Palpatine
Level 20: Director

GOING OVERSEAS? THINGS TO CONSIDER AND PREPARE BEFORE YOU LEAVE

Communications using your Smartphone or Tablet will be largely stress free when you take the time to plan how to use these devices well before you leave home.

 

The author of this post a frequent overseas traveller as well as a regular contributor to Crowd Support on International Roaming topics. The author is an iPhone/iPad user, (which may be apparent in the reading) and Android users are welcome to add to or correct the Author’s attempt to advise on Android functions.

 

Telstra has extended the range of options for Overseas Travellers, including:

  • International Travel Pass, which includes Voice Calls, Data and SMS for Post Paid
  • International Data Packs for Post Paid
  • International Data Packs for Pre-Paid

For the full range of plan options, pricing and included benefits see

 

 

International Roaming services depend on the capabilities and coverage of Telstra’s International Roaming partners and may change from time to time.

 

 

1          ITINERARY BUILDER, PRE-PAID VS POST PAID

 

Check Telstra’s Itinerary Builder. This site has useful information on the rates you can expect in other countries, and highlights countries where there is no International Roaming.

 

NOTE: the list of countries that do not support international roaming on Pre-paid is large around South America and the Middle East, and you may consider changing to a Post Paid plan.

 

https://www.telstra.com.au/mobile-phones/international-roaming/availability-pricing/post-paid

 

Check the “Tab” for Prepaid

 

If you wish to change to Post Paid for your trip, there is no specific process as such, you simply sign up to a suitable Post Paid plan.

 

https://www.telstra.com.au/mobile-phones/plans-and-rates

 

Allow two or three days for this changeover if required.

 

2          ACTIVATE INTERNATIONAL ROAMING

 

Before you leave Australia, make sure you activate International Roaming. If you forget to do this it is no great inconvenience, as you can activate Roaming remotely, but you will need internet access. Use the following link, but allow up to 24 hours for roaming to be activated.

 

https://www.telstra.com.au/mobile-phones/international-roaming

 

3          UPDATE ALL YOUR SOFTWARE

 

Make sure that you have the latest versions of your phone’s software installed before you go. Firstly, Smartphone and Tablet updates have exceeded 1Gb recently, and inadvertently initiating such an update when overseas could result in unexpected charges. Secondly, the recent software releases (both iOS and Android) included some very useful Data Monitoring features which are a “Must Have” when overseas.

 

4          DOWNLOAD USEFUL APPS

 

We do operate quite differently when travelling than when at home. Things that Customers find useful include:

  • Find my Phone. (Available for both Apple and Android) Down load one of these Apps before you go onto all the devices that you have or plan to take. Such an App is essential to protect against loss or theft, with options that even allow you to disable the whole device.
  • Find Friends – if you are travelling with others
  • Skype – quite heavy on data if using video, but voice calls are approx. 1Mb per Minute
  • Maps Me. – plan your itinerary and download the maps for where you are going to be. Subsequently these maps do not use your data allowance and can be used where there is no mobile coverage.
  • Messaging Apps (eg Facebook Messenger or iMessage). If not using a Travel Pass these Apps are less expensive than TXT Messaging.
  • A Photo editing App. There are many of these on the App Stores

 

5          ESTIMATE YOUR DATA USE

 

Telstra’s Data Use calculator is best suited to guidance on your domestic fixed broadband, but can be found at:

 

https://www.telstra.com.au/mobile-phones/plans-and-rates/data-packs-australia/data-usage-calculator

 

Keep in Mind that your use of data overseas will differ, Customers tend to be much more active posting photos to Cloud services and Social Media sites, using Skype or similar voice services, and these activities are not included in the calculator.

 

International Roaming requirements are dynamic, and phone cameras are using higher amounts of data, so spend some time calculating your own data needs:

 

  • A few emails a day are not hungry data users, assume 25K per email.
  • Photos depend on your camera settings, but with modern phone cameras, allow for at least 500Kb per photo, or 4 photos per day will be 2 Mb
  • Remember saving photos to iCloud or gDrive will consume 500Kb per photo, and another 500Kb each time you might view the photo.
  • Pasting a photo to Facebook or Instagram consumes 500Kb of your data allowance for each photo. Looking at other friends photos on social media consumes similar data, so:
  • Posting and looking at 6-10 photos or Facebook pages a day will consume around 10 Mb of your data allowance. A 10 minute Skype call will consume 10 Mb, so be disciplined,
  • Limiting your use to 10 Mb per day, a 300 Mb data pack will last a month.

