International data roaming fees

My wife and I are on holiday in Palma de Mallorca, an island off the Eastern coast of Spain. We’re staying at a secluded hotel in a small inland village, so we rented a car to be able to get to the beaches and the city center when we want. Unfortunately our car didn’t come with navigation so we’re relying on our smartphones’ navigation functionality to get around.

The problem is that international data roaming costs are pretty expensive. If we were to keep our smartphone’s data roaming functionality on, which we need to do to get navigation directions, our phone bill would quickly skyrocket.

Fortunately, we’ve found a trick to solve this problem. The only time when the navigation app we use, which happens to be Google Maps, uses our data connection is when it’s establishing the route. After the route has been established, the navigation app uses your smartphone’s GPS signal to determine your location on the route and provide you with directions based on that location. It no longer needs an active data connection.

We therefore turn on data roaming for a brief period while entering our destination address. If we’re at our hotel where there’s free WiFi, we don’t even need to turn it on then. After the navigation app has calculated the directions and proposed a route, we no longer need our data package. We switch off data roaming and embark on the route by relying on our smartphone’s GPS signal.

This is an easy way to save money on data roaming fees while traveling abroad.