The summer holidays have not yet started, but many are already thinking about the trip they are going to take in the coming months. Whether it is a beach or mountain destination, there is an accessory that will accompany us wherever we go: the mobile phone. Our smartphone has become an indispensable adventure companion. We use it for everything: find the best route, pay, talk to our loved ones, photograph and share the most incredible places, book accommodation… and so on an endless list of functions. However, all this is not possible without a good rate of roaming.
One of the main concerns when traveling to a foreign country is the use of mobile data and phone calls. The conditions usually vary depending on the destination and the contracted rate, which can lead to significant additional costs in the telephone bill. To avoid last minute scares, we must be well informed about which countries include roaming and the different offers of the operators. Below, we detail a series of recommendations and indications to take into account before going on vacation outside of Spain.
Check roaming rates
Before leaving Spain it is advisable to find out about the rates of roaming in the country or countries to be visited. Basically you have to look at the price of calls and text messages and the use of mobile data. Since 2017, if you travel through any country of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway you will be able to call, send messages or surf the Internet as if you were in Spain, since the operators apply the same conditions of your national plan, either contract or card.
In this way, all customers of Orange, Vodafone, Movistar and Yoigo (and other operators) will not have to change any of their rates if they travel through countries within the European Economic Area (EEA), which are the following:
Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Finland (including the Aland Islands), France (including Martinique, Guadeloupe, Saint Martin, French Guiana, Réunion and Mayotte), Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy and Vatican City, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal (including Madeira and Azores), the Czech Republic, Romania and Sweden.
Evaluate international rates
Now, if we are going to travel outside the EEA, it is advisable to check the international rates offered by the operators. The amount of calls, SMS or megabytes will vary depending on the country of destination and the company. The different offers available to Movistar, Vodeafone, Orange and Yoigo users are detailed below.
Movistar international rates
Movistar has two prepaid rates (Prepaid Premium and Prepaid Plus) and six normal rates that will vary depending on the country of destination. In the case of Switzerland and the United States, if you have a Contract line, you will have 500MB per day for only 6.05 euros per month, which will allow you to use the browser, manage restaurant and hotel reservations, consult WhatsApp or social networks . You will only pay for the days you consume data.
Movistar offers another five international rates. Speaks the World Bonus, which consists of 300 minutes of calls to landlines and/or mobiles in Canada, USA, Morocco (landlines) and countries of the European Union for 5 euros per month; Bono Habla Latino, which consists of 100 minutes of calls to landlines and mobiles in Latin American countries for 5 euros; Bono Internacional 100, which offers 100 minutes of calls to landlines and mobiles in more than 70 countries for contract customers for 6.05 euros per month; International Bonus 500, the same conditions as the previous one, but with 500 minutes and 30 euros per month; and the International Single Rate, which includes calls to landlines and mobiles in more than 50 countries for €0.22/min, without schedules and for contract customers.
Vodafone international rates
Vodafone offers 3 different rates depending on the zone to which the country to which you are traveling belongs. The company establishes two roaming zones: Zone 1 (European Union, Turkey, United Kingdom and USA) and Zone 2 (the rest of the countries in the world).
Vodafone’s first international rate is the standard rate, which includes calls, SMS and data usage in Zone 1 countries (European Union, Turkey, United Kingdom and USA). Once the gigabytes included in the rate are exceeded, the +Megas service is applied or, if you have not contracted it, the browsing speed is reduced to 16Kbps. You must bear in mind that Andorra, Albania, Bosnia, Montenegro, Serbia and Macedonia do not belong to Zone 1, so the same conditions will not apply.
The second international option of the British operator is the Vodafone World Travel Rate, a daily flat rate ideal for those who travel to countries where roaming is applied (Zone 2), that is, all the regions that do not belong to the Zone 1: from Afghanistan, Andorra, Anguilla or Mexico to the Dominican Republic, Russia, Samoa, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Palestine… This has a cost of 15 euros, although the price and conditions will depend on the type of national rate that is contracted with Vodafone.
Finally, Vodafone also offers the Vodafone World Rate, suitable for use anywhere in the world, paying only for the calls you make, the SMS you send and the data you consume. It is activated by default, and it is the one that applies unless you have activated the World Travel rate.
Orange International Rates
In the case of Orange, if we travel outside the EEA it is advisable to activate the Everywhere service, the energy saving module roaming that allows us to talk and navigate from the mobile wherever we go at a reasonable price.
Activation of EveryWhere is free, has no commitment to stay and can be activated by sending a free SMS to 22095 with the text EW. In this way, we will only pay the day we talk or surf the Internet when we are abroad.
Like Vodafone, Orange establishes two zones of roaming: the Main Zone (Russia, Andorra, Switzerland, the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Chile, Morocco, Japan and China) and the Extended Zone (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Faroe Islands, Guatemala, Guernsey, Honduras, Isle of Man, Jersey, Monaco, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Turkey, San Marino, South Africa, Uruguay and Venezuela).
If we travel to the countries of the main Zone and have EveryWhere activated, we can use 100 MB to browse from the mobile for €7. Once those 100MB are exceeded on the same day, to continue using them, we will be charged a new fee of another 7 euros.
If we travel to the countries of the Extended Zone, you can benefit from a 50% discount on calls made and received at the price per minute of the Basic Rate for 1 euro per day.
Yoigo international rates
Yoigo has three international rates: the Yoigo Móvil 25 GB Promo, which offers unlimited calls and 20 GB for 12 euros for 12 months; the 50 GB Yoigo Móvil Promo, which offers the same but in this case it is 50 GB and 20 euros per month; and the Yoigo Móvil GB Infinitos, with unlimited data and calls for 20 euros for 3 months
Don’t rule out the option of a local SIM card
If you are not convinced by any of the operators’ options or you simply do not have a return ticket and you plan to spend a long time in the destination country, the best alternative is a SIM card from one of the local companies. Usually, getting a prepaid card with a local number is much cheaper than any international rate.
However, this option has a drawback, and that is that you have to use a different phone number than yours. That could be a problem, since we usually have all the access codes and procedures tied to our original device.
A universal adapter and a portable battery
Most travelers will know that when we go to another country we can find a different type of plug than the one we use at home. For this reason, it is highly recommended to carry a universal adapter that allows us to use our mobile charger in any type of plug. Also, it does not hurt to carry a fast charger or a portable battery, we will not always have a plug nearby.