Order summary

Loading Cart

Norton McAfee Moneyback
Home Blog Should You Keep Your Data Roaming On Or Off?

Should You Keep Your Data Roaming On Or Off?

When we travel, it is common to try to save money to spend on tourism and attractions. And today, with technology already part of our lives, many travelers also think about how to use their phones while being abroad.

One of the options that you have to be connected in a different country is to use the data roaming option. However, does it worth it? Is it as expensive as people say? And if the answer is yes, are there other options to stay connected abroad?

Let’s continue reading and find the answers to these questions:

Data Roaming: Explained

If you have heard the term “roaming” before, you most likely associate it with the word “expensive”. If you have not heard about that, let’s give you a quick overview of this.

Data roaming is the mobile service that you use when you are in a foreign country. Remember that your cell phone can work at home by using the signal provided by the towers owned by your operator. This allows you to make calls, send text messages and navigate through the internet.

However, when you are in a different country, your cell phone can connect to a tower owned by another operator and allows you to use your cell phone as if you were at home. This is what people call “roam”.

As you can expect, roaming fees are expensive and avoided by many people when they travel. Let’s understand the reason for this:

Why Is Data Roaming So Expensive?

If you travel to another country for a couple of days and use your data with the data roaming option activated, you may end with a bill of hundreds of dollars to pay. Something that would not happen at home, where mobile fees are (most of the time) affordable.

When you roam, your phone operator needs to pay a fee to an operator in the other country to allow you to use your cell phone with an available cell network. The thing is that this agreement has a high cost. There is no limit; the operator can charge your phone operator with a ridiculous amount of money if they want to. This is also because they do not have many options: accept the high fees or do not offer the service of “roam like at home”.

To give you an idea, the international roaming charges for U.S. customers are around $1.50 per minute, 50 cents per SMS, and $5 to $10 per MB of data. Now, knowing that web surfing can cost around 2.5 MB per minute, you will notice that it is not cheap.

Add to this that your cell phone uses background data, which is always checking for new notifications and keeping your apps up to date, without you actively using the app.

Of course, if we are willing to spend lots of money on this service, we need to say that you will be able to travel comfortably.

Using your cell phone like at home gives you the chance of keeping in contact with your family or friends at home by using your phone number. You will not notice that change, but it is important to understand that the service is pricey.

Now, what happens if you do not want to use data roaming? What other options are available?

How To Turn Off Data Roaming

Turning off the data roaming option in your phone will ensure that you will not have any expensive bills at the end of your trip. Let’s learn how to disable this option:

  • Find on your phone the “Settings” option. Click on it.
  • After that, touch “Connections” or “Wireless and networks”. The name could change depending on the model.
  • Then, touch “Mobile Networks” or “Cellular Networks”.
  • Finally, touch the Data Roaming slider to change the option from on to off.

Other additional recommendations are to turn off your cellular data or put your cell phone on airplane mode. Doing this is simple, you just need to swipe down the notification bar, then look for the mobile data icon or the airplane mode and click to disable.

Now we know how to turn off the data roaming option to avoid high charges. However, we will not want to be disconnected in a foreign country!

So, what other options are available? Let’s take a look:

How to Stay Connected Abroad

When we travel around the world, especially to a new destination, it is very common to think: what is the best way to stay connected? We all know that nowadays we use the internet for everything. Your smartphone can be very useful to find new destinations and communicate with your beloved ones at home.

We do not want to rule out the roaming option because, in the end, it is an easy and comfortable way to continue using your cell phone in a different country. However let’s know the other options available, so you could choose the one that fits you better.

  • Use a pocket Wi-Fi or Mobile Hotspot: This small device can fit easily in your pocket and allows you to connect your smartphone to an internet connection wherever you are. It works using a local SIM card. The good thing about using pocket Wi-Fi is that more than one person (up to ten) can be connected to the device and enjoy the internet connection. It works with a password, so you can be sure that just you and the people in your group will be using the Wi-Fi.
  • Use public Wi-Fi Spots: If you are traveling on a tight budget and do not want to spend much money on internet costs, one option could be to use the Wi-Fi available in public places. Two worldwide places that offer free Wi-Fi are Starbucks and McDonald’s.
  • Buy a local or international SIM card: This is one of the best ways to stay connected abroad. You will be able to use your phone just by using another SIM card that will allow you to make calls, send messages and use the internet. All without the cost of data roaming. If you want to find a local SIM card, you can search online the mobile operators from the country where you are going. They usually have plans for tourists that include all the services to be used for days, weeks, or months.

An international SIM card is also a great option. We want to recommend SimOptions SIM cards to you because they work with the best mobile networks around the world to provide the best relation quality-price and high-speed internet.

You can order your SIM card online on its website, and then you will get your card when you arrive in the country. What is better: If you are going to travel to another country too, SimOptions SIM cards have coverage in several countries.

With several options available, there are no excuses for not being connected while traveling without wasting much money!