How to avoid roaming charges (2022 Travellers guide)

How to avoid roaming charges (2022 Travellers guide)

Staying connected with family and friends while travelling abroad is important, but this comes with a price, and that price is data roaming charges. For every for of communication while travelling abroad, you are charged, which is why it is very important to get an international SIM card before travelling abroad to reduce roaming fees.

Further reading: What is international roaming?

This article discusses what roaming charges are, surprising facts and roaming fees horror stories, how to avoid roaming charges and how to save money while travelling abroad.

What are roaming charges?

Roaming charges refer to the prices that mobile phone providers charge when you use your phone abroad. Roaming fees are charged on a per-minute basis for wireless voice service, per text message sent and received and per megabyte of data used for data service.

The roaming charges differs depending to the country you are visiting, some countries may cause more than others to make call, send texts and use mobile data.

So, it is a good idea to know how you will be affected by roaming charges abroad and get a Roaming SIM card to reduce costs and enjoy communicating with your loved ones while you are abroad.

14 Surprising facts about roaming charges

Surprising facts about roaming charges
  • Roaming charges can reach up to thousands of dollars.
  • Roaming charges add up very quickly.
  • If you leave your phone off while abroad, you will still be roaming because smartphones update automatically.
  • As a tourist you can’t get a local sim card in some countries or they make it very difficult for you, so its very important to prepare before you travel.
  • Use free Wi-Fi whenever you can to avoid roaming charges.
  • For international roaming, you will be charged according to the plan you have selected.
  • Roaming data usually comes with extra charges to your account.
  • Once you turn off data roaming, you won’t have access to mobile data outside of your service area. 
  • The money made on roaming is a lot, which is why the big networks are not keen on reducing their charges.
  • Unmanaged roaming on business trips may cost up to a billion dollars.
  • You could still face roaming charges if you exceed data limits. 
  • You can be charged for answering a call, though not for receiving a text.
  • Voicemail could cost your a small fortune.  
  • There’s an automatic 45 pounds data cap in place buy you could accidentally opt out.

Data roaming horror stories

It can be said that nobody likes to roam as the charges may get ridiculously high and shocking. Roaming fees can turn your relaxed vacation into a nightmare. Here are some of the horror stories people face when roaming abroad.

  • Two men roaming in a country that their data packages did not cover which ended up costing them about $341.09.
  • A woman’s data roaming accidentally switched on which ended up costing her more than she expected. “Make sure that international roaming is not switched on inadvertently when you make a phone call” she said.
  • Another woman turned on data roaming when she was waiting for her flight home. All she did was check how many emails she had. She got an SMS warning of the data charges. She went back to the settings button but not before more than $200 worth of data has been nibbled up by hungry apps and incoming mail.
  • An Australian user spent 5 working weeks in New York, sending emails and using the web from her tablet in ignorance of data roaming charges. When she returned home a $60,000AUS was waiting for her.

10 Ways to avoid data roaming charges

Roaming charges can be very expensive, especially if you do not plan properly when travelling abroad. We live in a digital world and mobile communication is our daily routine. It is very important to plan accordingly with your mobile provider before travelling abroad to avoid insane roaming charges while enjoying your trip.

Here are some ways you can avoid data roaming charges while abroad.

  • Download media and files at home before you leave
  • Before you turn on roaming service, you should check the rates and the coverage depending on the country you will be visiting.
  • Compare different plans and get the best affordable one for you.
  • Always connect to a Wi-Fi network each time you have the opportunity.
  • Try to restrict the time you spend browsing the internet.
  • Send text messages instead, as it is cheaper than making calls.
  • Download a data monitor that give you a warning signal when you are about to reach your established limit.
  • Get a prepaid SIM card or eSIM which offers low rates.
  • Turn off roaming if you are worried.
  • Always use calling apps to call home.

Further Reading

Tips to save money while travelling abroad

How to save money while travelling abroad
  1. Plan your travel budget
  2. Travel in the off season, flights are usually cheaper.
  3. Save money and stay in hostels instead, they are good for budget.
  4. Book accommodation for longer to get discounts.
  5. Research your destination first before you travel.
  6. Do less shopping and take pictures instead.
  7. Cook more and eat out less.
  8. Cancel unnecessary subscriptions.
  9. Set up a direct debit to your savings account.
  10. Use alternative transport methods.
  11. Look for offers in shops
  12. Open a Travel-Friendly bank account

How to turn off data roaming on iPhone

It is recommended to turn off your data to avoid extra charges and still be able to use the internet. To turn off your data roaming on your iPhone while on a trip to avoid charges, you open settings and tap “cellular”, or “cellular data”, or “mobile data”. Turn off “cellular data”, then tap “cellular data” options and turn off “data roaming”. This will help your save roaming charges while on your trip.

How to turn off data roaming on Android

The same applies on an Android phone, turning off your data roaming will save you a lot and you will enjoy your trip with no extra ridiculous roaming charges. To turn off data roaming on your Android you press the “home” button, then you press “menu”, then tap “settings,” “wireless & networks” and “mobile networks, then Ensure that the “data roaming” option is unchecked.

To conclude

This article discussed what roaming charges are, surprising facts and roaming fees horror stories, how to avoid roaming charges and how to save money while travelling abroad. So get your travel SIM card today at and enjoy communication with your loved ones from anywhere around the world.

Roaming charges FAQs

1. Should I always turn my data roaming off?

The charges can get very high, so many experts advise people to turn data roaming off while they are abroad.

2. What happens if my data roaming is on?

Roaming allows you to make calls, send texts, and use wireless data even when you’re outside of your network’s boundaries.

3. What is the difference between mobile data and data roaming?

Mobile data is what your smartphone uses when you are connected to your provider’s network in your home country. When you are traveling abroad, data roaming will take over.

4. How do I avoid data roaming charges?

It is recommended to disable your packet data so you can avoid extra charges and still be able to use the internet.

5. What is included in data roaming charges?

Roaming charges apply to voice calls, SMS (text messages), MMS (picture messages), and data that you receive or send when you’re roaming.