Know your options when it comes to using your phone abroad, so you don’t spend more than you have to.
Using your mobile phone abroad used to be very costly and an overpriced data roaming bill isn’t something your travel insurance will cover.
Luckily, the rules around data roaming are changing, with data caps and like-for-like data charges helping to control your costs when you're overseas.
In 2017, Ofcom ruled that calls, texts and data usage in the European Union, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein will cost the same as in the UK.
This applies to pay-monthly and pay-as-you-go customers, but you should check with your provider to make sure it applies to your phone tariff.
Providers should automatically apply ‘roam like at home’ to all existing and new customers, so you don’t need to sign up.
However, if you’re going on holiday outside the included countries, roaming charges are usually very high.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, this ruling will no longer apply and it will be up to the network provider to decide how much they charge.
Regardless of what happens with the ‘roam like at home’ rule, there will still be a mobile roaming data use limit of £45 per month.
This means you’ll receive alerts when you’ve used 80% and then again at 100% of your data allowance, so you don’t accidentally overspend.
You can find out more about the rules on data roaming abroad on the government’s website.
If you’re using data anywhere outside the EU, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein - or if the UK leaves the EU without a deal - then you’ll need a data roaming add-on.
Otherwise, you’ll only be able to access the internet via a wi-fi connection, which isn’t always possible, depending on where you’re travelling to.
You can buy a roaming add-on before you travel so you know exactly what you’re getting, or when you get to your destination.
Buying a data roaming add-on abroad means the price will vary, depending on which country you’re in.
Calls, texts and data use in countries that aren’t included in ‘roam like at home’ will not be charged as the same as in UK.
Here’s a few ways to save money while using your phone abroad:
Bear in mind that your phone will need to be ‘unlocked’ for you to use a different SIM card and you’ll usually have to have ID to buy one.