September 30, 2023

The Queens County Citizen

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Beware of huge bills for data charges while travelling

Beware of huge bills for data charges while travelling

If you use your phone and tablet while traveling, you may incur prohibitive costs.

Some use their phone or tablet to pay their hotel, restaurant or car rental bill, rent self-service bicycles (instead of taking out a credit card), follow a hiking trail, use GPS, find out about nearby restaurants or post photos. On Instagram and Facebook.

Consequently, many receive a huge bill from their cellular operator because their plan does not include roaming charges abroad. Here are some tips to avoid this situation.

Before leaving

Disconnect roaming when leaving the plane or at customs, in the car (wandering around) data on your devices. Of course, you can receive calls and texts, but this mode is still expensive.

The most convenient way is to choose a daily roaming plan offered by your cellular provider: for $10 to $12 in Canada and the United States and $12 to $15 per day in a large number of countries, you can use your devices while you are in Quebec.

In general, you don’t pay anything until you receive or send a text or call. These packages can be ordered online at your supplier’s website, where you can check the countries covered.

If you’re the type to rarely use your devices while traveling, you can opt to pay as you go. Charges vary, but on average we’re talking about 75 cents per text (not pictured), $5 per MB of data, and $1.60 per minute of calling. However, some providers offer monthly data blocks for Canada and the United States for $7 to $10, but limits apply.

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Local SIM card

You can still use local cellular networks. It is a cheap method and very popular among experienced travelers.

Make sure your device is unlocked. At the destination, you buy a SIM card at a convenience store or at a local supplier’s store (for example T-Mobile in the United States, Vodafone or Orange in Europe). You request a non-committal package for the duration of your trip and you inherit a local cell phone number (your device must be compatible). However, your normal number will no longer work. You can also suspend your service in Quebec for the duration of the trip. To avoid surprises, you can opt for à la carte prepaid plans.

You can also subscribe to the Roam Mobile mobile router service ( for a certain period (for example: 100 GB, 20 Mbps speed, 90 days for 5 devices): we mail you a gadget that works in more than 150 countries for $12 to $15 a day, It will return you after your journey. You can also buy some models (GlocalMe).


On cruise ships, you have access to Wi-Fi networks provided by the cruise line.

Daily roaming plans from your regular cellular provider are not applicable on these ships. Worse, when you’re in offshore waters, these services operate via satellite: your bill could explode.


Wi-Fi abroad is always risky. Only use public Wi-Fi networks that are accessible by password. Never make bank transactions or credit card purchases from these networks. Enable auto-lock after a few minutes of non-use and use passcodes for all your devices.

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Activate your Bluetooth as little as possible in crowded public places like airports, train stations or festivals. Only use your charger: Some public chargers download malware to your devices without your knowledge!

Finally, if your device is stolen, contact your provider, who can deactivate it remotely.


  • Check which app is consuming more mobile data and change the settings accordingly. Download your Google Maps to your device to use them offline before you go.
  • Disable automatic app or upload updates.
  • Your provider must notify you when overseas charges reach or exceed $100.
  • As soon as you’re in a hotel or a place with access to a free Wi-Fi network, switch to airplane mode. You can’t receive calls or texts or browse the web over cellular networks, but you can over Wi-Fi.
  • Limit your roaming charges with Skype, FaceTime or Google Duo; Text with WhatsApp, Message with Messenger on Facebook.
  • Use a free Wi-Fi network locator app like Wi-Fi Finder, Wi-Fi Map, Wiman or Instabridge.

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