How to save mobile phone costs while on holiday

Australians are some of the world's biggest travellers, and more and more people are looking for the best mobile plan to suit their travelling habits. In fact, the adventure and excitement of visiting abroad called almost 9 million people between 2013-2014, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

However, whether you're updating your social media profile or sending emails for work, the charges for using a mobile phone overseas can be astronomical. Costs can quickly add up to a painfully large bill by the time you're on the plane home, but there are a numbers of things you can do to reduce the bill while on holiday. 

Turn it off

Before getting on the plane, adjust your phone's settings. A few simple changes can help reduce your bill significantly, but they can often be easy to overlook.

Automatic features like email can eat up data without you realising, so make sure mobile data and 3G are turned off. First and foremost, casual browsing will likely incur heavy charges, so bookmark sites you visit regularly and keep your phone usage restricted to areas with free Wi-Fi. If you're planning on staying in a hotel, investigate options that offer complimentary Wi-Fi as part of the room.  

International roaming means that your phone connects to the offshore network of a mobile provider with which your Australian telco has an agreement. Be aware that not only will your carrier likely charge you steeply for calling out and sending text messages while overseas, but receiving phone calls, voicemails and text messages will also incur a high cost. Your carrier is required to send an SMS warning you of the charges, so make sure you switch off the data roaming function, as well as location services. This can help you avoid a bill shock when you return home. 

If you do need to contact friends and family, stick to messaging apps that use Wi-Fi rather than the local network. 

Shop around

If you can't bear to part with your mobile phone, or you need to use it for work purposes, compare mobile plans before you leave. Check with your carrier about the charges for phone calls and data usage in the country you are intending to visit, or consider purchasing a global roaming SIM. Many providers now offer both prepaid and post-paid versions of these, but a prepaid travel SIM can allow you to control your holiday spending by paying the cost upfront. Your carrier may also offer a specialised bundle for travellers with discounted roaming charges.

International travel is becoming a large part of life. Whether you're heading offshore for business or holiday purposes, it's important to find a mobile plan that can facilitate these adventures. A service like Make It Cheaper can do the legwork and help you find mobile deals to suit your needs. 

Posted by Richard West