Tips for using your mobile phone when travelling

Sending photos, checking emails or simply calling with your mobile from abroad can be expensive! To avoid unpleasant surprises, it is better to take the lead.

The problem with the mobile phone is that the temptation to call or surf the Internet is great, even when on holiday abroad. However, as soon as you cross the borders of your country, communications can be (very) expensive! Unless you have subscribed to an “international” package, you will pay much more for each call or SMS made and received and each Web connection. Here are some tips to avoid receiving a large invoice when you return from your vacation…

Buy a local SIM card

It is known that a good solution is to buy a prepaid SIM card on the spot. You will have a new telephone number during your stay, and you will benefit from local rates, which are more advantageous than if you kept your original SIM card. Visit simoptions.com and learn more about prepaid SIM cards. Be careful, to take advantage of this good plan, you must, before leaving, unlock or unlock your phone (or use an old one without a SIM card) in order to make it accessible to any operator. Ask your operator, who must do it for free.

Know the international rates

Abroad, telephone calls, SMS and Internet connections are charged outside the fixed price, i.e. they are not deducted from the subscription you have subscribed to! This is called “roaming” or roaming. The call capacity of the package is, in fact, only valid on French territory. Even the DOM-TOM is not necessarily included in your package. It is therefore important to find out about the international rates charged by your operator before you leave (see their fare brochure). However, for your calls and SMSs made and received from Europe, operators must apply the Eurotariff since 2010: they cannot charge you more than a limit set by a European regulation. As of July 1st, a call from a European country to France will cost you €0.29 per minute, a call received €0.085 per minute and an SMS just 10 cents. It is on calls outside Europe that operators are “catching up”, as tariffs are not capped this time. For example, from Canada, Bouygues charges 2.30 €/min, Orange 1.18 €/min and SFR 1.20 €/min.

Setting up your phone

Be careful if you own a smartphone because the special feature of this type of device is that it automatically connects to the Internet, for example to update applications. You absolutely must block your phone to avoid these updates abroad or you will pay a lot of money. These miniconnections can be repeated several times per hour and are invoiced, again, outside the fixed price. It is not a question of completely deactivating the phone, but of setting it up in such a way as to prevent these updates via the data connection. Go to the “Settings” function of your phone and consult the user manual if necessary. It is always possible to disable the 3G (data) network to use only Wi-Fi alone.

Enjoy Wi-Fi spots

Hotels, bars, museums, post offices… Many private and public institutions now offer Wi-Fi connection for free or at a minimal cost. So why not take advantage of it? One day we received a request for help from a young man who went on holiday to Reunion Island and who, on his return, received a bill from his telephone operator for €3,000. He had surfed the Internet a lot and sent pictures to his family via the web and social networks…. The operator has never wanted to make any commercial gesture because he considers that today, with the democratization of smartphones, people are supposed to be aware of it. Thanks to public Wi-Fi spots, you can not only read your emails or send photos to your friends and family, but also make free calls via smart apps.

 

Practical advice before your trip
Practical tips for your trip