Taking your mobile on holiday?

Taking your mobile on holiday?

Travelling to Europe this summer? Will you be using your mobile phone? Don’t get caught out with hefty call charges. If you can’t leave your mobile phone at home then you can expect to pay.

This is a brief guide of what to consider and look out for…


Roaming is when you connect to an overseas network and calls are routed via that network provider – normally at a substantially increased cost! Making calls in Europe can cost up to £1.90 for a 10 minute call. This can all add up over a 2 week holiday.

If friends or family call you whilst you are abroad on your UK number, then it won’t cost them any more than if you were in the UK. However, you will pay to receive the calls – capped at 5p/min in Europe. To avoid this, you can buy a Sim locally once you arrive on holiday giving you a foreign telephone number, but then this will mean that your friends/family at home will be paying international rates to call you. Another option is to text, but whilst it’s free to receive texts, it can cost up to 6p/text to send.


Data Roaming

Data roaming, or using the web, overseas is an expensive business – so to avoid any surprises switch it off BEFORE you go! If you have access use free wifi hotspots as much as you can, as it can cost up to €0.20/MB (capped in Europe). Don’t download email attachments unless absolutely necessary, and don’t download films and TV programmes whilst on holiday, as you could come home to a bill in the £100s or even £1000s.



The best thing to do before you go is to check with your service provider, as many providers have special add-ons for going aboard, not all of them advertised. Some add-ons are free, others require a daily or monthly fee – so remember to cancel when you return from holiday!



EU regulations state that you can’t be charged for receiving a voicemail message in Europe – but you can be charged for listening to it, which will be the same cost as if you were calling someone in the UK. Check with your service provider before you go to see how much these charges are.


Local Sim

The cheapest way for heavy users to use your mobile aboard is to get a special Sim that will work in a variety of countries or by picking up a local Sim once you arrive. Do some research before you go.


Calls over the internet

If you have an iPhone, iPad or Mac and will be calling someone with an Apple device, and have access to a free wifi spot, then you can make free video calls using Facetime. The same applies if you have an android smartphone – download before you go a programme like Skype, Viber, Rebtel, Vyke, to name but a few – find that free wifi hot spot, and if the person you are calling has the same programme, then the calls will also be free.


Outside of Europe…

For travelling outside Europe, costs are considerably more so check with your mobile phone provider.


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