 

6          INTERNATIONAL ROAMING PACKS OR A FOREIGN COUNTRY SIM?

 

A very commonly asked question, and the answer depends very much on your intended location, and your own personal circumstances and relationships.

 

Due to size limits, details of this topic have been moved to

http://crowdsupport.telstra.com.au/t5/International-Roaming/GOING-OVERSEAS-A-FOREIGN-SIM-OR-A-ROAMIN...

 

 

7          PLAN YOUR MESSAGEBANK GREETINGS

 

Decide on how you prefer to be contacted while overseas, ie :

 

  • Divert your Fixed Line to your Mobile?
  • Divert your Mobile to MessageBank?
    • With an International Travel Pass, there is no additional costs to you or your callers if your Mobile is not diverted to MessageBank
    • Keep in mind the time difference (do you really want to talk to telemarketers at 2AM?)
  • If you decide on a Data Pack, your Voice Calls (sent and received) will be charged at the prevailing International rates, so diverting your Mobile to MessageBank is recommended
    • change your greeting to something like: “I’m overseas, please send me a message on this number, or send me an email on name@domainetc”

 

MessageBank sends you a Text Message when a message has been left, asking you to call #101# and MessageBank will ring you back with the message.

 

BUT! If you have your mobile diverted to MessageBank, the call back from #101# will simply go to MessageBank!

 

So – before you dial #101#, Go: (for iPhone by example)

SETTINGS >

PHONE >

CALL FORWARDING > and turn Call Forwarding OFF, then call #101#

 

After you have listened to all your messages, repeat the steps above and turn call forwarding back ON

 

8          PRACTICE SOME OF THE FUNCTIONS YOU WILL REGULARLY USE

 

Avoid using valuable international data (and holiday time) learning to use functions that you rarely use at home, in particular:

 

  • PERSONAL HOTSPOT – Use the device (Mobile or Tablet) that you will load the Roaming Pack on to as your Personal Hotspot. Make sure you are familiar with the operation of Personal Hotspot, log on from all other devices you will be taking overseas, as once you have logged-on, the devices will be “remembered” by your Hotspot, and you do not need to repeat the log in process each time.
  • WIFI – You need to enable WiFi on the device that is “linked" to your Personal Hotspot. Problems with WiFi when travelling are that some paid and promotional WiFi sites become a bit of a virus as they always seem to appear first and at the top of the list. On an iPhone there is a little blue “i” in a circle. Touch this “i” and then touch “Forget This Network”. This is particularly useful in Hotels and on Cruise ships where such networks are very expensive
  • CELLULAR DATA USE – Become familiar with how to monitor your data use. See the discussion on this topic in points 15 and 16
  • EDIT YOUR CONTACTS, add +61 and Full Area Code (or at least the contacts whom you are likely to call or message) and upgrade their Australian number to the full international number for Australia. The general standard for all Mobiles is to add +61 before the full area code. (Smartphones will put the leading zero of the area code in brackets – you do not need to worry about spaces and brackets) This format works seamlessly both internationally and at home.

 

9          PLAN HOW YOU WILL MANAGE EMAIL WHILE OVERSEAS

 

With a Data Pack, you can receive your emails just as you would at home. If you are taking devices that you do not normally use to access email at home, ensure that all your active email accounts are added to your Mail settings. You will need your email password(s) to do this. Tip – test them before you go!

 

Sending emails from overseas is very problematic.

 

Older email systems such as BigPond.com and Telstra.com can not send emails from overseas in the normal way. One option is to use BigPond Webmail at:

 

http://webmail.bigpond.com/webedge/do/mail/folder/view

 

WebMail is fine for laptops, but is not formatted in a manner that is ideal for Smartphones and Tablets, so consider a “web based” email account such as gmail, yahoo, iCloud, Hotmail etc as your Outgoing Mail Server. It is very likely that you have one of these accounts and use it as your log-on to the App Store or Google Play.

