So, over the past couple of years I’ve been lucky enough to have done a decent amount of traveling and the one thing that has been an absolute godsend is my smartphone and having a great network like Three.
Three are currently the only network that allows you to use your contract allowance of minutes, texts and data abroad at no extra cost. This allowed me to use my unlimited internet to do research on places, use Google maps to find locations and get me home when I was lost amongst other things. Lucky for me their service was available in the destinations I was travelling to. These included America, Hong Kong, Australia and Ireland. There are 16 countries in total at the moment with more on the way. If you do a lot of travelling then I highly recommend joining Three for this feature alone.
How does this compare to other networks?
Quite simply it doesn’t. Three are miles ahead of their competitors when it comes to roaming abroad.
Vodafone have two options for going and abroad and using your UK minutes, texts and data. Within Europe there is a £2 a day Vodafone EuroTraveller package or for outside of Europe there is a £5 day WorldTraveller package. Just from this it’s easy to see how the costs will still rack up with that daily charge. £5 a day over a 2 week holiday is already £70. Still, I suppose it’s better than not having the package and racking up an even higher bill!
O2 have a similar charge of £1.99 (Europe) that is only charged for days you use your data as well. There are still charges for sending texts (5p) and for making or receiving calls between countries in Europe (50p connection charge).
EE have a £2 charge as well for Europe. This gives you unlimited calls and texts whilst abroad and is only charged when you make or receive calls or send a text.
I’m not going to waste time discussing the other networks as quite frankly they are not worth your time! There’s only one choice for me and that’s Three’s Feel at Home promise at no extra charge.
How can I keep costs low if I don’t have free roaming or a roaming package?
If you’re not on Three and don’t want to pay extra for a roaming add-on then the obvious thing to do is try and use Wi-Fi wherever possible. You can use iMessage, Facebook Messenger, What’s App for sending messages or something like Viber, FaceTime or Skype for voice/video calls as well.
It’s free to receive texts anywhere in the world so you can always be contacted and to arrange a time to get online.
I also can’t stress how important a local SIM card can be especially if you need to communicate within the country of your travel. Using your UK SIM is a guaranteed way to get back home to a bill shock as you’ll be charged at international rates. In most situations a combination of using What’s App and having Three’s Feel at Home was enough for me but depending on the whether you are traveling in a group, have family abroad or need to make urgent calls then a local number can be great asset. This will allow you to contact people and also for them to contact you at local rates.