Using your phone abroad

Phones today are the perfect solution to your holiday planning, picture-taking, and just about every other possible use, although many problems can arise when you take your phone abroad.

Hidden charges, theft, loss, and the ever-present possibility of reduced signal coverage can all strike, but luckily there's a raft of precautions you can take to make sure your holiday isn't bothered by anything phone-related.


As a fair majority of phone users will have discovered at some point or another, using your phone abroad can cost a lot of money.

To make sure you're not going to get hit by any unwelcome charges, before heading abroad take a look at your mobile plan and carefully check to see what allowances it gives you. If you don't have the ability to send and receive calls, messages, and data while you're away, then see whether or not you can add additional roaming services to your contract. You can also get hold of international SIM cards – great if you travel frequently.

Buying a local pay-as-you-go SIM card could be an option, especially if you're going to be frequently contacting people within the host country, but be aware that you'll still probably have to pay roaming charges when contacting people back home.

Thanks to EU legislation, mobile providers should provide "euro-tariffs" automatically. These afford users a sending call charge no greater than €0.19 (about 14p), and €0.05 (4p) to receive, plus a message charge that should cost below €0.06 (4p). Voicemail services are also made free under this law. Check with your provider to see if a euro-tariff is definitely set up on your account though, as opting out is an option.


Rule number one of using the net while abroad is not to use 3G or 4G – you'll rack up costs very quickly. Instead, use free Wi-Fi services in cafes, hotels, and public spaces. By doing this you can also use your data to communicate with other people – as opposed to calls or texts – but always keep an eye on your data allowance.

Lost or stolen

Tourists are often the target of phone thieves, so always keep your phone safely on your person. If it is lost or stolen, you need to notify your provider immediately so as to prevent the thief from selling or using the phone – you will have to pay for any charges incurred, but if the provider is notified within 24 hours, this will be capped, the precise amount depending on your provider.[JS2] 

Find out more about our travel money services here.

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