Using your mobile phone overseas can be an expensive exercise. But it doesn’t have to be. Many telcos now offer special deals on global roaming. You can save even more money by purchasing a local SIM card at your destination.

If you want to keep your Australian phone number when travelling overseas, you’ll need to continue using your Australian SIM card. This does lock you in to using your current Australian service provider.

If you have a plan with Vodafone, you can use your phone just like you would at home for $5 per day in many countries. In New Zealand, it’s free.

Like others on this thread, we use the vodaphone $5 international roaming (free in NZ). We also use the family sharing option so my plan costs $50 per month and partner and daughter’s plans are $25 per month (and this gives us 10 gb/month in 50 countries and $300 worth of calls). If I travel alone for business I can claim the $5 per day back from tax.

Vodafone’s $5/day roaming is extremely popular, however it is limited to 90 days per year. Other providers offer their own deals. For example, Telstra now offers global roaming for $10/day – though only 100MB of internet is included.

These are good options if you’re travelling for a short period of time or need to keep your Australian phone number while overseas. But if you’ll be overseas for an extended period, it’s often better to purchase a local SIM card at your destination.

Just get a local sim and pop it in your phone. Despite what you think – You do not need your aussie# connected 24/7 while overseas, and if you do – get a dual sim phone which man are better than iphones anyway.

Using a local SIM card is generally much cheaper. If you’re travelling around Europe, you can even use a single SIM card in multiple countries at no extra cost. The European Union banned global roaming charges last month.

And now that Europe (currently still including UK) have abolished roaming charges, it makes no sense to pay $thousands to Telstra for roaming data charges. For example a one month O2 sim in London comes with effectively unlimited calls (not to Australia), texts and 12G(!) of data for UKP20. No brainer IMHO. Trivial to swap sims if you need to once a day to check for msgs or redirect your Australian number to new number while you are way.

With an abundance of free wifi available in most countries, a small amount of data is often sufficient. But if you do choose a plan with a smaller internet inclusion, one member has a few tips to keep your usage down when not connected to wifi. As well as closing data-hungry Apps running in the background of your phone…

Turn off mobile data until you actually need to use it. And after using it, turn it off again. And don’t use video when data roaming!

How do you use your phone overseas? Share your experience HERE.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]