Need to keep in touch with friends and family when you're overseas, or just can't bear to travel without your phone? Follow these 6 tips to avoid coming home to a whopping bill...
1. Choose your SIM card wisely
Wherever you are in the world, get great rates for texting and calling other countries with a Lebara international pass
. The rates for international calls are rock-bottom: 1p/minute to Poland, 2p/minute to Canada, Thailand and the USA – to name but a few. Simply choose which country you'll need to call, then purchase the credit online – you'll need to request a Lebara SIM card if you haven't already got one. It's simple, cheap, and fool-proof – so that's one easy thing ticked off your pre-trip to-do list.
2. Unlock your phone
To use a new SIM card, you'll need to make sure your phone is 'unlocked' – ie able to work with different networks – otherwise, it won't accept an international SIM. It's not illegal to unlock your phone, but it will probably invalidate your warranty.
3. Switch off data roaming
If you've got international calls covered, the one thing that might send your bill sky-high is data roaming – so switch it off as soon as you get on the plane. That way, any apps or services you use on your phone won't be able to access it, so you won't have any hidden charges. If you do need to access the internet, seek out WiFi – even if you have to buy a coffee to access some free browsing, it'll probably be much cheaper than roaming rates.
4. Use your mobile like a pager
If your family need to get hold of you, ask them to text you – it'll be much cheaper for them than calling you, and you don't have to pay to receive text messages. Take advantage of your cheap international calling rates and give them a buzz instead. With a bit of planning, this will save you (and your family and friends) lots of money.
5. Buy a cheap phone
Chances are, you've got a pricey smartphone that you'd prefer not to lose/break/drop in a swimming pool – so if you're off on a long-term trip, consider buying a back-up phone. Pick up a cheap model for day-to-day use and leave your posh phone at home. You won't have to worry about claiming on your insurance if it's lost or stolen, and it'll probably be a lot more robust than your big-screen swanky phone.
6. Remember the date
If you buy an international call package, make a note of how long it lasts for. Lebara's international passes last from 7 to 30 days – so to get the most out of your credit, don't start the package until you need it. You can request for it to be automatically renewed as soon as the package runs out, but if you buy a one-off pass you'll be charged at the normal international call rate after the end date. So if you're travelling long-term, it pays to sign up for the auto-renew option. This article was produced in partnership with Lebara Mobile – for more information, visit lebara.co.uk Main image: Woman talking on phone on beach (Shutterstock)