Half a million Australians hit by global roaming fees

Alex Kidman 8 May 2017

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Data charges continue to sting our wallets when we return home from holidays.

Australians love to travel overseas and in today’s interconnected world, we take our smartphones with us everywhere to let folks back home know what it’s like, whether we’re laying on a sunny beach or enjoying some post-ski evening drinks.

While most of us are aware of the higher charges incurred when making calls or sending texts overseas, it appears that we’re still somewhat blasé about our data usage patterns and the serious impact it can have on our mobile bills by the time we return home and have to pay up.

Research from finder.com.au suggests that nearly half a million Australians have been stung by excess mobile usage fees incurred while overseas, with at least one unexpected bill of $278 or higher. That’s more than five times what most Australians spend per month on their mobile bills, which means that those are some seriously expensive ski selfies.

So what’s sucking up our mobile data and the contents of our wallets? Most survey respondents pointed to rich social media apps as the culprit and it’s not hard to see how they could hit you in multiple ways. The temptation to send a picture or video to friends and family can be overwhelming, but equally hard is the allure presented by the classic fear of missing out on what your friends are up to while you’re away.

Every picture, video or even status update ticks up a few more megabytes of usage and if you’re not careful with both your planning and your usage, it’s all too easy to get hit with a serious bill.

Our guide to reducing your mobile roaming usage is a good place to start your holiday planning to minimise charges, but you should also consider whether you’re better off with a full roaming SIM, a local SIM from your destination country or a roaming data pack from your existing provider before you travel. Whatever you do, don’t simply travel and assume that you’ll be fine on your existing plan, because many providers still charge exceptionally high usage fees for roaming data if you accept the default rates.

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