Everything You Need to Know About Using Your Phone on Holidays

Everything You Need to Know About Using Your Phone on Holidays

Nobody expects to be stuck without a cell phone, even when they go overseas. The hidden costs and complications of using cell phones overseas are ever-so-often overlooked and forgotten about – until the inevitable happens. In this article, we’ll outline everything there is to know about using your phone overseas. We’ll discuss all your options, from roaming costs to prepaid travel cards, so that you can feel at ease and be prepared on your next overseas trip.

Mobile Roaming

Most phones available have a roaming feature which allows them to connect to other carriers’ networks when they are taken overseas. This is an incredibly handy feature, as it allows you to be able to stay connected no matter how far you go from home – unfortunately, it isn’t always just that easy. Roaming exists because mobile carriers have formed partnerships with other carriers around the globe. This means in order for roaming to work at all, you need to be with a carrier that has strong global relationships. Fortunately, most major mobile brands in NZ will be available for roaming in most popular tourist destinations. At present, Spark offers roaming in 33 destinations, while Vodafone boasts over 70 countries.

Roaming Costs

Something important to know about roaming is that mobile carriers can – for the most part – charge whatever prices they want for it. There are regulations in place across the EU which restrict the charges for roaming to a sensible figure, but this is about the only place you’ll find reasonable roaming costs. Before you turn your phone on in another country and start replying to texts or answering calls, you’re definitely going to want to find out what costs your carrier has placed on roaming. This differs from company to company greatly. Most carriers in New Zealand will have mobile plans that are only available to you when you roam, and they’re often pretty pricey. For example, at present the best deal available for roaming on the 2 Degrees website is a ‘globetrotter’ pack consisting of 1GB of data for $55NZD, and it doesn’t include calls or texts either. Vodafone allows you to use your current home plan overseas for a set price of $7 a day. If you’re away for a short stint this may sound ideal, but $7 can turn into $70 in little over a week.

Alternatives to Roaming

If you’re wondering how to avoid these awfully steep roaming costs, there are fortunately some alternatives for using your phone overseas. Your options here include utilising Wi-Fi to stay connected, or simply investing in a local sim card.

Benefits: Wi-Fi

One thing that you can do to use your phone overseas is make the most of any and all Wi-Fi you come across. Wi-Fi can be used without a mobile plan, and you can even use it with your phone on flight mode to eliminate all risk of getting caught with roaming fees. This method works especially well if your accommodation boasts free Wi-Fi, as you will at least be sure you’ll have Wi-Fi in one place on your trip. There are so many apps you can download that make traditional mobile use redundant, such as Skype, WhatsApp, and Messenger. These apps only require a Wi-Fi connection, and remove the need for you to pay roaming costs for calls and texts. The only downside to relying on Wi-Fi is that it’s not available everywhere, and it could leave you out in a lurch when you need it the most. You never know what the free Wi-Fi network will be like in a foreign city – some places offer free Wi-Fi all throughout the CBD, while in other places you may find yourself having to sit in a McDonald’s every time you want to check your google maps.

Benefits: Local Sim

A local, prepaid sim card is by far the cheapest option if you’re going to travel to any one country for a week or more. Depending on the country, the costs for using calls, texts and data will be roughly the same as you pay at home. You don’t have to worry about roaming at all, because you can switch your sim card out for a local one as soon as you reach your destination, and your carrier won’t even know you’re away. Local sim cards provide you with all the calls, texts and data you need during your trip. You have the benefit of being able to call local numbers to your destination at a fraction of the price that roaming would charge you, and you can stay online wherever you go without having to rely on Wi-Fi. If you’re travelling somewhere completely foreign, figuring out how to get your hands on a local sim can be an issue, let alone understanding what your new plan consists of. At Sim Corner, we take all this hassle out of ordering prepaid sims, by having an easy-to-understand ecommerce site offering the best deals in a huge range of countries. Your travel sim will arrive at your door before your trip, and will be ready to plug into your phone as soon as you’re on the plane.

Get a Local Sim at SimCorner

It always pays to think ahead before going overseas. If you are keen to go down the local route when figuring out your overseas budget, talk to SimCorner today. We have a huge range of travel sims NZ wide, available for delivery in time for your trip.

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