Warning to travellers as woman hit with £1,100 bill after simple holiday mistake

A woman’s Caribbean cruise turned sour after it ended with an unexpected, eye-watering bill.

When 24-year-old Molly Saxton returned from the trip, she was shocked to find her phone bill was £1,100 more than usual.

Molly realised that the bill was 3290% higher – coming it at £1186.59 compared to her typical £30-35 – all down to one tiny mistake.

Even though Molly looked into data packages before she left, the staggering amount was down to excess use and accidental roaming at sea.

Molly said: ‘Before the holiday, I made sure to pay for a data and text bundle to make keeping in touch with people on the cruise cheaper. I had a feeling that I’d exceeded these but didn’t worry too much, as I expected my phone provider to place a cap on spending, or at least notify me if I was running the risk of using too much.

‘You can imagine my shock when I saw that my usual monthly phone bill of between £30-£35 ended up being £1,186.59. While I expected a slightly larger phone bill due to using it abroad, I didn’t for one minute think that it would be anywhere near £1,000 – I could have gone on another holiday with that money.’

It turns out, it’s easy to unintentionally connect your phone to a ‘maritime’ network or a neighbouring country which can send your phone bill soaring

Molly explains: ‘The high costs were down to excess use of the data and text bundle as well as accidental roaming while at sea. I had no idea that your phone could automatically connect to maritime roaming in this way, neither did my friends or family.’

Thankfully, Molly says her phone company did agree to pay half of the bill after speaking to them – but she says she’s learnt her lesson the hard way.

She adds: ‘Now when I go on holiday, I really limit my phone use, and will only really use it when I know I can connect to Wi-Fi in bars, restaurants or hotels.’

If you want to avoid roaming charges while on a cruise, from Fonehouse:

  • Always remember to put your phone in airplane mode once you board your cruise to avoid connecting to an at-sea provider.
  • Have any films, music or books already downloaded as you can still use offline applications whilst in airplane mode.
  • You can connect to the cruise ship’s WiFi while on board but you will have to purchase an internet pass.
  • Contact your mobile provider to see if they have any travel plans for customers going on a cruise.
  • Check with your provider how much it could cost for you as roaming charges in the countries you will port in.
  • Use Wi-Fi wherever possible in port.

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