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5 Ways to Avoid International Roaming Charges When Traveling

Roaming charges are the boogieman of international phone users. Suddenly that ominous roaming message pops up to scare the living daylights out of you (and your wallet!) just as you’re settling into a new culture on your travels abroad!

Many of us have learned the hard way that data roaming costs can be excruciatingly high, so just exactly what can be done to avoid them?

Firstly, it’s time to get to know the settings on your phone.  We’ve published previously an article about what to do to avoid these costs on iOS and Android phones.  If this doesn’t apply to you then we highly recommend a web search, specific to your own phone model, on ‘turn off data roaming’. This is a strongly advisable precaution to avoid the shock of an astronomical phone bill when you get home from your travels.

You will of course want to stay in contact with your circle of friends and family while you’re away so it’s worth knowing a little bit about the options available to you once you’ve turned off data roaming and connected your device via Wi-Fi.

1. Skype. Using Skype to make phone calls from your phone/tablet or computer allows you to take advantage of Skype’s low rates and make calls from anywhere, anytime. There’s no international roaming charges added, so you can talk all you need to without high per minute charges.

2. WhatsApp. The handy WhatsApp Messenger is a cross-platform mobile messaging app that is available for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone and Nokia.

3. iPhone. You can use several different apps for free messaging on iPhone, and avoid data roaming charges by locking down your iPhone. Messages between the latest models of iPhone are free with a data plan, using iMessage - just make sure your cellular network is turned off and take advantage of iMessage using Wi-Fi. Click here for more advice.

4. Prepaid SIM cards. WorldSIM is just one of many SIM card providers that offer free incoming and outgoing calls at or near local rates wherever you are. You can save up to 95% compared to international roaming charges simply by using a prepaid SIM.

5. Wi-Fi. Many services offer better rates over Wi-Fi than you will pay with roaming charges. For example, Rebtel users benefit from savings of up to 98% compared to normal international rates and are wholly available via Wi-Fi.  That’s a decent saving for extra souvenirs or and a hotel upgrades!

Don’t forget!  When outside of your operators covered area you will most likely be charged for data roaming privileges.  That is, of course, if you do not act!..  You have the power to take control of this situation so be sure to follow the advice you read above and avoid these insanely expensive roaming charges.