tips are only practical if you have access to a reliable internet connection, especially WiFi. Hotels and restaurants are a few places that can offer free WiFi. But it can be different when you’re on vacation tours and excursions.
You can use a WiFi mapping tool to find nearby free WiFi hotspots. The WiFi Map allows you to find and access over 100 million free WiFi hotspots. It is available for iPhone and Android devices.
These tips and resources allow you to control your travel expenses. Also, they help you keep in touch with your loved ones and business partners wherever you go. So, you can save more and add more international destinations to your bucket list.
If you can, find time and take a break from technology while on vacation. There is more to life than screens, likes, and online followers. You can send the adventure videos and pictures later when you’re back home or in the hotel.