How to Avoid International Roaming Charges on your Phone

In today’s guide, we’ll talk about how to avoid international roaming charges. If you are like me, then you did jump at every opportunity to cut out those extra bills or phone-related costs or not. 

Every time I visit another nation I always get wary of the drain on my finances due to exorbitant roaming fees. Now, I came to discover that it does not have to be so and could be avoided.

Do you get scared about downloading those lovely videos, and uploading your videos and pictures online? No doubt, the fear of the enormous cost of data on roaming could stop you from sending photos and videos to family and friends when out of town. 

The same fear affects using social media networks, checking your emails, and more. It could sometimes create a bore out of an exciting trip you wish to share with loved ones.

As the summer season fully sets in, a lot of people are known to travel to more eco-friendly climes. But in return, you are welcomed to the shocking news of the huge roaming fees waiting for them. Surprised? Well, don’t be because here is how it works.

How data roaming service and charges work

Now, when you make international trips, you most times depend on another mobile network service provider to access the internet. So, you end up using the global mobile service network as well as your local cellular service network. 

The international networks charge you for using out-station service while the domestic service charge for using the service outside your usual station. It does not stop your local mobile service provider from charging you. So data charge comes on both ends.

The good thing for those under the European Union is that with the new cap in July 2013 on data roaming charges within Europe they have a little advantage over others. Most mobile service providers incorporate limitations or caps on roaming charges. But users could still end up with huge international data fees at the end of the day. However, this is what to do to avoid the extra charges on your mobile devices.

How to avoid phone charges when traveling internationally?

Follow these easy steps to get rid of the costly roaming charges, no matter if you travel for one day or a week, these easy tricks can save you a lot of money with global phone carriers.

1. Turn off local data usage

One of the advisable things to do would be to turn off your domestic data roaming before leaving your country of residence. When you keep local data roaming on before your trip, you are bound to meet huge data charges on the return.

When overseas you can take advantage of free data services, and available free Wi-Fi services in hotels, restaurants, cafes, and other public places. But be careful about accessing your bank accounts or making purchases when using this option or accessing free Wi-Fi service from a general location.

Also, once you turn on your data, use it as you require, and then turn it off speedily again. And always use a VPN to secure that data and even access Youtube from countries that are supposed to be blocked for viewing content.

2. Purchase an alternative SIM or phone

When out of your locality, it could be a lot cheaper to purchase cheap SIM cards for data access. Using a new SIM card in your new location can help eliminate international data roaming charges automatically.

Also, we recommend using Mobal, it’s one of the best ways to get international cell phone services. It will give you a global SIM with a phone if you want for life, and you only pay when you call with DATA turned off by default.

You can quickly get a specialist to unlock your phone to use other SIM cards, so that shouldn’t be a problem. Using local service providers could save you as much as 90% international data roaming costs by using such companies as the above-mentioned one. Also, some apps can help to get disposable phone numbers.

3. Go with your network service provider

Put a call through to your mobile service carrier and see what packages for international data roaming they have. Most cellular service carriers in the US like Verizon, have individual data bundles or services you can use internationally. But you might not know if you do not ask. It could be a win-win situation in the end.

4. Opt for daily or monthly plans

Yes, you could settle for daily data charges at a flat rate, some network service providers provide the option for daily flat rates of say, $2 per day. So that way you can still enjoy good data usage when you’re traveling to other countries overseas.

5. Do all significant data functions before traveling

As much as possible, make sure to download everything you need for your trip before traveling. That way, you would only need the internet for less crucial functions that might not take so much data. You can download your movies, videos, city maps, guides, books, and more before leaving town.

6. Watch out for data roaming interference

You could find yourself commuting between two nearby cities where two nearby networks might interfere. Your phone could pick up the other network and then it looks like you are using a different network service provider. You will be charged across both networks so make sure to check and turn off data roaming.

7. Social media network

Social network platforms like Skype and Whatsapp allow you to make calls and send messages at lower rates. By using social network platforms, you can save costs on data and roaming.

8. iPhone iMessage

iPhone has unique apps that allow free messaging amongst iPhone users, and you can take advantage of that to send messages at lower rates. With data, the network is turned off and you switch to using Wi-Fi for browsing at a lower price.

9. Disable all notifications

Push Notifications and Auto-Synching are two features that can affect consumer data both locally and internationally. When you receive a notification for emails, the network provider will charge for the service.

To disable push notifications for iPhone:

  • Go to Settings, next click on it
  • Now, click on Contact
  • Then, Mail & Calendar
  • Go to Fetch New Data and click to turn off Push Notifications. Or to disable iPhone Notifications manually for iPhone you can click on Notification Centre to turn Notification off.

To disable auto-syncing for android phones:

Go to phone Settings > go to Accounts & sync > click to turn off Auto-Synch.

10. Turn off Data Roaming on iPhone and Android

For Blackberry devices:

  • Go to Options
  • Then, go to General and click on it
  • Find “Network” and click on it
  • Go to switch off data roaming and click on it.

For Samsung devices and other Android phones:

  • On your phone, find the Settings menu
  • Find “More settings” and click
  • Go to Mobile networks  and click
  • Finally, go to data services  and click Off

For iPhones:

  • Starts with “Settings”
  • Find “General”
  • Go to Network
  • Choose off data roaming

Pick from a variety of options to save you the stress of those huge international data roaming charges. Apps like My Data Manager and Onavo app can help you control and alert you about data usage and roaming. Having access to a couple of those packages before you commence your trip is just what you need now to keep your bank account still looking fat.


We hope you found these tips helpful, next time when you travel, make sure you have a global mobile device. It’s great and cost-effective at the same time. We tested different options and the Mobal solution is the best way to get rid of phone roaming surprising bills.

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