3 Tips To Reduce Data Costs While Travelling

Data can end up costing you a fortune while travelling. Here are three tips to keep in mind next time you plan a trip overseas.
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Published: Friday, October 28th 2016
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If you're fortunate enough to be able to travel, especially overseas, you'll know how annoying it can be when you get back home and find out that you've been charged a fortune in data costs by your network provider. USA, New York State, Rockaway Beach, Woman using cell phone on beach

3 Tips To Reduce Data Costs While Travelling

Here are a few ways to help reduce those costs.

Disable Data Roaming

Roaming happens when you use your cellphone on a network that does not belong to your provider, usually when travelling internationally. If data usage is activated, as part of your roaming, then it means that you're using services like the internet, email or Facebook without Wi-Fi. What this means is that when you roam on another network, the mobile phone company that owns that network sends a bill to your provider. Your provider then bills you and you end up paying far more than you would've paid at home. If you're on iOS, you can turn of your cellular data by following these steps: Go to Settings > Cellular on your iPhone or Settings > Cellular Data on your iPhone (or iPad), then tap Cellular Data.

Track Your Data Usage

Reset your data tracker before you leave the country so that you know exactly how much data you've used while travelling. If you have an iPhone, you can go to Settings > General > Usage ("Cellular Usage" on some phones) to reset your data stats. If you're an Android user, then it's a little bit trickier. Your best option will be to install a data tracker on your Android phone or tablet. Google's Play Store has quite a few to choose from. You'd need to find one that best suits your needs and has a high rating. One of our favourites is Onavo Count. With it you can set up a data cap on your device and you can see which types of apps (music, video etc) are using your data.

Buy a Local SIM Card

Buying a SIM card is often the least expensive way to ensure that you stay connected while travelling. SIM cards can usually be purchased at grocery stores (especially in the United States) or at network provider stores. Or, even certain local corner stores. While it is tempting to go for the big names in telecommunications (AT&T, T Mobile, Vodafone etc.), there are many virtual mobile network operators (MVNOs) which piggyback on the more well-known provider networks. They also tend to offer more data at a lower cost. It's worth researching the various MVNOs available in the country that you'll be visiting.
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