Tips & Hacks

Shocking Travel Stories About Huge Cell Phone Bills

Almost every one of us travels somewhere from time to time and, according to the statistics, one in six of us becomes a victim of huge cell phone bills. People tell horrific travel stories about how they made a few calls or uploaded a few photos while traveling abroad and then were charged several thousand dollars by their providers.

However, it’s not so difficult to get into such trouble, and in this article we’re telling you why. Check some of the most shocking stories about travellers.

Travel story about photos nightmare

Travel stories: How to prevent huge cell phone bills during the travel

Not only phone calls, but sharing photos can make you regret going on a trip in the first place. Our first hero, Helen Christie, after her trip to Turkey received a phone bill for over $30,000.

Helen wanted to share some of her photos with her friends on Facebook while travelling and that’s what she did. She uploaded some pictures to her social profile, but quickly became a victim of the high prices of a roaming.

Sad but true: some cell phone providers charge you a huge sum for uploaded megabytes, which can be added to the final bill even if the amount of uploaded data was insignificant.

What made Helen really sad is that her cell phone bill finally costed her much more than the trip itself, which came to around $1,100. She plans to fight with the phone company in court.

In fact, this is not a rare situation. One of six travellers receive outrageous bills when they get back home from vacation.

Automatic updates and sending emails can make you go bust

Confused woman with huge cellphone bill

You don’t expect to get a huge phone bill on your journey if you send just an email or two per day. However, an employee from Texas A&M University who wished to conceal his name received a $10,000 bill after his trip just for emailing.

It’s dangerous to send any data by email, but it’s even more dangerous to receive automatic updates. Most likely these updates played a significant role in creating a bill of that size for that employee. Quite often travellers just forget to switch off that option before they get out of the country and thus they go bust.

This one will literally boost your mind

Preventing enormous bills

If these two bills are still not shocking enough for you, we bet that the next one would make you beg for mercy.

A man from Australia was travelling in Europe together with his son when their cell phone was stolen. The vacationers were wise enough to report the theft to the police and went on enjoying their trip.

But the family got really unlucky as they received a bill for – keep your breath – $500,000 for only one day of calls. The person who stole the phone made many calls to Somalia that day and that’s what made up such a big sum.

Their mobile operator didn’t want to cooperate and required that they pay the whole sum. The company acknowledged receiving the news about the theft, but the message came one day late because of the time zone differences.

How to avoid huge bills on a journey

How to protect yourself from huge cellphone bills

Have we scared you with these stories? Good. Now you understand that losing your phone, getting email updates or uploading lots of photos to your social networks while abroad may cost you an arm and a leg.

Just be conscious about what you do when travelling and stay prepared for any situations that may arise.

Here are a few useful tips that will help you avoid huge cell phone bills on your trip:

  1. Before the trip, research roaming plans offered by your mobile operator so that the bill would not be a surprise for you.
  2. If you want to post some photos or send emails, better find a cafe with a free wi-fi instead of using your mobile data plan. Beware the roaming charges for such purposes.
  3. Buy yourself a special travelling SIM-card compatible with the country you’re going to. You can do it when you arrive there or you can use one of the global services selling a foreign SIM-card.
  4. If you received a huge bill, you can try calling your carrier to check if they can help you. There is another story about a man from Canada whose mobile operator agreed to cut down the bill from $22,000 to only $200 when they heard his story. Remember: there are a lot of good people around you, just ask for help.
  5. Take your SIM out of your mobile phone while travelling and use the phone for making photos only. Thus, neither your kids nor thieves nor anybody else will be able to increase your charges on the phone.

So these are the most essential travelling tips for staying out of trouble with your cell phone bills when having a good time abroad.

Have something to add to this list? Share it in the comments below! Also, make sure that you’ve read  the ultimate travel checklist for the smart packing.


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