An enormous data roaming charge is not the souvenir you want from an international trip. But if you aren’t careful about how you use your phone, you could be bringing home a big bill.
After an expensive trip abroad, the last thing you need is another expense. So check out this guide to data roaming and how to avoid it.
Data roaming happens when your phone leaves your usual network to join another network provided by a different carrier. It might happen when you hop on a plane for Europe.
Roaming lets you do all the usual things you do with your phone while abroad — from making callings and sending gifs to the group chat to using data that powers your translation app and Google Maps.
The problem is that roaming allows you to use your phone for a steep price. These charges apply to each minute, text, and megabyte you use while roaming.
How much roaming will cost you? It depends on your carrier’s fees and what you use while on vacation. One woman got slapped with a $201,000 bill after a two-week trip to Canada.
While roaming is a risk, you can avoid it with careful planning. Here are two ways to avoid a nasty roaming charge when you get home:
Most cellphone companies offer travel packages for customers who plan on taking a vacation. They tend to give you a set amount of international talk, text, and data for a flat fee.
You can sign up for one of these packages before you leave for your destination. All you have to do is remember to remove this coverage once you come home.
A cheaper way to avoid roaming is to simply not use your phone for the duration of the trip. You can go into your settings to turn off your data roaming access. With this access disabled, you won’t be able to make calls, send texts, or access wireless data.
You can still use free Wi-Fi when this data access is disabled. You just have to wait until you’re at your hotel or coffee shop before you can check your email or download a map.
Sometimes, you can contest roaming charges to lower your bill. But this might take a lot of time and effort, and you may not get the response you expect. Even if you are successful in negotiating your charges, you will still have to pay out of pocket for roaming.
If you don’t have savings or any room on a credit card, you may consider taking out a cash advance carefully. Before you apply for an online cash advance, take the time to research your options.
Compare different financial institutions to find out what rates and fees apply to specific cash advances. All your hard work will help you be more informed about your borrowing options, so you’re in a better position to borrow responsibly.
An online cash advance should be a last resort for roaming charges. Ideally, you’ll stop them before they ever happen. Remember to sign up for an international plan or turn off your data access while abroad. These tips can help you avoid roaming and skip a cash advance.