Prepare Your Mobile For The Holidays
Before you set off on your summer holidays, take steps to avoid a huge mobile bill on your return. We’ve also including some tips and tricks to help you keep your data safe.
Free Mobile Roaming In The EU (With A Catch: 1)
If you’re travelling to Andorra or Switzerland these countries are not included in the EU’s free roaming zone. Check with your mobile provider in case they do they include them with your tariff.
But remember that you don’t need to enter either of these countries, or other countries on the border with the EU, for your phone to switch over to another network. Networks don’t start and end at the geographical border, so before you use your phone to binge watch your favourite TV series, check for any SMS message from your provider:
- When using an operator in another EU country you’ll be reminded that there are no roaming charges but that the “fair use” policy may be applied.
- For other countries you’ll be informed of the applicable tariffs.
Free Mobile Roaming In The EU (With A Catch: 2)
Watch out for the “fair and reasonable use” clause.
For anyone who uses their phone more in their “home” country, where the mobile tariff is contracted, there won’t be a problem when you occasionally travel.
However if you have a phone contracted in another country your mobile operator may charge for “permanent” roaming. These charges are capped, more info available on the EU website.
Travelling By Boat Or Plane
Within the EU there are no roaming charges but you must connect to a land-based mobile network.
Watch out if you connect to a satellite system as there are no price caps on usage.
Travelling Outside The EU?
Before you go speak with your mobile operator. Some have special packages for the USA and other countries.
Alternatively check if you could buy and use a local SIM card. Some companies will deliver to your hotel, but it may not be cheap.
Disable Your Voicemail Service
If you’re travelling outside the EU consider disabling your voicemail service if this charges for use. Disable and enable the service either via a code sent by SMS or online.
Watch Out With Public WiFi
Not all free WiFi connections, even with a password, are safe to use.
Most hotels have used the same password for years and any hacker could easily get access. Additionally hotels and other locations don’t tend to enable all security features or implement security updates.
Avoid connecting to your bank and other apps or websites that require sensitive personal data until you come home.
If you really need to use a credit card on a public free WiFi connection, get a prepaid card with a low limit. If it’s hacked you’ll only lose up to the limit on the card.
Tip: Turn off the “connect to any available WiFi network” feature on your phone. Additionally make sure your Bluetooth connection is disabled.
Check Website URLs
If using a public WiFi connection when using the internet, check that any site you visit is HTTPS. The “S” stands for secure and encrypts the data.
Update Your Apps
Software updates often fix vulnerabilities, so update your apps before you leave.
Download Google Translate
When travelling abroad use Google Translate to type or speak a phrase to see or hear the translation. You can also use the app for signs and menus to get a translation immediately.
Before leaving make sure you download the languages beforehand. Then when you don’t have internet access you can still get written translations.
Back Up Your Data
If your phone gets lost or stolen you could lose all your photos and contacts details. Back up your data to the cloud before you leave (via the Settings app).
If you have free roaming consider also backing up your photos during your holiday.
Protect Your Device
Get a waterproof case and protect your phone from the sea (or the rain!). The best cases also provide protection from the sand.
Take a look at Amazon Spain, however beware generic cases that won’t fit well and will probably let water in.