The Malaysian's Guide to Best Roaming Practices When Travelling

May 23, 2024

Roaming can be expensive, but with the right knowledge and preparation, you can minimise the costs and enjoy a hassle-free trip. In this guide, we'll discuss the best roaming practices for Malaysians and provide travel tips to help you stay connected without breaking the bank.

How do roaming charges work?

Before we dive into the best roaming practices, let's first understand what roaming charges are and how they work. When you travel abroad, your mobile phone will connect to a foreign network to make calls, send messages, or use data. This process is known as roaming, and your local service provider will charge you for using a foreign network.

Roaming charges can be costly, especially when it comes to data usage. Most local service providers charge a high rate for data usage abroad, which can quickly add up to your bill. For example, a 1GB data plan in Malaysia can cost up to RM30, but when you use the same amount of data abroad, it can cost up to RM200 or more.

Roaming charges can also vary significantly from one country to another and between different service providers. It's essential to check the specific rates for the countries you will be visiting. Some providers may have roaming partnerships with networks in certain countries, which could result in lower costs. Additionally, roaming charges apply to receiving calls and messages as well, not just for data and making calls, which is something many travellers overlook.

Tips to roam effectively outside Malaysia

As a Malaysian, here are some of the best roaming practices to help you save money and stay connected while travelling abroad:

1. Disable data roaming

The first and most crucial step to avoid excessive roaming charges is to disable data roaming on your phone. By doing this, your phone will not connect to a foreign network, and you won't be charged for data usage.

You can enable data roaming only when you need it, such as checking emails or using maps. It's also wise to disable automatic download of email attachments and to refrain from streaming videos or music, as these can consume large amounts of data.

2. Use Wi-Fi whenever possible

Whenever possible, connect to a Wi-Fi network instead of using your mobile data. Most hotels, cafes, and restaurants offer free Wi-Fi, and you can use it to check your emails, browse the internet, or make calls using apps like WhatsApp or Telegram.

Additionally, many public spaces such as airports, libraries, and even some city centres offer free Wi-Fi access, so keep an eye out for these opportunities to connect without charges.

Do note that you should be careful when connecting to unknown Wi-Fi networks to ensure that your data remains private and your connection is safe. Look out for password-protected networks, offered by providers you trust (ie airports, work cafes, and others).

3. Choose a roaming plan according to your needs

Choosing the right roaming plan can be crucial for staying connected while traveling. It's important to compare various roaming plans to find one that fits your specific needs and usage patterns.

Consider factors such as data limits, coverage areas, call and text rates, and any additional fees. By evaluating these factors, you can select a plan that offers the best value and ensures seamless connectivity without unexpected costs.

4. Download maps for offline use

To avoid any data wastage due to navigation apps, download maps of the places you'll be visiting before your trip. These maps can be used offline, saving you from using data or getting lost in a foreign country.

Apps like Google Maps will allow you to download entire city or country maps which you can use to navigate without an internet connection. This is particularly useful when you are exploring new areas where Wi-Fi might not be readily available.

5. Monitor data usage during your trip

Keep an eye on your data usage while travelling and ensure that you're not exceeding your plan's limit. You can also set up data usage alerts on your phone to get notified when you reach a certain amount of data usage.

Many smartphones have built-in data tracking features that allow you to monitor which apps are consuming the most data. Consider restricting background data for apps that are not essential during your trip.

6. Remember to turn off automatic updates

Automatic updates can consume a significant amount of data without you realising it. To avoid this, turn off automatic updates for your apps, and only update them when connected to Wi-Fi. Additionally, you should also look into disabling automatic synchronization of cloud services like photo galleries and document editors, as they too can use up data in the background.

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Travelling abroad can be expensive, especially when it comes to data roaming charges. This is why it's crucial to understand the best roaming practices and follow them to avoid excessive charges. By disabling data roaming, using Wi-Fi whenever possible, and subscribing to a roaming plan, you can stay connected without breaking the bank.

For a seamless and cost-effective roaming experience, subscribe to CelcomDigi’s roaming passes to get convenient and affordable options for data usage while traveling. By following these best practices, you can stay connected, save money, and have a stress-free trip. Remember to plan ahead and stay informed to make the most out of your travels.

Travel the world with Unlimited 5G Roaming

Roam seamlessly anytime, anywhere with 5G. Now available with CelcomDigi Postpaid 5G and CelcomDigi Prepaid 5G
Learn more

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