They cite the major problem being confusion around the EU’s ‘Roam Like at Home’ mantra, with many thinking it applies to non-EU countries.
The EU’s Roam Like At Home policy allows British holidaymakers to use their phones for free throughout its 27 other member states.
Countries like the USA and Switzerland offer consumer-friendly roaming tariffs across most networks. However, anyone travelling to the UAE or Morocco will need to be especially wary, as daily bills of more than £100 are easily reached there, especially for those on bare-bones contracts.
Charges also vary from network to network – according to uSwitch, those unwittingly using roaming in the United Arab Emirates with iD Mobile could face charges of up to £590 a DAY while those in Mexico could be set back £255.
Ru Bhikha, mobiles expert at uSwitch.com , said: “Every year we read horror stories of people returning from trips abroad to huge mobile bills as holidaymakers continue to be stung by high roaming charges.
“The EU’s ‘Roam Like At Home’ rules have helped to ease some of these concerns, but a level of complacency has crept in, with many now just assuming roaming charges are a thing of the past – which they are not.
“Last year we found that more than half of people in the UK were not aware that there was any difference in roaming charges inside and outside the EU, meaning those leaving Europe are most at risk of being stung.
“The best tip for British holidaymakers is to do a little bit of research and preparation. Most networks now offer specific tariffs or add-ons to help prevent customers from losing out. So before travelling overseas, it is worth checking whether your destination is covered by your existing deal, or if an add-on is available.
“If you have to roam while away, try to keep your phone usage to a minimum and, wherever possible, connect to the Wi-Fi at your hotel or any location you are at. Alternatively, if you must use your phone a lot when abroad, the most cost effective option is usually to buy a local SIM.”