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The 'easy’ method to avoid data roaming charges – even when using the internet


PLANNING a holiday can be stressful enough without having to think about roaming costly roaming charges – but there are ways to save.

It’s pretty much impossible to go on holiday without your phone.

The ad didn't make clear that your roaming data on holiday would be capped


The ad didn’t make clear that your roaming data on holiday would be cappedCredit: Getty

Whether you use it to keep in touch with loved ones, take pictures or help you navigate the streets of a new city, it’s a travel must-have.

Using your phone abroad can bring unwanted costs, however – but not if you explore all of your options.

Charges for this could reach up to £6 per MB of data you use, according to USwitch, and without realising it you could quickly rack up a big bill.

Simrat Sharma, a mobiles expert at Uswitch, said switching to an eSIM – short for embedded SIM – can be cheaper than using international roaming.

It’s essentially a virtual version of the Sim cards we usually have in our phones.

With an eSim, all connectivity settings are fully digital and you don’t need a physical card in your phone.

This includes functions like calls, texts and data.

Simrat said: “eSIMs make it easier to change networks.

“So for example, if you’re abroad you can quickly connect to the local network to pay local rates – without having to add or swap a physical local SIM card for your device.

“This means travel eSIMs are almost always cheaper than using international roaming, as users are effectively tapping into the same network plans as locals. 

Best travel money options: currency, cards and tips for spending abroad

“eSIM customers also won’t be limited by ‘fair usage’ policies that apply to international roaming on most UK mobile plans – where the amount of data you can use is capped compared to your home usage.”

This means you won’t have to pay sky-high charges for using the internet while you’re away.

Plus, eSIMS are really handy for frequent travellers because they allow you to hold multiple SIM profiles on your device.

Simrat added: “If you’re regularly switching numbers or travelling to different locations, you’ll be able to keep them all safely in digital format rather than carrying around a number of small cards.

“The software can easily be accessed via your device’s app store and uploaded to your phone in a few quick steps.”

How to avoid data roaming

IF you’re looking to still use your mobile phone abroad and want to avoid roaming charges, there’s some steps you can take.

If you don’t mind being without your phone, put it on airplane mode or you turn off data roaming in settings.

If you are in a larger group, you can take it turns to activate roaming, as most providers have daily caps, so you can split the cost.

But the best way to avoid racking up big bills is to make the most of your broadband before your trip and Wi-Fi when abroad.

Streaming services such as Netflix and Disney+ allow you to download movies and series before you travel to watch offline.

Downloading content while you are abroad is an easy way to trigger roaming charges and exceed your data allowance, costing you even more. 

You can even download maps now for use offline, so you can avoid racking up charges even when you get lost.

Make the most of public Wi-Fi while travelling, but be cautious about using a connection that might not be trustworthy, as these could be a way for hackers to gain access to your personal information.

It’s worthing nothing though, that eSIMS may not be suitable if you have an older phone.

iPhones as old as 2018’s XS and XR models are compatible,” Simrat added.

“However – it’s likely that they will replace older physical SIM cards as is already the case with the latest iPhones in the United States.”

You can find check if your phone is eSim-compatible by dialling *#06# on your phone’s keypad.

It’s always worth comparing the costs of using an eSIM with the deal your currently have with your provider though, especially if you’re travelling in Europe.

This is because many UK providers allow you to use your UK allowance of minutes and data within the Europe for a daily fee, or at no extra charge.

If you’re not sure, it’s best to contact directly by calling their customer service team or by visiting your local branch.

If you find that getting an eSim the best option, you can use websites like SimOptions or eSimfy to compare deals.

Meanwhile, we reveal the little-known payment mistake anyone can make on holiday adding up to £50 to bills.

Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing money-sm@news.co.uk.

Plus, you can join our Sun Money Chats and Tips Facebook group to share your tips and stories

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