Mobile Phones: in the Sun

By: J Tillotson

If you travel a lot, chances are you'll spend quite a bit on mobile phone roaming charges. Like almost everything else in the UK, international roaming charges are expensive, but there are ways to reduce the amount you spend.

How you save money will largely depend on your individual requirements as a traveller. If you're a frequent flyer, or you go away for long periods at a time, it would be worth thinking about investing in a local SIM card - you won't have to pay call charges as you'll be connected to a local network, and you won't be charged for incoming calls either.

This option works best if you plan on making more than an hour's worth of calls, as the SIM cards tend to cost between ?15 - ?30. If you frequent the same country you could buy one of their SIM cards, otherwise go for a Global SIM. This will work almost anywhere in the world and is ideal for back-packers, international business travellers or people on round-the-world holidays, for example. The Global SIM has an automatic top-up option too, so if you can't get anywhere to add credit, this will do it for you. You can opt out of it if you don't want to add more credit than necessary.

Alternatively, if you don't travel very often, buying a local SIM might be an unnecessary expense. Instead, look for a UK network which offers cheaper international call rates. You'll also need a tri-band or quad-band phone which will work abroad.

Another thing to remember if you're taking your phone abroad is to keep it in your sight at all times. It may also be worth having it insured if it's a more expensive handset. Your travel insurance may cover this, so check your policy.

Compare the latest tri or quad-band mobile phones and cheap mobile phones online. Look for pay as you go mobile phones if you don't want to pay monthly.

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