Get more mileage from roaming plans


  • Airbnb
  • Friday, 01 Jul 2016

Passengers use their mobile phones at St Pancras International Station in London, January 17, 2015. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

Now that we’re finally getting more data quota for our smartphones, there’s one final frontier left to conquer – roaming! 

The funny thing is that if there’s one place where you need data the most, it’s when you’re travelling. 

And now you can as U Mobile allows you to carry your data quota abroad or subscribe to two innovative plans that offer unlimited data for as low as RM10. 

Why do you need all that data when travelling you ask? Here are five ways that you can make better use of the data at your disposal. 

Access for all
Internet access is not something you take for granted when travelling overseas. In our experience, more often than not hotels expect you to pay for WiFi. 

The daily fee is usually exorbitant and often limit you to just one or two devices. And even if free WiFi is offered, it’s often congested and slow. 

As exorbitant roaming charges aren’t an issue any more, you can switch on the personal hotspot feature on your smartphone. 

This will allow your other devices, like tablets and laptops, to surf on your phone’s data plan at faster speeds. 

And while on the move, you don’t have to connect to open WiFi networks that are not secure.

Get directions: Maps apps can give you detailed directions for taking public transport
Get directions: Maps apps can give you detailed directions for taking public transport.

Get going
When travelling to a foreign country, the most affordable way of getting around is via public transport. 

But if you are not familiar with the country’s system, it can be very challenging to get started on your journey and especially so if signs are not in English. 

We can tell you from personal experience that Google Maps has saved us on more than one occasion. 

With Google Maps all you have to do is choose your starting and end points, and tap on the public transportation icon – the app will handle the rest. 

It will tell you how to walk to the station, to which platform, what train to take, and where to stop. It will also give you an estimate on how long the journey will take. 

Alternatively, if you are going to a big city, you can try Citymapper which is available for Androids and iPhones. 

It gives you better info and real-time alerts but only to a limited number of cities.

Sign language: The Google Translate app can automatically translate signs from another language into English. It's not perfect but it's enough to give you a general idea of what a sign means.
Sign language: The Google Translate app can automatically translate signs from another language into English. It's not perfect but it's enough to give you a general idea of what a sign means.

Bonjour le monde
Thanks to technology you can now cross the language barrier with the Google Translate app, available on iPhones and Androids. 

Just enter text in the app and it will translate it into a variety of languages of your choosing. 

However, the app is a lot more powerful – it can even translate spoken words. So you can have a person speak to your phone and have it translated, or you can speak to the phone and have your talk translated to a foreign language. 

Still not impressed? Google Translate can also use the camera on your smartphone to translate street signs in real time. All you have to do is point your camera at a sign and you will see the foreign letters change to English. 

We’ve tried it with Russian and Japanese and it works fairly well – it isn’t perfect, but it will give you a general idea of what a sign says.

Virtual tour guide: The Google Cultural Institute website can give you more insight while sightseeing at popular tourist spots.
Virtual tour guide: The Google Cultural Institute website can give you more insight while sightseeing at popular tourist spots.

See more, hear more
Most cities and attractions today have an app to help you make the best of your visit, offering you tips and discounts. 

If it so happens that the destination you are headed to has no app then you can rely on Google’s database of historical and cultural monuments, sites and museums. 

Google has captured many artefacts and artworks in ultra high resolution which will enhance your tour. 

Let’s say you’re travelling to the Eiffel Tower – a quick check on Google Cultural Institute will give you not just photos from its unveiling in 1889, but also concept drawings and even audio recordings of designer Gustave Eiffel (captured on Thomas Edison’s phonograph).

Find a place: Apps like AriBNB and Hotel Tonight can help you find an affordable place to stay when your plans unexpectedly change.
Find a place: Apps like Airbnb and Hotel Tonight can help you find an affordable place to stay when your plans unexpectedly change.

Place to stay
You hope it doesn’t happen but last minute changes in travel plans could mean that you need to look for an alternative place to stay. 

Hotel Tonight, an app for Androids and iPhones, is just perfect for the job. Instead of paying exorbitant charges for last minute check-ins, this app actually gets you a discount. 

Another app that’s great for this is Airbnb, especially if you are not looking to stay in a hotel. 

Other handy apps you should have on your smartphone is a currency exchanger (XE Currency) and, of course, a weather app. 

Stay connected
U Mobile offers data roaming to all of its postpaid and prepaid subscribers in 12 countries, namely Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Laos, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. 

Subscribers on high-end plans such as P70, i90, i130, UD95 and UD135 don’t have to pay extra for roaming in these countries – all they need to do is activate data roaming and utilise their postpaid data quota as if they were at home. 

Those on other plans can opt for U Data Roam 10 which gives you unlimited data for just RM10, or go for Data Roam 36 which offers unlimited data in additional countries.

This article is brought to you by U Mobile.

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