Abroad? Find the best phone plans with international roaming
The borders are finally opening, and the holidays abroad can resume. You’ve picked your destination, your passport has been renewed, and you’re already mentally drinking a Mai Tai on the beach and uploading some ‘Wanderlust’ on Instagram.
Until you realize your social media uploads will cost you an arm and a leg if you don’t have a global roaming phone plan.
Roaming globally is one of the least enjoyable parts of planning a vacation. Still, it’s important to ensure you can continue using your phone abroad without the astronomical bill. Some providers offer better deals than others, so check out some of the best international roaming plans below to keep you online and contactable while traveling.
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International roaming with Vodafone
Global roaming isn’t cheap, but Vodafone’s postpaid plans have certainly made it more attractive, with $5 roaming on all postpaid plans.
It can be used in over 100 countries and is only charged on the days you call, text, or use data. You can use $5 roaming for up to 90 days per calendar year, but if you exceed your primary data limit while abroad, you will be charged an additional $5 per gigabyte.
The Vodafone postpaid plans below all include $5 roaming – make sure the country you’re visiting is covered by $5 roaming before you go, or else you’ll come home with a rather high and annoying bill.
International roaming with Optus
Optus offers roaming add-ons, which you can access via the Optus app if you have an Optus Choice Plus, Optus Plus Family, or Optus Plus Kids mobile subscription. It’s $5 for 5 GB for 24 hours, or you can pay $35 upfront for 35 GB of data with a 7-day expiration date. And you get unlimited talk and text.
These Optus postpaid plans are all compatible with roaming add-ons:
It’s worth noting that Optus’ roaming options only work in Zone 1 countries. Including:
USASingaporeNew ZealandFranceChinaHong KongPolandSwedenNorwayUnited Kingdom
See the Optus website for a full list of countries included.
If you travel to a Zone 2 country, you mus must pay per use. Rates vary from country to country, but you’re usually looking at $1.50 per minute of call, $0.50 per text, and $1 per megabyte of data.
International roaming with Telstra
Get an International Day pass if you have an Upfront Telstra plan and want to travel abroad. You pay $10 per day for a daily amount of 500 MB.
If you travel to New Zealand, the price drops to $5. If you exceed your 500MB data limit, you’ll be charged an additional $10 for 1GB, which can be used for the next 30 days. Plus, you get unlimited calls and texts, but if you want to send an MMS, you’ll be charged 0.75 cents per MMS. Telstra roaming works in more than 80 destinations. Check the Telstra website for the complete list.
Here is Telstra’s range of Upfront plans:
If you have a Telstra Upfront plan and are traveling outside of an eligible destination, you won’t be able to use your service. Telstra does not offer you the option to pay per use.
If you’re using an International Day Pass, your inclusions will expire at midnight Australian time (AEST) instead of based on your destination time zone. Don’t forget to set a clock for AEST, so you don’t forget.
International roaming with Felix
Felix is one of the few smaller carriers with a decent global roaming option. While most mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs – which is Felix) pay-as-you-go rates or offer no roaming at all, Felix mobile has a roaming package that will set you back just $20 and give you 4 GB of international data, 100 texts, and 100 minutes—conversation with an expiration date of one year. Using as much public Wi-Fi as you can find while traveling, 4GB can last your entire trip.
Here’s Felix’s mobile plan:
Before going abroad
There are two important things to remember when taking your Australian phone abroad. First, you must ensure it works on the networks at your destination. While most telcos tend to support popular destinations, it’s always worth checking that the country you’re traveling to is included in your plan before you go.
And if you plan on using a local SIM card, your phone must be unlocked. And if you bought your phone in full or with a postpaid plan in the past few years, it will open. The only telephones sold locked today are prepaid devices.
Of course, you should also consider whether the plan is right for you daily. Unless you spend a significant amount of time abroad, the local inclusions of your project will be more important than the international inclusions. There’s no point in getting a program that doesn’t meet your needs in Australia to try and save a few bucks while traveling.
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