Take These Simple Steps To Avoid Data Roaming Charges

If you’re not careful, using your phone abroad could lead to hefty charges.

Mobile data has changed the landscape of mobile technology for good by making it simple to access the web, even when you’re away from home. But if you stray too far – for example, into another country – you may incur roaming charges, which can add up quickly. Fortunately, avoiding these charges is simple, and we’ll tell you how it’s done. But first, let’s address the basics – what is data roaming?

Quick answer: Roaming charges occur when you use your phone outside your carrier’s coverage area. Avoid them by adjusting data settings, using airplane mode, and downloading content for offline use.

Woman and man taking selfie outside on trip

Data roaming defined

Be careful while using data abroad, and know your carrier’s rates ahead of time.

The term “roaming” simply refers to the action of sending a text, making a call, or using mobile data outside of your service provider’s coverage area. In order to perform the action, your phone needs to find service, even if it’s not what you’d typically use. If service from another network is available, your phone will successfully complete whatever it is you were trying to do, and the charges are applied to your bill. Roaming charges are fairly manageable in some cases, but certain carrier’s rates may seem excessive. It depends largely on your particular plan, as well as your carrier’s general policies, so be careful while using data abroad, and brush up on your carrier’s rates ahead of time.

Avoiding data charges

Looking to avoid coming home to a hefty phone bill after your next international trip? Here are a few simple methods to help make sure roaming charges don’t take a toll on your travels.

  • Use airplane mode. This feature’s benefits don’t end when your plane touches down. To the contrary, many travelers elect to keep airplane mode on throughout their travels, as it prevents your phone from accessing both call and data services while still allowing you to use Wi-Fi.
  • Download the content you need. Uncertain how to get to your hotel without directions? Most navigation apps let you download offline maps while you’re on WiFi, so you can find your way to key destinations. Likewise, you can often download movies, music, and other types of media for offline use on streaming apps.
  • Adjust your data settings. If you’d like to avoid data usage altogether, simply turning off your phone’s data services makes it easy to keep roaming charges at bay. Alternatively, many modern phones, including iPhone devices, feature a specific mobile roaming setting that can be turned on and off as necessary. Finally, most devices let you adjust data usage settings for each app that requires data, and switching these permissions off is another potential solution.

Enjoy your trip

Gearing up for travel season? Make sure you’re outfitted with a phone that helps you keep in touch with friends and family throughout your trip. Find a brand-new device and pick out an affordable plan that's sure to keep you reliably connected with Tracfone. If you need to make phone calls outside of the country, consider picking up a Tracfone $10 Global Calling Card§.

§The $10 Global Calling Card must be combined with another Tracfone Service Plan to work. International long distance service is available to select destinations only, which are subject to change at any time. Calls must originate from the US or Puerto Rico only. No international roaming allowed. Only for personal use. Calls are billed in one-minute increments. Airtime minutes will be deducted plus the cost of the International call. Rates are subject to change without prior notice. Card benefits expires after 180 days of last use or 30 days after your service is suspended, whichever occurs first.