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110 posts

Master Geek
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Topic # 148918 5-Jul-2014 12:19
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For a 4 week holiday in Europe (several countries), how can we best avoid bill shock?

Specifically, we have four people using 2degrees pre-pay Android mobiles, with a need for a small volume of calls and some data (mostly for Google Maps, to find our way around).

The 2degrees website lists roaming charges of $4.39/minute for calls and $10/MB for data for many countries, though some are cheaper. What options do we have for more modest rates when travelling around Europe?

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  Reply # 1081412 5-Jul-2014 12:47
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I'd get some SIM cards from a provider such as three (UK) in advance - their roaming rates are very reasonable (eg 10p per MB in France).  You can get the SIMs on ebay.  Then either divert your 2degrees calls to your new UK number or switch to an announcement-only voicemail message with that number.  Then swap the SIMs on arrival in Europe.



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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1081543 5-Jul-2014 17:19
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shk292: I'd get some SIM cards from a provider such as three (UK) in advance - their roaming rates are very reasonable (eg 10p per MB in France).  You can get the SIMs on ebay.  Then either divert your 2degrees calls to your new UK number or switch to an announcement-only voicemail message with that number.  Then swap the SIMs on arrival in Europe.

That option looks like it has potential. Helpfully, they cover all of the countries we're going to.

Anyone got any other suggestions?

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 1081551 5-Jul-2014 17:45
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SUggestions really depend on how much you really want to use your phone.

If you want to make any real use your phone while roaming then 2degrees isn't really an option, either buy a SIM over there and roam or move to Vodafone with their $5 day roaming.



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  Reply # 1081559 5-Jul-2014 18:20
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shk292's suggestion is probably the best one - if you're sticking with one of 3's deal countries (Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Norway, the Republic of Ireland, Sweden or Switzerland) then they would be the best deal, or if you're going to be outside those countries, ee has some good data add-ons you could use (as well as a great deal giving you 10GB of UK data if you top up £15 on their pay as you go card). See this page for more info.

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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1081569 5-Jul-2014 19:02
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As previously suggested, the best way is to try and find a local simcard that will cover the majority of the countries you will be visiting whilst over there in Europe. Data charges can quickly add up, and you will find that trying to use an NZ plan and/or provider (with the exception of Vodafone's new service) can be prohibitory expensive.

Another thought if you are going to be travelling mainly in city areas while overseas is that McDonalds usually have free wifi available which will allow you to communicate and find things -Useful to keep in mind especially for those countries that may not be covered by your european simcard. It's usually not all too hard to find those 'golden arches' especially in touristy hotspots.

Another thing that I keep loaded on my phone (I have an iPhone, however) is an offline maps app, which allows me to download certain cities/countries in advance and do not require use of a internet connection to use GPS, as well as including some major POI information. I'm sure there will be similar mapping applications available for Android - someone here on GZ may know of one.

Happy travels!

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  Reply # 1081610 5-Jul-2014 20:56
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I would turn off data roaming on your mobiles and take a Pocket WiFi device.  At each country buy a local SIM card and the mobiles can access this device's 3G internet connection via WiFi when it it turned on.

2D have one - you'll just need to ask them whether it can use another provider's SIM card.  http://www.2degreesmobile.co.nz/mobile-data/devices

I
f you can;t use theirs overseas because it is locked, there are plenty of unlocked models from other providers.




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  Reply # 1081741 6-Jul-2014 09:36
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jtan: Another thing that I keep loaded on my phone (I have an iPhone, however) is an offline maps app, which allows me to download certain cities/countries in advance and do not require use of a internet connection to use GPS, as well as including some major POI information.


Can I ask what iPhone app you use for this? I'm going to San Francisco in a couple of weeks and I want to try and get by without needing a local SIM, so your suggestion above would be a big help.

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  Reply # 1081744 6-Jul-2014 09:39
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alasta:
jtan: Another thing that I keep loaded on my phone (I have an iPhone, however) is an offline maps app, which allows me to download certain cities/countries in advance and do not require use of a internet connection to use GPS, as well as including some major POI information.


Can I ask what iPhone app you use for this? I'm going to San Francisco in a couple of weeks and I want to try and get by without needing a local SIM, so your suggestion above would be a big help.

I don't know if it's available in IOS, but NavFree works very well on Android, with free downloadable maps available for most countries.  Occasionally not quite a accurate as google maps, but good enough.

