Saving on Internet Cost While Traveling Abroad


Traveling overseas requires a lot of preparation. Besides packing the clothes, you also have to make sure that your communication needs are met during your stay in the foreign country.

Today, people need the internet almost throughout the day — for messenger chats and phone calls,  booking Uber or taxi through mobile app, viewing maps, replying messages on social media, and so on. However, you cannot completely rely on Wi-Fi in public areas, as you will move a lot during your trip.

Here are some ways to save your data plan while traveling abroad:

1. Turn off the data roaming

When you are in a roaming area, it means your mobile device is out of your GSM provider range and it will connect you to another network. Therefore, you will be charged for "renting" the foreign network.

The first thing you need to do before landing in another country is to turn off your data roaming. This can be found in the setting menu, e.g. on iPhone: Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options > Data Roaming OFF (swipe to the left). For a more instant way, you can directly activate the airplane mode while you are still on the plane and only turn off this setting when you have bought a local SIM Card.

"When I’m on transit at a foreign airport, I usually just turn on the airplane mode and use the available Wi-Fi," says Sasa, a travel enthusiast who has visited more than 15 countries within the last few years.

Tip: Some public places that are easy to find and usually provide Wi-Fi, i.e. McDonalds, KFC or Starbucks.

[Read: Ways to Save on Telecommunications While Abroad]

2. Buy Data Roaming Packages from Indonesia

A week before leaving, ask your GSM provider about international data plans that will suit the duration of your trip. Next, compare the prices and convenience with other options, such as buying a local SIM Card at your destination.

Some GSM providers would offer a promotional rate or international roaming programs every now and then, e.g. XL PASS which would enable you to use your current internet quota in 9 foreign countries, for as low as Rp 100,000 for 3 days.

If you choose this option, please note that your phone must be connected to the roaming partner service that cooperates with your GSM provider. The rate may range between Rp 35,000 and Rp 150,000 per day within Asian countries, or between Rp 170,000 and Rp 400,000 per day for European destinations.

Tip: This option is more practical and affordable if your trip only lasts for less than 5 days.

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