 

To set such an email account as your default “Outgoing Mail Server” when overseas, (you may need to add this account to you phone first) go: Settings > Mail,… > Accounts – Add Account: Follow the prompts, but you will need the user name (email address) and password for that new account. To set this account as the default Outgoing mail Server: Settings > Mail > (select the new account) > scroll to the end of the next page headed “Mail” to Advanced, Mail > Outgoing Mail Server > and chose the new account as your primary server. Turn mail.bigpond.com to “off”.

 

Make sure you are getting the mail that comes to this new account, as your friends are likely to simply “reply” to your emails and by default your replies will go to the new account.

 

Tip – test that you can send and receive from this new email account before you leave home

 

10       CONSIDER SAVING PHOTOS TO CLOUD STORAGE

 

Fortunately there are now many options today, particular Facebook, Flicker, Instagram etc, to use both as a back-up for your photos, or to allow family and friends to share your experiences. Check the operation of your service of preference, and practice the functions before you leave.

 

Tip – posting photos to cloud devices and social media uses your data allowance, each time you view a photo on cloud storage similarly uses data. It depends on the resolution setting on your camera, but even Mobile Phone photos can be 500Kb to more than 1Mb - be aware!

 

11       RECOMMENDED DOCUMENTS TO COPY, TAKE AND SAVE

 

There is no point making copies of all your important documents just in case your luggage gets lost, and having these documents in your luggage! Take copies, yes, but also save a copy of all the necessary documents on a cloud server and memorize the password to that server. Save a copy of all your phone, email, and App Store passwords, Save key Telstra numbers and URLs in case help is needed. You need your Apple ID (or Play Store ID) for “Find my Phone”. I also save a copy of other travel documents, credit cards, travel insurance etc on the cloud as well.

 

 

12       ACQUIRING THE OVERSEAS CARRIER NETWORK

 

We recommend that you set (or leave set) your Carrier Selection on Automatic, this way you will be “allocated” a carrier that has a roaming agreement with Telstra, and is, most likely, the carrier with whom Telstra experience the fewest difficulties.

 

For iPhones and iPads, check: Settings> Carrier> and check that “Automatic” is “ON” (green)

 

For Android (Vary with phone type), but check: Settings> More (under Data Usage)> Mobile Networks> Tick the International Roaming Box, scroll down to Network operators > Choose Automatically >

 

Please be aware that some parts of the world still operate 2G networks, Parts of South America, Pacific Islands and PNG being examples. You will know this by the carrier signal strength indicator which will show “2G”, or at least will not show 3G or 4G. If your overseas carrier is only 2G, you will only have access to Voice Calls and SMS. Cellular Data services such as email, internet, facebook etc are only available where you have 3G or 4G coverage as shown on the carrier signal strength indicator.

 

Moving from country to country will occasionally result in your phone not acquiring any network carrier. In most cases simply power off completely, and after a few minutes turn your device back on.

 

If none of that works, you may need to call Telstra from another device on +61 439 125 109 (international call rates apply)

 

13       HOTEL WIFIs

 

On check-in, ask about the availability of WiFi in the hotel. Many charge for the service, and it is very often a fixed charge per day or per week. Do a few mental calculations vs the cost of your Travel Pack or Data Roaming Pack. It is most likely that your Roaming Pack is better value.

 

Free WiFi in hotels is similar to free WiFi in Cafes – you get what you pay for. Everyone in the Hotel wants to check their email and post their Facebook photos in the hour between getting back to the hotel and dinner – you just can not log on, and it can be slow. You may also experience problems sending emails as discussed in point 9 above, even if you are using a web based mail address, particularly if it is via some obscure Internet Service Provider.

 

 

14       CRUISE SHIP WIFI

 

Cruise Ship WiFi can be very expensive. The ship’s WiFi is generally charged by the minute, and amounts above $1 (US) are normal. Response times can be very slow, and it can take 5 minutes to simply log-on.

 

Cruise Ships are always arriving in port in the early hours of the morning, so try to rise early. You usually get good coverage 5-10 Kms from the shore/port, and you will have an hour or two of good coverage before the ship docks and everyone rushes for breakfast and dis-embarkation.

