Nothing says “I care “quite like writing a letter to a loved one back home while you are travelling overseas, well unless your reason for doing it is to escape the guaranteed shock of an international voice call charge. Do not worry, we totally understand and we really want to make sure that from here on you will be able to write letters to those you care about for the right reasons, not just to avoid roaming charges. International voice call and data charges are worst thing to happen to Smart phones since the announcement that Flappy Bird would be discontinued and we all know how earth shattering that was.
“Roaming Charges”… its the collective term used to describe the costs incurred for making and receiving international calls as well as using data services outside of your mobile network’s coverage area. These are the charges responsible for high expense overseas trips, ruined budgets and even customized voice mail messages (“Hi, I am not in the country right now so I’m not available, leave your number and I will get back to you once I return”). Global travellers have been looking for ways to avoid roaming charges for ages, right up to the point of switching their phones off and pretending like they don’t exist up until they return from their trips abroad.
Fortunately there are more simple ways to save yourself from unwanted roaming charges. We have a few tips to help you to avoid incurring any roaming charges while you are soaring beyond your border.
1 – Turn off Data Roaming
It is always important to make sure that you turn off your data roaming on your phone when travelling outside your network. You should do this to avoid roaming charges because every time you use your mobile phone on a network outside of your carrier’s coverage, that network you use to make call calls and access the internet charges your local provider and your provider then charges you. The signal that informs you that you are using another carrier’s network is the “R” that appears next to the signal bars on your screen. To disable roaming on your Android: Go to Settings>then Wireless and Networks>Mobile Networks -> Data Off
2 – Wi-Fi is a Good Option to Avoid Roaming Charges
Wi-Fi has pretty much become the equivalent of the sweet sugary scent of those freshly baked donuts from the local bakery. Our Smartphones can sniff it in the air (yes the Wi-Fi notification icon on your phone is a nose after all), and the scent/signal only gets stronger as we get closer to the bakery. Which is probably why it is the first question we ask the waiter as soon as we get seated in the bakery is: “What is the Wi-Fi Password?”.. Asking for menus as a first question is a thing of the past, thats the second question we ask these days.
There are some great apps right now, which you can use to communicate with people while abroad using Wi-Fi spots. Instant messaging apps like WeChat and Whatsapp let you send messages, pictures, audio notes and video messages with friends, via Wi-Fi. Viber is free and lets you call, text or send pictures using Wi-Fi. But you will still need to buy a coffee or two to get that Wi-Fi password, “there’s no such thing as a free lunch”(or free Wi-Fi)
3 – Disable Push Notifications and Auto-Synching
Granted, the auto-sync feature on Smartphones is a pretty cool feature to have on a phone these days. Remember how you used to go hunting for new emails in your inbox. But these days you get an instant notification every time you get an email. But this consumes data, along with every other automatic download that comes in on your phone. To change this access on your iPhone, go to Settings>Mail, Calendars > Fetch New Data to turn off Push Notifications. You have the option of turning off the Push Notifications off for all apps or for individual apps. Click on the app and turn the Notification Center to “Off.”
4 – Be Aware of How Much Data You’ve Used
If you are going to use your data abroad, make sure that you keep track of the amount of data you use. With an iPhone, you can simply go to Settings > General >Cellular Usage and reset your data statistics.
For Android, you can simply go to Settings>Data Usage>Select the date range for your trip. This will allow you monitor your data usage and you will be notified once you begin going over your data plan’s limit. Alternatively, you can download a data tracking app such as Onavo that allow users to check data usage view data consumption by various apps, games and sites. It’s got all the essentials, including the ability to set alerts and set time periods to match your billing cycle, and it’s dead easy to install and run. An interesting feature on Onavo is the Data Usage feature that differentiates between cellular and Wi-Fi data use, so you’ll know when you’re paying for cellular or when you’ve got a free connection.
5 – Buy a Local SIM Card Once You’ve Landed
This one is a popular option for most business and leisure travellers, it’s a cheaper option too but it can also be the most difficult. Purchasing a local sim-card means that you will also get a new local phone number. You might need to compare a few mobile networks to find the best option for you. If you decide to buy a prepaid international sim-card for travelling abroad, you’ll need to look into getting an unlocked GSM standard phone.
6 – Get an Unlimited Roaming Service Plan for Your Trip
This is by far the most convenient option to avoid roaming charges. With a roaming service plan, global travellers will have the freedom to make and receive unlimited voice calls at a flat rate and even have a convenient data bundle that suits your travel needs. Roaming service experts such as Flexiroam Limited provide global travellers with voice call and data services at rock bottom prices of just RM10 a day. This service gives travellers the convenience of keeping their local mobile numbers even while they are travelling abroad and the service can even be used with your destination’s local sim-card. The service works perfectly on 3G and 2G networks with coverage in over 200 destinations. No more time wasted searching for a Wi-Fi spot or a phone booth, convenience is now at your finger tips.
Roaming charges are still most notably the biggest hassle for overseas travelers. Fortunately there is a way to get rid of any roaming charges, make and receive unlimited calls from all over the world and even use local mobile number while you are overseas. Want to avoid roaming charges?