Avoiding Bill Shock

by Sunday, June 16, 2019

Catriona Rowntree shares her top tips on how to avoid bill shock while travelling overseas, in this week’s Catriona’s Check-in.

I was waiting in a coffee queue the other day, when I noticed an article in the newspaper about bill shock. You know, that horrendous feeling when you return from an overseas trip to find your mobile phone bill is more than the price of your plane ticket! Ah, good times.

I was actually more shocked that people are still experiencing this. Let me tell you I’ve gone through this a couple of times, thankfully years ago. But clearly we still need to be reminded of a few basic tips prior to travelling overseas, if we intend on using our phones.

I asked the team at Getaway about their tips, and was surprised to learn that a colleague’s phone had been hacked whilst using the hotel wifi. They all agreed that we all need reminding about exorbitant wifi fees, particularly if you don’t travel overseas that often. So, we put together our our top 10 tech-savvy tips to avoid bill shock below.

The Getaway team’s Top Tips to avoid bill shock:

  1. Chat to your local provider before leaving to research what deals they have and possibly set up a ‘travel pass.’
  2. Turn your wifi and mobile data off the moment you board the plane to head overseas.
  3. Turn off any push notifications or location services.
  4. Buy a local SIM card as soon as you land. I often ask them to place the card in my phone, and I also keep a paper clip on me at all time for easy access to the SIM card. I generally sticky tape my home SIM to the back of my phone, or somewhere safe. Many phones offer a Dual SIM card option too, which is great for travellers.
  5. Buy a prepaid data card, or one with a set amount.
  6. We all use WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger when away, it’s particularly good in Europe. Set it up, (just download the app) before you go away and you can even do video calls which is great for those of us with children or loved ones we crave to see.
  7. Always look for cafes etc that offer free wifi, if you’d like to save your data.
  8. Be careful if you use the free wifi, with a public password, you can still get hacked. It’s not common, but it can happen.
  9. Have a charged, battery pack with you all the time. Buy one, maybe buy two like me so it’s always handy, but get in the habit of always keeping a charged one in your bag ready to rock.
  10. Back up everything on your phone before you leave home. Take a photo of any important details, just in case you lose your phone and make sure those pics are backed up too.

Now, I hope I’ve not freaked any of you out, but truly just want to remind you, so you can avoid any stress in your wonderful journey to come.

Plus, this way you can save your hard earned cash to support great causes, like last month’s Royal Flying Doctors ‘Flick us a Flynn‘ campaign.

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