Young woman using cell phone in airport


What you need to know about global roaming

Published May 26th, 2014

Heading overseas? If you take your Aussie mobile overseas, it may automatically connect to a local network. And while this sounds useful – as it will allow you to make and receive calls and texts – it may end up costing you lots of money. Here’s how you can ensure that you don’t get hit with a hefty bill from your phone provider when you get back home.



Why Global Roaming Costs So Much

One of the main reasons for the inflated fees is that all calls, messages and mobile data used while overseas are counted in addition to your standard tariff. And, although you may have thousands of texts and minutes of calls included while you're in Australia, the same doesn't apply when you’re overseas.

Another factor that catches many travellers unaware is that while they’re abroad, it not only costs money to make a call, but also to receive one.

While roaming, you'll also be able to use internet facilities. Again, this will be outside your standard package. And as many countries have slower networks than Australia, you may wait longer for a page to load, emails to come through, or an app to download.


Tips To Keep Global Roaming Costs Down

One of the biggest causes of a high phone bill is high internet usage. But, you may not want to leave your phone at home and be completely out of touch. Taking an older model phone without internet capabilities, or being very strict with only using wi-fi connections, can save a lot of money. Data roaming can easily be turned off on all major smartphones and you can still use wi-fi while in aeroplane mode.

Once you've found somewhere that you can get a reliable internet connection, make use of free apps. Messaging services like WhatsApp helps you keep in touch with people easily, while VOIP services like Skype or Viber let you make calls for free. Just be sure to stop these apps going online automatically after you use them.

If you're determined to take your smartphone, be sure to turn off automatic updates and push/pull settings that will connect to the internet without your knowledge.

Do a little research and make sure you have switched off or modified all the appropriate settings on your phone, so you won’t come back to any nasty surprises.



Travel SIMs

You may feel that you really need to use your phone to its full potential – calls, texts, internet, apps, streaming and more – on your overseas trip. If so, then getting a SIM card that is designed for travel can be a great investment while you're away.

We've got a range of SIM cards designed to help you avoid excessive charges but still keep you in easy contact with those at home. Prices start from $22, and depending on which you choose, you’ll have access to networks in a number of countries – free call collect in many of them. You’ll also get competitive charges on calls, texts and more.


Student Flights' Guest Bloggers

At Student Flights, we've tapped into the knowledge of travel experts and gave them the task to write guest blog articles for us. These posts are written by Guest Bloggers who understand what it takes to travel far and wide - making your dollar go that little bit further. So during the planning stage of your next big trip, have a read of what our Guest Bloggers have to say.