Save Money On Roaming Charges In Europe

Shutterstock / Roman Samborskyi © Lady on mobile overseas Pic: Shutterstock

Your case is packed, your tickets are printed, but have you given any thought to your mobile phone, and more precisely, how much it will cost to use when you are enjoying your travels in Europe? To avoid any nasty surprises when you return home, we asked Jamie Kavanagh, contributor at, to give us an update and advice on roaming charges in Europe…

When the UK was part of the EU, mobile networks were not allowed to charge you extra for using your phone while travelling within the European Union.

This was referred to as roaming. Networks gave you the ability to roam wherever you liked, while using your contracted minutes, texts and data at no extra charge.

If you travelled anywhere within the EU, you could use your phone the same as at home without any extra fees. Outwith the EU, there were additional costs to pay.

Have things changed since Brexit?

As the UK has now left the EU, that has all changed.

Networks can now charge whatever they like when you travel within the EU.

How Much Does Data Roaming Cost?

The cost of roaming depends on your network. Each has approached roaming in its own way but charges are largely the same right now. We have competition to thank for that!

Vodafone charges from £2 per day to use your phone abroad. Their pricing structure is a little complicated so it’s worth checking before you travel.

Three also charges £2 per day for their Go Roam for Europe option.

EE is also charging £2 per day to roam within the EU.

If you’re planning to travel and know you’ll need your phone, we recommend checking with your network before you leave. Better safe than sorry!

Do Any Providers Offer Free Roaming?

So far in 2022, a number of providers still offer free roaming (correct at time of publication).

Those providers include:

  • Asda
  • BT mobile
  • GiffGaff (up to 5GB)
  • Plusnet
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Lebara
  • ID mobile
  • Plusnet
  • Smarty
  • O2
  • Virgin
  • Voxi

Each of these companies have stated they currently have no intention of reintroducing roaming charges. However, the industry changes fast so always check before you leave.

Will I Have the Same Amount of Data Available?

Roaming should technically include exactly the same number of free minutes, data and texts as you enjoy here at home.

However, to keep things sensible, each provider has fair use policies. This is to keep everyone’s use reasonable while abroad.

Each provider handles this in their own way but average fair use data caps range between 10-25GB.

Just like using your phone contract at home, exceed your limits, or the fair use limits, and you can expect to be charged extra for it.

How Can I Reduce Roaming Costs?

If you’re planning to travel and think you may exceed your contracted minutes, texts or data, there are a couple of things you can do.

We recommend:

  • Download movies, maps and audio before you leave home. If you’re planning to use your phone to watch movies or listen to music, download them prior to your holiday. You can also download Google Maps or other maps before you leave too. This will save a lot of data.
  • Use WiFi wherever possible. If you’re staying somewhere with WiFi, use it for downloads, system updates, WiFi calling. Use it as much as you can so you don’t use mobile data or voice minutes.
  • Turn off roaming. You can manually disable mobile data on your phone if you think you’ll use more than your data cap. We would recommend turning off roaming and turning it on only when you need it.
  • Buy a local SIM. If you’re going to be travelling for a while, it may be worth buying a local SIM. You could use a PAYG SIM for your local area and pay a lot less for local calls and texts. This is more suitable for longer holidays, but could save you money.


Although we have left the EU, not all mobile networks have reverted back to high charges and potential bill shock. Take some time before you go to find out what your network charges.

If you haven’t reviewed your mobile contract in a while and are planning to travel, it might be worth comparing deals to see if you can get roaming for free.

If you’re travelling for longer, it’s definitely worth considering a local SIM card. Most newer phones are unlocked so it should work fine!

Don’t miss our Money Talk pages within every issue of My Weekly. Great advice to help you save money in so many different ways!

Sept 10 issue cover