It wasn’t long ago that the thought of calling home while on holiday was about as pleasant on the pocket as the flights needed to get there. You could practically hear your bank balance being eaten away at by the second with various connection fees and surpluses coming in for an added sting in the tail.
Sadly, at least for those not bothering to check out the options available to them, this is still pretty much the state of play with most British carriers. You might have all the free texts, calls and internet data allowance in the world in Blighty, but stray overseas and you might be looking at a second-mortgage to get your mug on Facebook.
The answer, therefore, is to give a little common sense thought to all of the above before you venture off the French Alps and don’t just assume your carrier won’t take you for a ride. Chances are they might and you’ll be in for a pretty sour homecoming.
First up, it’s both unheard of an arguably unacceptable for any decent accommodation provider not to offer free Wi-Fi to all guests. This might mean having to log on in reception or the bar, but free Wi-Fi means free Skype call, free online texts and free access to Facebook, Twitter and all other essentials while holidaying in the Alps. If there’s Wi-Fi, there’s technically nothing you can’t do for near no charge at all. Speaking of which – don’t fall for anywhere that charges you for Wi-Fi. Not in 2013.
It’s even possible to keep in touch while in transit free of charge – Alps2Alps airport transfers for example offer free Wi-Fi for every last person on the bus. This means that if the thought of a three-hour blackout period is too much for you, book with Alps2Alps ski transfers and you can call, text, Tweet and Skype to your heart’s content while weaving through the mountains.
International SIM Card
If fully intent on keeping in touch on the go, there’s no better choice than a pre-paid international SIM card. You can get these from almost any airport, phone shop, travel hub and even some supermarkets today, which come with pre-paid credit to use in any country you wish. Call and text charges are the lowest you’ll find and the fixed credit (which can be topped up online) means no bills on the other end.
Check Carrier Top-Ups
Most UK carriers charge a fortune for international roaming, but also offer various bundles and top-ups for subscribers to keep costs down. All differ quite exponentially though so the best advice is to give the network a call, tell them you’re going skiing in the French Alps and see what they can do for you.
Enjoy the Silence
And finally…not to mention also at the risk of ruffling a few feathers…why not take a trip back to a simpler time when you weren’t on call 24/7 and enjoy the silence for a while? Try out that historic and seemingly outdated tradition of writing postcards. Save your photos to show folk until you get home. Try not Tweeting your every move so that when you get back you’ve actually still got something to talk about. Sensible advice that will of course by 100% ignored by at least 99% of French Alps visitors from the UK this year…and every year!