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What to do in order to prevent any unexpected phone bills when returning from your holiday

August 2016

It’s not something we all think about before going on holiday, but having the horrific feeling hit you, after seeing an unexpected phone bill on your doormat welcoming you home is not what anyone wants. In order to stop you experiencing this horror, here are our top tips on what to do to prevent any unexpected phone bills when returning from your holiday

Warn your phone company

If you intend to travel with your phone, be sure to warn your phone company before you are set to travel. Warning them allows them to not become suspicious of foreign activity and cut off your phone altogether due to fraudulent behaviour.

Your phone company will most likely be able to offer you a cap restricting how much data you can use abroad. You may be able to personalise this cap to fit you and how much data, phone calls, and texts you use.

Turn your data roaming off before take-off

Data roaming is where you phone automatically seeks out internet and service connection. Having data roaming switch on while abroad could mean that your phone is processing connection without you even realising. This can lead to some very ugly bills waiting for you back at home if not switched off. Our top tip is to switch off data roaming when you put your phone on airplane mode before take-off!

Buy a local SIM card

Buying a local SIM card can be a great way of not having to worry about whether or not you are creating a big phone bill for yourself. Some airports now even have SIM card vending machines for tourists, so you don’t need to hunt for one!

best holiday phone

Use free Wi-Fi where possible

Most hotels, airports, restaurants, and shopping centres now have free Wi-Fi. Make the most of the costless internet and check all of your social media pages on it guilt free, knowing that you won't be racking up a huge phone bill for your future self.

If you want to upload a picture of your hotdog legs, or your sun lounger selfie, but have no free Wi-Fi, tell yourself that the pictures can wait for you to upload them, and that they don’t need to be uploaded there and then costing your future self a fortune!

You can also make calls and send messages using free Wi-Fi, rather than using up your mobile data. Internet calls and messages can be made through apps including Facebook, Skype and WhatsApp.

best holiday selfies

Turn off automatic app updates and push notifications

A push notification is a message sent by app publishers that pops up on a user's phone. The user does not have to have the app open in order to receive these messages, as they can receive them at any time. These notifications, along with automatic app updates, can use data without you even doing anything! Be sure to turn these off before you travel in order not to be hit by any unexpected charges.

Download what you need before you set off

Downloading content can be one of the costly things you could do on your phone while away. In order to ensure you don’t get hit by any hefty fees, downloading what you need before you set off will mean you will not have to download your content abroad. Be sure that if you are downloading TV programmes or movies before you travel, to have enough for both the journey out there, and the journey back!

best holiday tablet

FYI: Although new rules have recently been bought into place by the EU to cap phone use charges when abroad, these rules do not apply outside of the Union. Popular destinations with Brits including Turkey, and the U.S., could see your phone bill rocket if you decided to use your phone in these places. This cap is only accessible to us for the short amount of time that we remain in the EU. The government will assess this rule and it will be up to them if we continue with it or not.

Don’t forget, you can get your travel insurance from DirectTravel at either or ring our friendly team on 0330 880 3600.