One of the most expensive charges you can accumulate from using your mobile data connection is by far roaming charges. Business owners know this very well, having to travel and using mobile data can be an economical nightmare. Frequent travelers and globetrotters face the same challenge and while it may be impossible to get a better deal from your service provider, there are ways to still get connected without racking up a huge bill to pay when you come back home.
Roaming charges also often represent an unexpected expense that most will not include in their traveling expenses. The time most of us spend on finding the best price on booking hotel rooms, travel tickets and car rentals is time well invested but seeing those savings evaporate away when you have to pay hundreds of dollars to use your connecting on roaming networks can be heartbreaking. We have compiled a few tips and ways to reduce this handicap while allowing you to get work done and connect with your loved ones abroad.
Use Skype on VPN for Calls and Chat
Skype chat is a great way to make phone calls and video chatting with business partners or family members when abroad. Using a public Wi-Fi connection will allow you to have all the Skype features without having to worry about your roaming bill. If phone calls are part of your needs, Skype offers cheap calling plans that cost pennies per minute. When compared to roaming charges, this is minuscule and well worth the investment. Additionally, if the user at the other end of the call uses Skype, neither of you actually have to pay for anything, making it a great way to stay connected with everyone at home. The same applies to other similar popular apps, such as Viber.
But, there’s an easier and cheaper way than paying for Skype minutes. By combining a VPN service with Skype, you can change location to the country you need to make a call to, in order to allow free unlimited local calling. At the same time, the VPN connection will protect your devices while using unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots.
Turn Off Data Roaming
This is simple and straight to the point, but the most important first step to take. All smartphones and mobile devices allow you to turn roaming off and should be done so as soon as you turn on your device at your destination. Roaming charges can be applied just for being connected to the local cellular data network and can add up to astronomical amounts. Turning it off when you are not using it is your number one priority.
Get a Travel Roaming Plan
Almost all service providers offer roaming plans for travelers. Checking with your service provider on these may say you considerable amounts of money when you have no other choice but to use your connection. Although these plans lower the cost, it does not provide you unlimited access and needs to be planned for sparse usage when mostly needed.
Purchase Local SIM Card and Mobile Packages
One of the most common methods that frequent travelers use to avoid roaming charges, is to simply purchase a SIM card and basic pre-paid package from local mobile service providers. For this to work, you need to ensure your mobile device is unlocked, this allows it to be utilized with any SIM card and network worldwide. Most services provide a locked device that only works with their SIM. These services often offer to unlock you device for less than 50$ and while this is an extra investment of funds and time, it is often the most economical method for heavy users to get the service they need.
Wi-Fi Hotspots with VPN
Wi-Fi hotspots are becoming more and more commonly found in public areas worldwide. Hotels, coffee shops, shopping malls and airports will often provide free Wi-Fi access on high speed connections, allowing you to get your online work done while using all online services while completely circumventing roaming charges since you are not utilizing the local mobile network.
With that said, we often speak of the dangers of using public Wi-Fi. This is where the usage of a VPN service is very important. While using these hotspots, the VPN will encrypt all your flowing data, ensuring local hackers and attackers cannot take advantage of unsuspecting users on public Wi-Fi.