Top tips to avoid a shock roaming mobile phone bill this summer and why doing your homework is key

ARE you heading abroad soon? If so, be sure to avoid a shock roaming mobile phone bill.

Since Brexit, many operators are charging for making calls, sending texts and using the internet in Europe — and you will pay even more for going further afield.

How to avoid a shock mobile bill this summer with our easy roaming tips


How to avoid a shock mobile bill this summer with our easy roaming tipsCredit: Getty

James Francis, sales director at refurbished phone-seller Mozillion, said: “If you are using your phone abroad, make sure you are 100 per cent clear on the allowances you can use within your plan.

“Often, the charges for going over these allowances are hefty, especially for phone calls and data.

“You don’t want to get a surprise, massive phone bill when you return.”

Harriet Cooke explores the best options to go for.

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Roaming charges will vary by country, and your network. Check before travelling.

You might be lucky.

Some networks do not charge anything extra for EU roaming in their pay-monthly and pay-as-you-go deals, notably O2, giffgaff and Lebara.

But others charge a daily rate, typically around £2.50, for being able to access your usual allowance of calls, texts and internet data in the EU.

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If you are in a contract, it is £2.47 a day with EE, £2 a day with Three and for Vodafone, £2.25 a day, although bundles are available.

If you are happy to pay the flat daily rate for the duration of your trip, then you might end up paying around £25 for a ten-day holiday.

I’m a travel expert – here’s how I avoid data roaming costs abroad

But be aware that you might not get your full allowance, as mobile providers have data roaming limits, which can be as little as 5GB during the trip.

Outside the EU, charges are more expensive.

If you are an EE customer in America without a roaming add-on or a roaming plan, it will cost up to £1.66 per minute to make and receive calls, 82p per text and £6.74 per day for 500MB of data.

That means it is important to find the right deal before going.


Do not exceed your data roaming limit as it can mean paying stiff rates.

You should be notified by your provider when you have reached its data cap.

Providers operate differently.

Some, like, EE will stop you using the internet if you use your whole allowance or hit a data cap, others such as Three will continue to charge you at special roaming rates, but you will receive plenty of warning.

For calls or texts, once you have exceeded your own allowance you will be charged by the minute for every call and for every text you send.

Most providers have a £45 a month spending cap on data for customers overseas.

You should also be able to set your own cap as well.

If you hit this, you will definitely not be able to use the internet on your phone any more, unless you have wifi.

Calls and texts can still be made, but again they will be more expensive if you have gone over your allowance’s limit.

Be careful. Scottish politician Michael Matheson famously racked up an £11,000 bill after his sons watched a football match on an iPad in Morocco in 2022.


Look at your provider’s roaming charge, data limits and what you will pay if you go over them.

If it is not sufficient, you could ask them to change your plan to include roaming, buy a bolt-on or switch to a provider that does.

This is a good option if you plan to travel frequently or for longer than a week.

For example, if you are going away for seven days or more and are on EE, it may be cheaper to add a Roam Aboard Pass to your plan. It costs £25 for the month.

Or you might be able to get it as an inclusive extra, says James Francis.

The pass lets you use your minutes, texts or data in 47 European destinations, plus the US, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand.

Three customers who do not have roaming included in their contract can buy a three-day European plan for £5, a seven-day plan for £12 or 14-day for £24.

Those going outside Europe can buy Go Roam Around The World Passes, starting at £12.50 for three days.

O2 users do not need roaming passes for Europe.

But if they are heading further afield, they can buy an O2 Travel Bolt On for £6 a day that will give unlimited calls, texts and data across 63 countries including the US and Australia.


If you do not want to switch to another provider permanently, buy a new SIM and to use it while you are away.

Monthly rolling plans are great as you are not tied in to a long contract, so you can cancel when you come back from your holiday.

Check a price comparison site such as, or for SIM-only deals.


You can filter by their monthly cost to see the lowest prices and the results will state if EU roaming is included.


If you are worried about running up charges, one easy solution is to not use your phone abroad, or only access the internet on wifi.

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