Mobile Phone Foreign Travel Checklist

When Travelling Abroad there a few things you can do to make sure your mobile phone works all the time.

Before you leave

The networks often block roaming by default to protect customers from unintentional bills.
The block is often called a bar by the networks.
  • Contact your network provider to ensure that there is no bar on roaming.
  • Configure your handsets Network settings to automatic selection. This will ensure that it finds the the strongest network as you travel.
  • Turn Off Wifi calling as this is often charged at international rates. ee charges its standard internation rate for Wifi calling.
  • Turn Data Roaming off unless essential, If essential buy a bolt-on.
  • Tell your phone which Apps can and cannot use data whilst roaming. Consider whether they can use data in the background or when you are actively using the App.
  • Check your Spend Cap as you may need to increase it.

Buy a Mobile Bolt-on

  • Check for a Bolt-on that will save you money.
  • Bolt-ons are packages of features (data, text or calls) that you buy before you need them. Purchased in advance they work out many times cheaper, than using services without a bolt-on.
  • Give as much notice as possible, as services can take a time to activate. For example O2 states 24 hours.
  • Dont forget we are no longer in the EU so mobile roaming charges may have changed significantly since your last visit.

When you are travelling or first arrive.

  • If you are flying when you switch your handset back on, it will register on the local network.
  • If travelling by road, turn mobile handsets off for a minute and then back on at each border you cross.    

Whilst Abroad

  • When possible use wi-fi for data
  • Wi-Fi calling from your mobile may be charged at international rates.
  • Use a VoIP app with a VoIP service, call are charged as if you are in the UK.
  • Consider which incoming calls you accept from the UK as you will pay for the international part of the call. This can go through your credit and spend caps in no time at all. Which means you wont be able to make calls.

More Information

If you are planning a longer stay then Long term roaming is available from some networks


  • Vodafone has four roaming zones and Around the World Extra.
  • How do I tell Vodafone I’m going abroad?
  • Dial 121, when connected select 4, then 2.


  • ee roaming-costs are here.
  • Switch roaming on by texting ROAMING to 150


Activate My O2 roaming abroad?
  • If you want to opt-in to O2 Travel, text TRAVELON to 21300 to activate.
  • It can take up to 24hrs to be applied to your account. It’s free to sign up and we’ll only charge you for the days you actually use data while you’re away.
  • To opt out of O2 Travel you can text TRAVELOFF to 21300.
Holbrook Telecom can offer advice on the best option depending on frequency and length of overseas trips
Information correct as of January 2023