8 Ways to Cut Data Roaming Costs during Your Trip to Korea

data roaming in korea

In the age of the iphone & Galaxy, we’ve become used to having internet access at our fingertips. Even when on holiday abroad, it’s tempting to use your mobile to update your Facebook status or access Google maps or Trip Advisor for hotel & restaurant reviews.

However your usual internet allowance package from your mobile operator doesn’t apply when you’re outside your home country. Using your mobile on an overseas network is known as ‘data roaming’ and, for the unwary holidaymaker, data roaming charges can lead to bill shocks.

Here are 8 tips to keep your data roaming charges in check.

1. Download before you leave

Before you head for Korea, download maps and travel guides to your phone that can be used offline once you arrive. Some of the apps that I recommend are : “Visit Korea 3.0 : Official Tour Guide”, “Subway in Korea Lite”, “South Korea Travel Log • Areas Visited”, “South Korea Map”, “Learn Korean Free – Phrases & Vocabulary for Travel & Study in Korea”.

visit korea app

2. Check your settings

Some smartphone apps will continue to download expensive data while you’re traveling Korea whether you’re actively using them or not. The best way to avoid this is to turn off your ‘data roaming’ setting completely.

iphone setting data roaming

3. Use mobile-friendly websites only

Many popular websites now have mobile versions designed for smartphones which require less data than the standard web version. If your favourite sites have mobile versions, use them.

4. Mind your email attachments

Downloading attachments to emails can be a big drain on your data usage so, unless it’s something crucial, wait until you get home to open any.

5. Get an international data package

You may be able to sign up to a flat-rate or capped data package, where you pay a fixed amount for certain number of days you need. Contact your network operator to find out what they offer before you head for Korea.

6. Use Free Wi-Fi

Accessing the internet through cellular network on your smartphone costs you money, but using a local Wi-Fi hotspot generally doesn’t. Most hotels in Korea provide free Wi-Fi for guests and you can also find free hotspots in most cafés like Starbucks or local coffee shops. But if you rely on free WiFi to get internet, you might encounter difficulties especially when you need important information from Google Maps or some other apps that you may need to use for a convenient travel.

7. Get a local SIM card

You can buy pre-paid SIM cards that offer good rates in Incheon airport or in popular tourist areas such as Myeongdong and Itaewon. You can also buy one on online – Mobile POP offers prepaid SIM cards for foreign travelers to Korea. But if you are going to use this option you will need to have your phone ‘unlocked’ before you can use a Korean SIM.

More : Mobile POP Prepaid SIM

8. Rent a Pocket WiFi

Pocket WiFi Korea-Pocket WiFi Seoul Picture

If you want to have access to internet wherever you go, to use Facebook, Google maps, Trip Advisor or other convenient apps to guide you while travelling busy streets of Gangnam or find your way to a far hidden temple in Gyeongju, or you have group of friends that you want to share access to internet at a reasonable price, you could create your own personal WiFi hotspot with a portable WiFi device (a.k.a Pocket WiFi, WiFi Egg, MiFi, mobile WiFi and etc.) which will allow you to run up to seven WiFi-enabled devices from that point – ideal for group or family trips abroad.

A Pocket WiFi is a wireless router that emits a Wi-Fi signal that devices can connect to, ensuring access to the web for more than one person simultaneously. Set up the Pocket WiFi as a wireless hotspot, tell your friends or family the password, and you’re up and running.

More : Pocket WiFi Deals