How to roam worry free

Staying connected when you're traveling doesn't have to break your budget.

Using your mobile device while travelling overseas or across the border is a great way to stay connected, but oftentimes, people aren’t fully aware of how roaming works, what services they’ll get, or how to keep charges to a minimum. Truth is, roaming can be very affordable; but it’s important to know what you’re getting into before setting off on that vacation or trip you were planning. 

When you “roam”, you’re accessing services through a foreign cellular network and can incur incremental charges for your usage (talking, texting, emailing, web browsing etc.). If you set up your package in advance and configure your device to fit your usage wants and needs, you can roam on budget and without fear of racking up unexpected charges.
 


Below are a few steps that will help you roam worry free:

What type of phone do you use?

  • Before you go, know how much you need

     

    Let’s face it. Having your phone turned on and available while travelling is important; it serves as a lifeline for you to stay connected with family and friends, navigate your destination, kill time at the airport, stay safe safety in case of an emergency and so on. Before you leave, spend some time evaluating how you’re going to use your phone and find a roaming package that matches your needs. 

    When deciding which roaming offer to purchase, look at your average monthly talk, text and data usage through your past billing statements. If you’re a Rogers customer, you can go online via My Account or log into rogers.com/myrogers. Comparing your average monthly usage along with the number of days that you’ll be travelling outside of Canada will help you estimate your needs.

  • Add roaming package(s) before you leave

     

    Depending on the amount of voice, texting, or internet you need on your trip, roaming can be more affordable if you buy packages from your carrier, rather than pay per use.

    If you’re a Rogers customer, you can quickly and easily subscribe to a roaming package that that can include voice, text, and/or internet to your account yourself.

    1. Text TRAVEL to 7626 and click the link that you receive (link is free of charge)
    2. Visit rogers.com/m/roam from your wireless device (free access anywhere in the world)
    3. Visit www.rogers.com/roaming or www.rogers.com/businessroaming from a PC

    To help keep your personal information secure, roaming offers cannot be purchased through your wireless device using a Wi-Fi connection, so if you’re travelling and plan on using your device you may want to purchase a roaming offer prior to leaving to help ensure cost certainty. 

    If you’re travelling to the U.S. and have not purchased a roaming package prior to taking off, Rogers offers a daily U.S. roaming internet rate – it’s automatically added to your account once you turn on your data south of the border and gives 50 MB per day. Depending on the length of your stay, opting for long term or daily rates from your carrier may make the most sense for you.

  • Learn how to turn data roaming 'on' and 'off'

    Most devices come with data roaming turned off by default. That means you won’t be able to use the internet while travelling, even if you’ve bought a roaming internet package. Make sure that you have data roaming ‘on’ to take advantage of the discounted rates included in your package.

    A strategy that you might use is to turn data roaming on and off as you need it. That way you will be able to control how much data you are using and prevent overage fees.

    TRY IT
  • Limit usage to the applications you actually need

    On some devices, applications can run in the background, even if you’re not using them. This can eat up your roaming internet package, without you even realizing it. What a waste! Or if you don’t have a roaming internet package, you may incur unwanted pay-per-use data charges.

    So, make sure that you review and disable the applications that you don’t need prior travelling.

    TRY IT
  • Set your email to pull instead of push

    Email is often one application that people leave on automatic refresh ("push") when they're away. But unless you really have to be alerted immediately to an incoming email, it’s best to  set your email so that your device only downloads new emails when you manually check it. This is called “pull”.

    TRY IT
  • Use Wi-Fi strategically

    Public Wi-Fi connections are typically unsecured. This means people that are connected to the same hotspot may potentially have access to personal files on your wireless device. And, public Wi-Fi hotspots aren’t always available when you need them. So, think about using Wi-Fi for activities that are not time- or privacy-sensitive.

    Checking email (without downloading attachments) uses relatively little data. But streaming audio and video, and checking maps, can use a lot of data. It’s best if you can use Wi-Fi for high data-consuming activities so you can stretch your roaming internet package further. For example, wait until you’re in a Wi-Fi zone to watch online video, stream audio, upgrade your OS, or download files.

    Save your roaming internet package for the activities that are more about keeping you connected: email and your social networks, and web browsing for information that just can’t wait.

  • Track your data usage

    Especially if you’re not familiar with roaming and using the internet while travelling, it’s a good idea to be aware of how much you’re using while away.

    Some carriers will send you free data usage alerts via text message to ensure you never spend more than you expect. If not, on most devices, you can use the built-in data tracker. You can reset it when you arrive in your destination, and check it every so often to provide you a rough idea of how much you have used. If your smartphone doesn’t have a built-in data tracker, you might want to download a usage tracking app such as DataWiz (iOS, Android; free), My Data Manager (iOS, Android; free), or Data Usage (iOS; $0.99). With these apps, you can set your own data limits, and the app lets you know when you reach that limit – helping you avoid extra charges.

    (Note: Built-in data trackers and third party apps for data consumption tracking should only be used as a guideline and not for billing purpose)

    TRY IT
  • Take advantage of low texting rates

    Texting can be a very affordable way of staying in regular communication with people in your life. Some carriers offer unlimited daily texting roaming packages, and if you are a Rogers wireless customer, it’s free to receive a text when you’re away.

    If you go this route, you might be able to get away with buying a smaller package of talk minutes.