How to Beat the International Phone Bill Curse when Travelling Abroad

We all dread our phone bill after an overseas holiday. If managed poorly it can ruin all the good memories from your trip abroad. We use our mobile phone for safety, peace of mind, photography, communication and entertainment but these all come at a cost if we are not careful. Here are the best methods to ensure you don’t come back from your holiday with a costly international phone bill.






Before You Travel:

Turn off Data Roaming


– Data is charged automatically if left on and can skyrocket your monthly bill into the thousands

– I Phonego to your Settings > Mobile > then slide off Mobile Data and Data Roaming

– Androidgo to your settings > Wireless controls > Mobile Network Settings > then uncheck Data Roaming


Turn off Location Services or only use them for apps like maps or travel apps


– I Phone go to settings > privacy > Location Services > slide Locations Services OFF

– Android go to settings > Location > slide Location Services OFF


The most popular option currently is to Get a Prepaid Travel Sim or visit Telstra, Optus, Vodafone or independent operators. Take a look at our comprehensive guide here

Make sure your Handset is unlocked and works with local carriers.

Bring a travel adaptor and charger so your phone doesn’t run out of battery. Portable Travel chargers are reliable options if you are exploring cities and constantly using your phone.




Update you voicemail. Tell people your globetrotting and direct them to an email address as a better way to contact you.

Book a hotel/hostel with Free WIFI. Australian hotels charge for WIFI but this doesn’t mean that foreign hotels do too so shop around when booking accommodation.

Ask your friends which option they chose, maybe they have a Sim that just needs topping up that you could use.

You can leave your phone at home when travelling but let’s be serious; this is almost never going to happen 🙂


When Arriving Overseas

Buy a local prepaid Sim Card when you arrive in your destination. Most arrival airports will have this option and if your phone is unlocked then it is one of the cheapest options. Your usual Australian number will not be available but others apps will still function with (and maybe without) WIFI. Oh and be careful where you store your Aussie Sim card. Definitely learned that lesson the hard way.

Use free WIFI in hotels, cafes, restaurants, shopping centre’s, airports and anywhere else you can log on. If you are walking around a city then take screens shots of maps and pages so you can use them even after you leave your WIFI hot spot.

Use your independent apps for communication rather than your Australian carrier. Email, What’s app, Viber, Skype, We Chat, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Instagram and Facetime can all be used on WIFI with Data Roaming switched off.

If you do not trust your urge to browse social media and have not prepared for well for your phones overseas travel then simply take out you Australian Sim Card and only use your phone when WIFI is available. This option works extremely well as hotel lobbies; cafes and shopping centres usually have free WIFI in most overseas countries.


best selfie phone


Returning Home

Keep your foreign Sim or Travel Sim for the future. Give to friends to borrow on their travels.

If you get stung with a large international phone bill then contact you network provider and negotiate a discount on your plan. Often they will give you some credit allowance if you speak nicely and ask for a reduced bill.

Please Share your International Phone Bill tips, tricks and stories in the comments section so that others can benefit on their travels!

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