How to avoid roaming charges

Keep roaming charges to a minimum by following our traveller’s tips.

What is roaming?

In more technical terms, roaming refers to the ability for a cellular customer to automatically make and receive voice calls, send and receive data, or access other services, including home data services, when travelling outside the geographical coverage area of the home network, by means of using a visited network.

1) Talk to Crystaline so that we can best advise what is available to you with the network you are currently using.

2) Turn off data before turning airplane mode on

  1. This ensures your device will not download large amounts of data i.e. your emails as soon as you torn airplane mode off.

3) Use free Wi-Fi wherever possible

Many hotels and café chains now offer wireless internet free of charge.

It’s worth noting, however, that some only offer the service free for a limited period, after which time charges apply.

You should also be aware that Wi-Fi coverage usually only extends to certain areas of a hotel, such as the lobby or a bar.

So if you’ve got roaming switched on, you could automatically be transferred to a local mobile phone network without warning.

Another popular choice of communication over WIFI is WhatsApp calling.

4) Check if your network offers a roaming add-ons

Most carriers now offer the chance to pay a little bit extra and get an add-on that will provide you an allowance of data, texts and minutes to use abroad. If you pay for these, you’ll only pay the price of the add-on and won’t be liable for charges outside that.

If you’re not sure what your network offers for roaming add-ons, call in to our team and we’ll be able to advise you.

EU & ROW – bill shock

5) Don’t opt out of your networks’ usage caps

After years of reports of bill shocks in newspapers, all UK networks except EE now enforce an automatic cap on data usage worldwide. This typically comes in at between £40 and £49.

It’s easy to opt out. You just have to make a phone call. But we heartily recommend you don’t, or risk losing track of your spending and usage.

6) Consider buying a local SIM

To keep the cost of calls and texts messages down, it’s a good idea to buy a local SIM card and top up with pay-as-you-go credit.

To use a local SIM, though, you’ll need an unlocked handset.

7) Check whether your destination is bound by EU regulations

It might surprise you which countries aren’t bound to abide by EU usage caps. Turkey, Northern Cyprus and Egypt are all popular destinations that are outside the EU.

Charges in Switzerland also vary on a network to network basis.


Before travelling if you are unsure of whether your destinations are included within your roaming plan be sure to contact our team where we will be happy to advise you of what is available on your network.