Why phoning home from holiday doesn’t need to cost a fortune

Phoning home can be expensive.
Phoning home can be expensive.

Lying on a beach, sleeping under canvas, climbing a mountain, canoeing down a river...

However you spend your summer holidays, when we talk about getting away from it all, what we all really mean is leaving our daily stresses behind us.

But for too long, there’s been one element of worry which has been packed along with our suncream and sunglasses – just how much phoning home on our mobiles could cost us.

Going abroad with our mobile phones has long been a financial headache thanks to expensive “roaming charges”.

But now we can all say adieu and adios to those extra charges – well at least when we visit European Union countries.

New regulations mean that from now consumers can use mobile devices when travelling in the EU on exactly the same terms as we do here in the UK.

So any voice call, text message or data use when travelling in the EU will be charged exactly as if you were at home.

Best of all, it doesn’t matter whether you are on the most expensive contract with a top-of-the-market phone or on pay-as-you-go with an old handset from the back of a drawer. The rules still apply.

But of course this doesn’t mean you can roam the world with your phone without racking up extra charges.

It only applies to the EU and the European Economic Area, which includes Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and Iceland – if you’re going to Croatia or Turkey or further afield like America or the Caribbean, you’ll still face roaming charges.

And remember that call- ing an EU country while you’re in the UK isn’t regarded as “roaming” so phone providers can still charge what they like for those calls.

Our research at Which? has shown that O2 and Vodafone charge £1.50 a minute to call a Spanish mobile while Giffgaff and Talk Mobile charge 9p and 20p respectively.

So as ever it’s important to take a close look at what is and is not in your deal.

But at least if you’re relaxing on the French Riviera or sunning yourself on the Costa Brava, you can call home safe in the knowledge it’s not costa-ing you a small fortune.

TELEPHONE TIPS

* Always use free wifi whenever you can. Costs for exceeding your bundle can be enormous.

* Download entertainment before you leave the UK if you are going outside the EU.

* Always check your deal. It is generally better to upgrade a package in the UK than pay excess charges.

* Organise a free internet-based call and messaging service such as Whatsapp, Skype, or Line to avoid costs on calls to people you often phone.