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Mobile phones

Nobody wants to come home to an enormous mobile phone bill after an enjoyable trip away, but it’s easy to be caught out by charges. Here’s some advice to help limit the cost of using your mobile phone while travelling.

Mobile phone costs abroad

Charges for using your mobile phone abroad are called ‘roaming’ charges. Before you leave home, check with your provider how much you will be charged for calls, texts and the internet usage in the country you’re visiting.

If you’ve recently taken out a contract or changed provider, you should check that roaming has been activated. Your provider should send you information via text to confirm international terms and conditions when roaming is activated.

Limiting your costs

Many mobile phone providers allow pay-monthly customers roaming in the EU to use inclusive minutes or texts from their standard UK tariff for a fixed daily charge. Find out what your phone company offers, but be sure to read the small print before making calls.

If you travel frequently to the same country, think about buying a local pay-as-you-go SIM card for your existing phone. You’ll only be charged local call-rates, which may work out cheaper if you use your mobile phone a lot.

Data connection abroad

Turn off data roaming abroad. You can run up a big bill without actively using your phone because smartphones and 3G/4G-enabled tablets automatically seek internet connections and use them to update apps.

Using Wi-Fi only can lower the cost of going online, and stop your battery from draining. The amount you’ll pay for using other mobile services –such as email, websites and downloads – will depend on the local internet charges for Wi-Fi hotspots in the country you’re visiting.

Reduce the amount of data you use by downloading what you need over your home Wi-Fi before you travel. Downloading or streaming films may become extremely expensive abroad, particularly outside EU countries.

Protecting your mobile phone

Put a passcode on your phone to make it more difficult for thieves to use, and cut the risk of them running up a large bill before you can report the theft.

Mobile phones are an easy target for pickpockets abroad, so it’s important to make sure your phone is covered before you go. American Express Gadget Insurance covers you for up to maximum of £1,500 per gadget. There are two policy types to choose from Multi and Single gadget cover.

Further information

For more guidance on protecting your belongings abroad, and advice on what to do if they are stolen visit our safety and travel section.

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The content of these pages are for general information only, They do not constitute advice and must not be acted or relied on as being so.