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  Reply # 1081748 6-Jul-2014 10:00
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I've done a lot of travel around Europe and I'm sure you will definitely find local SIMs best. I eventually ended up using a UK one for the whole of Europe as the rates are better than roaming on a NZ SIM and that way I didn't have the hassle of changing in each country. Being on prepay, there won't be any shocks, just run out of pounds and then top up! It would be worth looking into the different SIM's and pricing available, but I ended up getting a Giff Gaff SIM (essentially O2 UK but no frills!) and it was cheap as chips and roamed seamlessly. I don't know how easy it is to get a SIM from NZ though. The other thing is that pretty much all EU hotels/backpackers have free Wifi for keeping in touch and there are so many offline maps and travel apps you can download, you might not need data out and about at all which will always be cheaper!

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  Reply # 1081749 6-Jul-2014 10:09
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natedog: I've done a lot of travel around Europe and I'm sure you will definitely find local SIMs best. I eventually ended up using a UK one for the whole of Europe as the rates are better than roaming on a NZ SIM and that way I didn't have the hassle of changing in each country. Being on prepay, there won't be any shocks, just run out of pounds and then top up! It would be worth looking into the different SIM's and pricing available, but I ended up getting a Giff Gaff SIM (essentially O2 UK but no frills!) and it was cheap as chips and roamed seamlessly. I don't know how easy it is to get a SIM from NZ though. The other thing is that pretty much all EU hotels/backpackers have free Wifi for keeping in touch and there are so many offline maps and travel apps you can download, you might not need data out and about at all which will always be cheaper!

I've also used giffgaff - I didn't recommend them on this occasion because I don't think they allowed roaming when I used them, although I see they do now.  I found their service to be quite good, UK coverage not as good as some networks but OK.  They are very well set up for online account management.  Giffgaff also used to be anti-tethering but that has now changed, so for 10UKP you can get a bundle inc 1GB and 500 minutes


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  Reply # 1081790 6-Jul-2014 11:49
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shk292:
alasta: Can I ask what iPhone app you use for this? I'm going to San Francisco in a couple of weeks and I want to try and get by without needing a local SIM, so your suggestion above would be a big help.

I don't know if it's available in IOS, but NavFree works very well on Android, with free downloadable maps available for most countries.  Occasionally not quite a accurate as google maps, but good enough.


Thanks. I found it in the App Store, so will give it a go.



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  Reply # 1081846 6-Jul-2014 14:42
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Both Three and GiffGaff look like good options. Another option that has been suggested is www.traveltalksim.com. The EU has just reduced maximum roaming mobile charges, as of 1 July, so that helps too.

It pays to check the fine print, though, as there are some traps. For example, on Three: "To benefit from Feel At Home, SIM only phone customers must have been with Three for more than 30 days".

Thanks for the suggestions.


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  Reply # 1082134 6-Jul-2014 23:12
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alasta:
jtan: Another thing that I keep loaded on my phone (I have an iPhone, however) is an offline maps app, which allows me to download certain cities/countries in advance and do not require use of a internet connection to use GPS, as well as including some major POI information.


Can I ask what iPhone app you use for this? I'm going to San Francisco in a couple of weeks and I want to try and get by without needing a local SIM, so your suggestion above would be a big help.


The app I've used in the past is Ulmon Pro CityMaps2Go, I think it's a paid app in the store but from memory I downloaded it free when it was on promotion. Various maps and regions are available, and you can set up 'pins' and various bookmarks in advance on the map so when you get to your destination it is easy to navigate to etc. Searchable POI's are available for each map as well. Unfortunately it doesn't have 'routes' to pins or bookmarks but you can see where you are on the map and where your pin is and find your own way to it.

Hope this helps.

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1082155 7-Jul-2014 07:26
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Which European countries are you visiting, and when? Personally I went with an Alditalk SIM from Germany. Has a pretty decent 30-day plan for 8 EUR in Germany, and for 5 EUR you get 150MB data to use in 7 days in any other EU country, as well as dirt cheap calls from one Alditalk SIM to another. The EU's cracked down on roaming rates significantly recently, so any EU SIM card won't be too expensive when roaming within the EU.

My parents are currently using it on their trip to Germany (and buying another), but I can probably lend that to you once they get back, if you haven't left yet.

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  Reply # 1082351 7-Jul-2014 12:24
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shk292: I'd get some SIM cards from a provider such as three (UK) in advance - their roaming rates are very reasonable (eg 10p per MB in France).  You can get the SIMs on ebay.  Then either divert your 2degrees calls to your new UK number or switch to an announcement-only voicemail message with that number.  Then swap the SIMs on arrival in Europe.


Just to note you can't call forward to an overseas provider's number. 

BTW, we've reduced the roaming charges for Pay Monthly and Business customers in Australia - International roaming on 2degrees

Cheers
^POB

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