 

When a ship with 2,500 passengers docks, the queues at the nearest WiFi hotspot are extraordinary – with International roaming packs you bypass all Port WiFi (with a smile)

 

 

15       MANAGING INTERNATIONAL ROAMING DATA COSTS

 

There are a number of tips under International Roaming on Telstra.com, see:

https://www.telstra.com.au/mobile-phones/international-roaming/travel-tips/prepaid-tools

 

The important things to remember from the above link are:

  • Telstra will send you an SMS in each country you travel in to let you know the costs of mobile usage while travelling in that country
  • If you have an International Roaming Browse Plus Pack, Telstra will send you an SMS when you’ve have used 50%, 85% and 100% of your data allowance.

Take note of these messages. (Take a screen shot of the messages and store in your Photos just in case later reference is required.)

 

Note: The Telstra 24/7 app does not include data used on International Roaming Packs.

 

Due to space requirements, instructions on this topic continues on post:

http://crowdsupport.telstra.com.au/t5/International-Roaming/GOING-OVERSEAS-THINGS-TO-CONSIDER-AND-PR...

 

 

16       TURN OF BACKGROUND APPLICATION REFRESH

 

Most smartphones and tablets “Multi Task”, this means that the application you open will stay open in the background until you close them. Multi tasking can be responsible for unexpected data use, as many applications will automatically update in the background, even though you are not using them.

 

Due to space requirements, instructions on this topic continues on post:

http://crowdsupport.telstra.com.au/t5/International-Roaming/GOING-OVERSEAS-THINGS-TO-CONSIDER-AND-PR...

If I've been of assistance please assist others by marking the post accordingly. Click the "Like" button,
Palpatine has participated in Social Media accreditation through Telstra and has access to some enhanced support and escalation processes. Palpatine is not a Telstra employee and any posts or opinions are entirely his own.

Was this helpful?

  • Yes it was, thank you
  • No, I still need help
4 REPLIES 4
golfer3145
Level 1: Cadet

Re: GOING OVERSEAS? THINGS TO CONSIDER AND PREPARE BEFORE YOU LEAVE

comprehensive instructions, but as a senior having purchased an International Travel Pass 4 days ago for Zone 2 for two weeks $140, I have already have a $168 bill for PAYG data but only used 12 % of the pass. Have spoken to live help. Really feel ripped off. And I have wifi in all hotels! Hardly sent any pictures. Read the fine print. Just dont get it.
DingoDan
Telstra (Retired)
Telstra (Retired)

Re: GOING OVERSEAS? THINGS TO CONSIDER AND PREPARE BEFORE YOU LEAVE

Hey golfer3145,

 

Not the experience that we like to hear of at all 😞

 

What was advised to you when you were in contact with my colleagues in the Live Chat team?

 

If needed you will also be able to make a free call to the International Roaming Team directly on +61439125109 (24/7). This is free on the Telstra device that has the International Roaming service active.

Need help? Check out our Community Wiki or Support Portal || Looking for a new mobile? Order online today || Get help with any Tech at Home with Telstra Platinum || Don't forget to tag answers as Accepted Solutions and give a Like to the member(s) who helped you out.

All moderation actions are supported by the CrowdSupport Community Guidelines

golfer3145
Level 1: Cadet

Re: GOING OVERSEAS? THINGS TO CONSIDER AND PREPARE BEFORE YOU LEAVE

They gave no advice. Does the 700 mb get limited to 50 mb daily over the two week ITP pass?
Palpatine
Level 20: Director

Re: GOING OVERSEAS? THINGS TO CONSIDER AND PREPARE BEFORE YOU LEAVE

Hi Golfer3145, I am currently overseas and using a Travel Pass, so this will be brief, but a couple of points.
The instructions on the Travel Pass are poorly prepared and very contradictory, but as best as I can determine, you can not activate a Travel Pass on a prepaid device, only an account linked post paid service. Prepaid services can only use the International Data Packs (various sizes available)

secondly in direct answer to your question, the total MBs of your travel pass are not metered out on a prorate daily basis, you could use all your data allowance on the first day.

Make sure you keep the advice messages you get from Telstra when you turn on your phone in a new country for the first time, as these will assist in resolving any dispute, which it appears that you already have.
If I've been of assistance please assist others by marking the post accordingly. Click the "Like" button,
Palpatine has participated in Social Media accreditation through Telstra and has access to some enhanced support and escalation processes. Palpatine is not a Telstra employee and any posts or opinions are entirely his own.

My Telstra

View and activate your international roaming status, and purchase international Data Packs with the My Telstra app.

Find out more