Must know travel tricks to minimise your mobile bill while overseas
Ever had the fear of opening your mobile bill after returning from an overseas trip? We’ve put together a list of things you can do to help minimise your phone bill, so you can have peace of mind when travelling.
1. Change your mobile settings
Firstly, you can reduce your mobile data usage by changing your existing mobile settings.
# Make sure international roaming is switched off
International roaming is when your phone automatically connects to a local mobile phone network while you’re travelling in another country.
This is typically an additional charge and not included in your existing mobile plan. When international roaming is turned on while you’re overseas, charges on making or receiving calls and using your mobile data can be extremely high compared to Australia, so make sure this feature is switched off on your mobile before your departure.
# Turn off push notifications and automatic updates
You can change the app settings individually on your smartphone, switch off all the push notifications from the apps you don’t plan to use overseas and make sure automatic software and app updates are only enabled when connected to WiFi.
2. Buy a prepaid SIM package in Australia
If you feel more comfortable purchasing a mobile SIM from an Australia provider before you leave, there are travel packages specifically aimed for travellers who either want the whole bundle (call, text and data usage) or just one of the features included in the pre-paid SIM.
It’s important to research and compare your existing mobile carrier with other service providers beforehand on what rates they offer for the destination you’re visiting, so that you’re getting something that is suitable for your travel needs.
Check the terms and conditions on the mobile travel package so you’re not caught out by the fine print.
3. Purchase a local PAYG or prepaid SIM upon arrival
This might be the most cost-effective mobile usage option when travelling overseas. You can order a local SIM to be delivered to Australia pre-departure or purchase it when you land at your destination.
# Order before you go
Purchasing a SIM for the country of your destination in advance can provide you with the comfort of knowing your phone can be used immediately upon arrival, and not only can you hand out the international number to your friends and family before you go, you can also save time and money finding SIM deals from local mobile providers.
travelgear.com.au is a good place to start your search for a good value SIM for each country.
# Purchase on arrival
Swapping out your Australian SIM card upon arrival could be one of the cheapest options for using your smartphone overseas. Pricing will depend on your destination and won’t include any shipping fees if you plan to purchase a local SIM before departing Australia.
Local SIM cards can easily be found at local mobile provider stores, airports or at some supermarkets. Although, the drawback of this method is that you won’t be reachable on your regular Australian number and possibly might have to turn on international roaming in case you need to use your phone before you get a local SIM. But luckily, WiFi hotspots are accessible at airports which shouldn’t be a problem.
Remember both options will require your handset to be unlocked from your network and is compatible with local networks.
4. Use WiFi
Forgo all the above options and opt to use WiFi instead, which can be one of the cheapest option when traveling overseas.
Cafes, restaurants, airports and public train stations generally offer free WiFi, so you can communicate via apps without needing to purchase a SIM card.
Apps like WiFi Map highlight hotspots around your current location and provides you with the password to use them.
Be careful with what data you access when you’re connected to public WiFi, so you should choose wisely not only when it comes to your hotspot but what you do with it.
Want more travel related tips? Check out Savvy travel hacks you must know for your next getaway and Credit Savvy’s Travel Checklist to help prepare for your next trip!