One of the biggest bugbears for most travellers today whether away on business or pleasure is how easy it is to rack up a huge mobile phone bill from calls, texts, emails and internet usage. If you don’t own a mobile phone today, you’re in the minority, and not just a mobile phone, but a smartphone at that – so this is a huge issue effecting millions of people when they travel abroad.

Unless you plan ahead before you go away then you could come home to a bill substantially more than you are used to. However, it doesn’t have to be that way, with a bit of smart planning you can go away and not have to worry about making and receiving calls, texts or the amount of data you are using.

A recent poll on businesstraveller.com resulted in approximately 41% of their readers stating they have bought a local sim card for those countries they most frequently travel to. Whilst this is a great way to make serious savings on mobile costs, buying sim cards locally isn’t always easy. Some countries have strict registration processes to even buy a local sim card and if you can the activation time can take anything up to 48 hours.

This blog post highlights some of the best solutions available today that can help travellers keep their mobile costs within a more affordable budget when travelling overseas without having to resort to turning off their data roaming. One point worth stressing with the majority of solutions below, you must ensure your mobile is unlocked so you can change the sim card.  Requesting your network operator to unlock your device is perfectly OK but some operators may charge to do this.

Global Sims
One solution worth investigating is buying a global sim card, there are several companies who sell these – http://www.gosim.com, http://www.worldsim.com, http://www.0044.co.uk and http://www.togglemobile.co.uk , all global sims will certainly provide considerable savings versus using your regular network sim card. Some of the above companies also offer sim cards for certain individual locations too.

Local Sims
http://www.ritesim.com allows consumers to purchase local prepaid sim cards before they go away. Right now Ritesim offers 50+ countries worldwide where customers can buy a local sim card. Customers buying a sim through Ritesim will receive a number local to the destination being visited where all calls, texts and data are charged at local rates, international calls are often discounted and incoming calls are completely free of charge.

Customers simply select the destination they are travelling to and are then presented with a choice of different prepaid sim packages to choose from, some destinations also offer a data only package that may appeal to some. Whatever Ritesim package is chosen, customers also have the ability to top up their sim online in an instant and at any time of day.

Global Network Operators
Another solution that might be suitable is switching to https://www.truphone.com, the world’s first global network operator.

A Truphone sim card works in over 220 countries, gives customers low rates on voice calls, texts and data usage, as well as the ability to hold multiple international numbers on their device.

Mobile Hotspot
If data is your main need when you travel abroad and you’re not confident Wi-Fi is widely available, then perhaps a personal mobile hotspot is the answer.

Uros Goodspeed (http://uros.com/public/goodspeed.html) is a nifty bit of kit, the pocket size device provides wireless internet access across 9 European countries. You simply purchase, at a fixed rate, a sim for each country you wish to use the device and you can connect up to 5 different devices to it at a time. You can also use your own personal sim in the device when you’re at home.

Whether you travel regularly on business or just take an occasional leisure trip, if you want to have the peace of mind that you can make and receive calls, texts and emails without it costing you an arm and a leg, then check out the suggestions above, as any of the above options will be sure to save you a bundle.

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Simon blogs regularly about business travel, in particular he enjoys identifying and writing about new products and services that can make life a little easier when travelling overseas.