Taking a gap year is a great opportunity to escape from everyday life and discover new experiences. Before setting off, the list of things to consider can seem endless – there are flights and accommodation to think about as well as finances to plan, so deciding how best to keep in contact with people back home is often left to the last minute, or forgotten altogether. This can leave you facing extortionate prices for calls, texts and data usage whilst abroad.

“We’re constantly shocked by the prices mobile operators charge to call, text and provide data services when abroad. For many travellers, they simply do not realise that alternatives exist in the market. Gap year travellers who are often away from home for months need to familiarise themselves with the options available to them” argues John Assiter, GOSIM.com.au, an international SIM card provider.

Assiter continues, “No matter where you are in the world, home shouldn’t feel like a million miles away. We live in a connected world where Mum, Dad and friends are only ever a phone call, text or tweet away. Part of the fun of travelling is being able to share your experiences with loved ones by sending picture messages and uploading photos to sites like Facebook. We shouldn’t be faced with hidden charges and huge phone bills when we return back home”.

Assiter also believes that a ‘Pay as you Go’ international SIM card is a must for those heading off on a gap year. “Savvy travellers shouldn’t rely on their domestic SIM card for international calls; if they do they will inevitably find themselves paying far more than necessary”.

International SIM cards are available that cut out the confusion around calling, texting and roaming rates when abroad and that allow travellers to keep a handle on how much they are spending. GOSIM.com.au believes that calls back home shouldn’t cost you your plane ticket to the next destination, and they certainly shouldn’t incur a cost to whomever it is that is receiving the call. Assiter continues “At GOSIM.com.au we know how important it is for parents, friends and family back home to be able to keep in touch and that’s why we’ve made it free to receive calls in over 70 countries where your domestic provider is likely to charge you. You wouldn’t be charged when at home, so why should it be different whether we’re in Vietnam, Australia or Kenya? Traveling abroad for a year is all about enjoying and sharing your experiences, not worrying about the dreaded phone bill that awaits.”

GOSIM.com.au share their top money saving tips for gap year travellers:

Don’t rely on your usual/domestic mobile number:
Cheap International SIM card options are available that will allow you to keep in contact with your friends and family for longer – this will be particularly useful for those of you planning to travel long term. Look for a provider that offers you free incoming calls, that way your friends and family can call you… one less thing to worry about paying for

Find a bundle that works for you in advance:
If you’re planning to upload pictures to Facebook whilst you travel, make sure you’ve found a deal that offers a good rate for roaming and networking online. If, on the other hand you’re planning to text and call make sure you’ve found a deal that offers the best possible rate for calling and texting internationally. If you opt for GOSIM.com.au you can benefit from savings of up to 85% off calls from over 180 countries and you receive calls & text messages for free.

Know how much your phone will cost you:
When abroad it’s difficult to keep up with how much each call or text will cost you, particularly if you’re on a contract, you may find yourself hit by extortionate prices when you return home. Using a ‘Pay as You Go’ international SIM means that you can control, and keep an eye your spending and top-up as and when you need to

And finally…make sure your phone will work abroad
One of the big miss conceptions is that because your mobile works at home, that it will also work abroad. Not entirely true. Whilst most smartphones today will support the four common mobile frequencies we recommend you check before travelling. The GSMArena provides information on most mobile phones and is a good place to start. Travelling to Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia you phone will need to support the GSM frequencies 900 and 1800. For the Americas your phone will need to support GSM frequencies 850 and 1900.