How to beat roaming charges in France


When you travel to the likes of France, Spain and other European countries, you may be worried about running up high roaming charges on your mobile phone now we have left the EU - and three out of four major operators have hiked their charges - so here are some tips from travel journalist and expert Pete Barden on how to avoid roaming charges when in the countries or the wider EU bloc. 

cut mobile roaming charges in France and SpainUsing your phone abroad is great for sharing snaps and staying in touch with home - but how can you keep roaming costs under control?   (Credit:

Six ways you can avoid a big mobile phone roaming bill when in France, Spain and other EU countries

1. Turn off data roaming on your phone. This will prevent your phone from connecting to the internet when you are in France. You can still make and receive calls and texts, but you will not be able to use data-intensive apps like email, social media, and streaming music.
2. Connect to Wi-Fi whenever possible. Most hotels, cafes, and other public places in France offer free Wi-Fi. If you can, try to use Wi-Fi instead of your cellular data.
3. Use messaging apps instead of calling or texting. Messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Skype allow you to send messages and make calls over the internet, so you won't be charged for roaming.
4. Set a spending limit. Many mobile phone providers allow you to set a spending limit on your roaming charges. This way, you can be sure that you won't be surprised by a large bill when you return home.
5. Get a French, Spanish or local SIM card. If you will be in France for an extended period of time, you may want to consider getting a French SIM card. This will allow you to use a local phone number and pay local rates for calls, texts, and data. As of 2023 large French phone networks Orange, Free, Bouygues and SFR revealed they won't be bringing back roaming fees for those who travel to the UK, but this may not apply for some smaller network providers. 
6. Download books, films and maps etc before you leave home, as it is often the case that even when using local WiFi you may have daily limits, or the bandwidth simply won't be able to handle large downloads that accompany the likes of movies or navigation apps. You should also download important documents before you travel - such as boarding passes and insurance policies, just in case you can't connect when you need them.

By Following these tips, you can avoid high roaming charges and save money while you are in France, Spain or other European countries.

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How much will I be charged for roaming in France, Spain etc?

The amount you pay will depend on several variables, such as if you're a pay-as-you-go, or pay-monthly user. It could also depend on when you started your contract, or if you have any special deals in place. 

To find out how much you could be paying, log in to your mobile phone account and search roaming charges before you head off on your holidays. Then make sure you follow the various tips we've listed on this page to keep the costs down. 

More tips to beat roaming charges

  • If you are planning to use your phone for navigation, download maps and directions before you leave. This will help you avoid using data while you are on the go.
  • Be careful about what you do when you are connected to public Wi-Fi. Avoid entering sensitive information like your credit card number or National Insurance number etc.
  • If you are unsure about anything, contact your mobile phone provider for more information.

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Author: Pete Barden:

Twitter: @pete_barden

Pete Barden is a qualified journalist who has written and produced for publications including The Sun (, New Statesman Media Group, Whatcar? ( Stuff Magazine (, Fastcar Magazine (, Maxim Magazine and UK broadcast stations within the Heart network (Formerly GCAP). Pete specialises in motoring and travel content, along with news and production roles. You can find out more about Pete Barden on LinkedIn.

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