What to do with your phone when you go overseas on holiday

When you go overseas on holidays I often have spent a bit more than I expected. I’ve heard it said that when you pack to go overseas – you should take ½ the clothes and 4 times the money!

Getting back from your trip the last thing you want is a huge mobile bill added to everything else you have spent. Below are some ways to keep in contact overseas without blowing the budget.

In Summary:

Short Holiday

Communicating -Either send text messages and/or go to internet cafes to send emails.

Phone –switch the phone off when not expecting calls or change to manual updates

Longer holiday

Get a local sim card or a phone card to make calls.

Use Skype to call


Turn off auto update – make sure you phone is on manual update.

Remember that data is expensive and will be charged in addition to your cap when overseas. So  use the net sparingly (or not at all).

Receiving Phone Calls

Remember that receiving calls you can still get charged (the caller usually pays the local rate and you pay the difference).

So don’t answer if it is a casual call (cancel the call and send a text that you are overseas). Obviously answer the phone if you suspect an emergency/important call – there are a lot more important things than paying a bit more on the next phone bill.

Making Calls and Texts

Texts are often the same price overseas and may be included in your cap.

Communicate with text where possible. Be aware that 5 texts each (between you and another person) at 25c ($2.50) is probably cheaper than a 1 minute conversation (which is used up very quickly!!).

Emails & Internet

Internet cafes are often cheap. While there is a security risk (i.e. your keystrokes could be used to hack your account you logged into), you might be willing to compromise your email/facebook to communicate with friends.

Get a local sim/phone card

This can be a great cheap way to keep in contact with others on the trip with you. Spending $50 for a few weeks holiday to have instant communication – rather than paying an extra $X when you get home could be a better deal (and a better way of knowing what your costs will be upfront).

Use Skype

Skype is a great way to keep in contact with people. If you are only overseas for a few weeks, you might be happy to send an email – but for long periods of time (when you start to get lonely and your family starts to miss you) – Skype is a great option. You might want to make sure your family/friends can use it before you go, then just tee up a time when you are over there (remembering to take the time difference into account!).

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