Do you worry about your smartphone bill every time you come back from a holiday?
Well you’re most certainly not alone. With millions of you heading off to finder a warmer climate this summer, phone networks are bound to cash in. But can you stop this? There are certainly ways you can try.
Check out our [tweet_dis]top tips on how to avoid roaming charges abroad this summer[/tweet_dis]- and save those pennies for shopping!
Switch off data roaming
It seems like an obvious tip – but it’s amazing how many people will forget this one. By visiting the settings menu on any smartphone you’ll have the option to turn your data roaming off – which means your phone won’t be searching for internet the whole time you’re out, and it won’t be able to update apps, your software or receive notifications without Wi-Fi.
You’ll usually find the option to turn this all off in the Settings menu under ‘Data’ or ‘Data Usage’ – and it should make a huge difference to the bill at the end of your holiday. If there’s one place to start to avoid roaming charges overseas – it’s here.
Don’t download anything
It’s one thing getting notifications through using 3G on holiday – but the minute you start downloading films, TV shows or streaming music or video, you’re going to get a real shock to the bank account.
Why not download all of your favourite shows before you go? If you do this over Wi-Fi – even better – that won’t incur any extra roaming charges at all. As far as downloads go, it’s all about thinking before you press ‘OK’.
Remember that woman who racked up a £2,600 data bill for downloading a Neil Diamond album on holiday? No one likes Neil Diamond that much!
Turn off automatic app updates
Those pesky apps are always looking to update to the latest version, and we’re grateful most of the time because it’s what keeps them at their best. You don’t want this automatically happening on holiday though.
Head over to ‘Settings’ and your ‘Application Manager’ – you should be able to set your phone to ‘Do not auto-update apps’ on any devices, to ensure that they need your consent before upgrading. This means you can choose when your apps are updating – therefore avoiding data roaming charges – and we’re sure that can wait until after your holiday.
Sort out your email
Far too many of us spend far too much time going through work emails during our time off – but this habit could be costing you a lot more than you think, in terms of roaming charges anyway.
There are a few things to keep an eye on here – it won’t take much data to check emails (although we would still recommend doing this when you have Wi-Fi ideally), but careful of downloading attachments.
We’d also warn you that text in your emails is technically ‘downloaded’ so checking a lot of them could still cost you a lot. Get a room with Wi-Fi to read your emails – that’s the answer.
Update your software before you go
As with everything, the latest version is always going to perform to its optimum potential – and the same applies to your smartphone software updates.
You can usually check if you’re using the latest version by heading to ‘Settings’ and then ‘Software updates’ – all the information should be there. You’ll probably that your phone is faster for taking this action too – so it does more than just helping you to avoid those data bills!
Do you know how much data you’re using on different features on your phone? Probably not. But there are apps out there that can help – in fact, there are apps out there which give you a total breakdown of data usage so you can adjust how you use your smartphone.
We like Onavo Extend – available for both Android and iOS – it claims it can help you do five times as much with your data plan. We’ve heard great reviews so far, so it’d be great to hear how you guys find it.
But you still want to use all these phone features as normal?
Don’t worry – there are some other options. Although it’s worth pointing out that the following ideas simply reduce data costs as oppose to helping to avoid roaming charges completely.
Go somewhere within the EU
It’s getting easier and easier to avoid roaming charges in Europe, thanks to new rules on data in EU countries. In fact, it’s just been reported that data roaming charges for people in the EU will be down as much as 55 percent – which is great for those who love exploring those beautiful European countries.
Get a bolt-on
We’re not telling you to run faster here – you can get data add-ons or ‘bolt-ons’ for your smartphone which are pre-paid monthly, giving you an internet allowance. Like we said, it’ll still cost you but this is a much more cost effective way of going about things.
Swap SIM cards
Switching to a local SIM card can seem a little daunting if you’re not sure what you’re doing, but companies like UK-based Dataroam offer pay-as-you-go plans which supposedly save you up to 90 percent on international data roaming charges. We’d check out reviews online before you go with it – but this will definitely help you to avoid roaming charges.
Turn it off!
Go on, switch that smartphone off and just enjoy your holiday! While switched off your phone isn’t going to be grabbing anything, and you can always ensure the above settings are in place in case you need to turn your phone on in an emergency. We dare you.
Will these tips help you on your summer holiday this year? Make sure you share our tips with friends! You can contact us on Facebook or Twitter and catch more tech tips here too. Main image via SundayTimes.
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