Vacations, or for our British readers, holidays, are an expensive pastime. UK carrier Three have put together an infographic and a report illustrating some of the hidden costs of going on holiday. The published report shows that the typical British family underestimate their holiday costs by 10%: their research data shows that people budget £1,666 for a week long holiday in Europe but typically overspend by £166. Of those people who overspend, ten percent of these spend more than £400 over their budget. Over half of Britons are expected to travel abroad in 2016 and the cost is enormous. Hidden costs include overseas handling costs on bank and credit cards, which can amount to an additional 3% charge on transactions. Airlines and hotels can charge extra transfer costs or surcharges and of course, if we bring our smartphones and tablets, we may be subject to international roaming charges. Other hidden costs can include unforseen medical expenses, city and hotel taxes, and buying holiday or travel insurance twice. Three’s report shows that forty percent of Britons are planning their summer trip this month, January, but when they are on their vacation, one in four families will have to withdraw extra cash over and above what they had planned whilst on the trip.
Three are able to help, but as we might expect from a British carrier, here their help is less during the trip and instead more when people return home. This is because Three include free international roaming to eighteen popular holiday destinations around the world via their Three At Home bundled bolt-on. By free roaming, that Three mean is that customers can use their contract as though they are back in the United Kingdom, which includes minutes, texts and data. For customers on their unlimited plan, the small print does point out that international roaming data is subject to a 20 GB fair usage allowance, which one would hope is adequate for customers on holiday. By providing free roaming, providing customers visit a qualifying country they will avoid a shock at the size of their first bill after they return home.
How great is the demand for international roaming? Three’s data shows that twenty percent of smartphone owners do not use international roaming on their device, fearful of the high costs and following bill shock. The same number of smartphone users wish that they had the freedom to use their device as normal when they are overseas. Whilst there are Wi-Fi hotspots around most of the world, and many of these are free in hotels, coffee shops and airports, having to find Wi-Fi is not as convenient as simply being able to use the service on the device over cellular data. There are also legitimate security concerns associated with using a public Wi-Fi hotspot.
Three’s infographic quantifies what the customer saving is since they introduced their Three At Home service, and it totals £2.5 billion since 2013. This equates to an impressive £360 per customer, per year, in saved roaming costs – an average saving of over £700 per customer, per two year smartphone plan. Three’s Director of Customer Strategy, Danny Dixon, said: “It’s clear that roaming charges are something that holidaymakers are still being caught out by. Whilst networks have recognised this and created cheaper bundles and add-ons for people travelling in Europe, Three remains the only network that offers roaming at no extra cost in 18 destinations across the globe, including the US and Australia. We want people to make the most of their holiday without worrying about bill shock on their return.” Three At Home service is available in Spain, France, Switzerland, Israel, Finland, Norway, USA, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Macau, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Austria, Hong Kong, Sweden, Denmark and the Republic of Ireland.
Three worked with Mrs Moneypenny to produce a number of tips designed to help customers save money when going on holiday. These include booking currency in advance to collect at the airport, bank or at home, which can save up to 10% of foreign exchange costs. Three’s report also recommends pre-booking luggage and airport car parking, using Air BnB for inexpensive accomodation, and cashing in air miles or credit card accrued points to reduce the cost. Three’s travel advice includes making sure that customers don’t buy travel insurance twice as many credit cards and bank accounts include the service as an added benefit.