Afraid to surf the net on your mobile when holidaying abroad, because you dread the data roaming phone bill when you get home?

If you’re desperate to check maps while on the go, want to find sightseeing tips or make your friends jealous with your social-media selfies, take control of international data roaming.

Data roaming can be helpful when travellingWhen you bring your mobile abroad, you no longer use your regular operator’s network for SMS, calls or web browsing, but “roam” onto a network local to your destination country. Your normal rates no longer apply, and you’ll be billed at a higher price and per megabyte for your mobile surfing.

Here are two free apps to help you take control of data roaming when you use the web abroad, without breaking the bank.

Opera Mini: data roaming savings in your browser
Link to get Opera Mini browser for Android in Google Play

Opera Mini is a mobile web browser that shrinks down webpages to as little as 10% of their original size, before they land on your phone. By loading fewer megabytes, you can save money on your vacation mobile bill. Its data counter shows how many megabytes you’ve downloaded, and how many you’ve saved.

How: Download Opera Mini or install it from your preferred app store. Under the “O” menu, tap the data savings summary to switch between the different savings modes (high/Opera Mini or extreme/Opera Turbo), depending on your needs.

Platforms: Android, iOS, Windows Phone and more

Opera Max: data roaming savings in apps

Want to crunch down more than just webpages? The compression app Opera Max enables you to shrink data across most apps on your phone by up to 50%. It lets you block particular apps from using mobile data and restrict them to using Wi-Fi only, and stop apps accessing data in the background.

Opera Max data roaming

How: Install it from Google Play. Once inside Opera Max, move your apps around based on how you want them to use data and Wi-Fi connections. Check out the latest Opera Max video review by Android Authority.

Platforms: Android
Link to get Opera Max data saving app in Google Play

Why take charge of data roaming?

Shrinking down the amount of data you download can extend the life of your data plan, which is particularly handy if you have a megabyte limit, and can save you on your iPhone or Android data roaming bill. It also means that you can browse faster. This is handy on crowded Wi-Fi connections in an airport or cafe, and on sluggish 2G/3G networks.

Faster web means less frustration from staring at a blank screen waiting for your webpage to load, when you should be enjoying your vacation! Opera Mini and Opera Max put you in control of how you use your mobile data on your next getaway. And, if you grow to love data savings and faster browsing, you can keep on using Opera Mini and Opera Max when you get home. 🙂

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