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Saving Money on Holiday

It’s coming close to the time when you start eyeing holidays that you wouldn’t mind going on during the school holiday, but how do you stay in touch with friends and family back home and how do they stay in touch with you?

Mobile phones wouldn’t be the best of ideas to use abroad, depending on which country you’re going, the cost of calling home from abroad can be dangerously expensive, in some cases, costing £1.25/min* to receive a call and £1.50/min* to make a call. And don’t even get started on Data, unless you get a hideously expensive data bundle, data is charged at £6/MB*. Even with bundles, O2 are looking to charge £40/month for 50MB and £120/month for 200MB. So, I think it’s safe to say, UK networks are not our friends in this dilemma.

Fear not, there may be some options that may part the UK networks from your wallet…

For all the ideas that I propose, it would be a good idea to check if your hotel has WiFi, as they all need a form of data connection to work. Failing that, see if you can get a local sim card in the country you’re visiting and get a data bundle on pay as you go for the duration of your holiday. Also, I would recommend that you switch off your mobile data as you’re about to leave the UK on the plane. This is usually found in the settings menu on your phone.

O2 Tu Go

O2 have recently launched a new app for their pay monthly customers called O2 Tu Go. This service allows you to use your mobile phone number even if you don’t have a mobile phone signal using WiFi. All you need to do is install the app and authenticate yourself and choose a password, it really couldn’t be any easier. The app is currently in Beta for Windows 7&8 and is available in the app store for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.

After you set the app up in this country for the devices that you would like, you’re good to go. Just connect over WiFi andfire up the O2 Tu Go app. You can now browse all your contacts, and keep in touch by ringing and texting, not to mention, allowing them to call you. As long as you’re using either WiFi, your calls will be free.

All the minutes and texts that are sent will be using your allowance on your contract, so make sure you have enough minutes before you fly out and keep an eye on the number of minutes that you have left. You can easily do this by logging into MyO2 on their website or using their app.

Here, you can see all the calls and texts as they come.

Here, you can see all the calls and texts as they come.

Skype Number

Now, for people who are not on O2, don’t despair, all is not lost as of yet. Skype is offering a a service where you can buy a UK Phone number with your local area code which then forwards onto your Skype account. Now you may be wondering why you would bother with this kind of number if you already have a Skype account. The way I look at it is that not everyone has/wants Skype, and some people may not be technologically inept to adapt to Skype.

If you login to Skype through their website, you can purchase a Skype Number, for 1 month, or 3 months or even 1 year. The price for one month for me was £4.05 incVAT**, increasing as you go for a longer subscription. You can now have people ringing you on your UK Skype Number (other countries are also available). Now you can give your number to friends and family, and even to companies that may need to contact you and let it all come through to your Skype account.

Choose your national code, then you can choose your own number.

Choose your national code, then you can choose your own number.

Viber

Would like to thank @HazelRoseJ for this suggestion, Viber is another app which allows you to call anyone who also has Viber on their phones, The free app is availble cross platform as it is available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry and even Symbian devices. However, the calling feature is only available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone.

Like the other options above, the app uses data, either via WiFi or using a local sim card. One disadvantage with this app is that it isn’t available on a computer, which may not be a bad thing for most, but for some, it may be important.

Suggestions

If you have any more suggestions on any more apps, please tweet me @Junel94 or post in the comments.

  • Onavo – an app for iOS and Android suggested by @organolive – allows you to compress your data abroad, will allow you to save money if you end up data roaming or if you’re using a local sim card with not much usage. 

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*Prices correct when checking on 11/3/13 with the country being Bangladesh and the mobile network being O2.

** Price correct when checking on 11/3/13.

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