(NC) — While everyone loves to go on holiday, the same can't be said about coming home to outrageous long-distance bills and roaming charges from your mobile phone.
North Vancouver's Anna Marie Garcia, for example, said she had to pay close to $2,000 in roaming and long-distance charges while traveling recently. Since then, she has switched to Mobilicity and pays a flat 20-cents-a-minute, North American travel rate, seven times less expensive than her old carrier.
Angela Self, a personal finance expert and one of the five money-smart women known as Smart Cookies, agrees with being cautious. She, says that while Canadian travelers are commonly faced with “bill shock”, there are several ways to prevent paying hundreds of dollars in extra charges, such as:
• Research travel rates before you leave home. Most carriers charge separate roaming and long-distance fees, so be sure to factor both into your calculations.
• Ask about special travel rates/packages, but note some providers charge an extra fee.
• If you need a ton of minutes, texts and/or megabytes, look into getting a pre-paid local SIM card at your destination that allows you to pay local rates. Make sure your device is unlocked and compatible with the local carrier's network.
• Consider switching to a value-based carrier, like Mobilicity, which includes 'voice roaming minutes' in some of its regular monthly plans, and guarantees customers won't get bill shock when traveling. The company's unique My Wallet feature prevents phone usage on the road if you go over any allotted minutes and if there aren't funds in the account to cover roaming.