How to avoid an expensive bill when data roaming overseas

Has this ever happened to you?

You’re on a holiday trip overseas, having the time of your life when suddenly you decide to check your phone’s notifications. Everything seems fine until you realise that you had data roaming on all this time! You quickly turn it off, but it’s already too late. An expensive phone bill is already waiting for you at the end of your trip, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Although most of us believe we can stop using the internet when we’re overseas to prevent data or roaming costs, it’s difficult when we depend so much on the internet these days. For example, you’ll need an internet connection to Google about the ways to travel to a tourist location.

Here are some tips on how to reduce costs when you have to data roam while you’re in another country:

Turn off auto-updates

It’s good to keep your apps up to date, but it may not be a wise choice when you don’t have access to free Wi-Fi. It depends on the size of the updates, but it’s going to cost a fortune if you update multiple apps with data roaming.

You can adjust your settings to stop auto-updates or only to update when you have Wi-Fi. Or you can choose not to update them at all since you can still use the apps even if they’re not the latest update.

data roaming digi

Use offline maps

We depend on Waze and Google Maps to get us around in Malaysia, but it may rake up an expensive bill if you decide to do the same overseas. However, you don’t actually need data to use digital maps, as they use GPS to function.

You can save an offline map of the area you’re visiting using the Google Map app. There are also offline navigation apps available. Download these apps or maps before you travel so you can refer to them later.

Avoid apps with ads

Most free apps have ads on them as it’s one of the ways the developers to earn money. If you’re data roaming, it’s best to avoid using these apps as the ads are going to cost you.

Think carefully of the apps that you may use before you go overseas, or only use them when you have access to Wi-Fi.

Save copies of offline web pages

Similar to offline maps, you can still browse essential web pages, articles and videos if you save a copy of them before you travel.

Apps like Pocket allow you to save these web pages so you can use them even when you’re offline.


Talk to your service provider before your overseas trip if you want to avoid paying a costly bill when data roaming overseas. Learn and understand your data plan’s charges and usage limits so you can take measures to reduce the cost.

You can also choose to sign up for data roaming plans with Digi that cost as low as RM5. Visit to find out more.