The most effective ways to avoid roaming charges are to stay within your mobile phone's service area or to choose a plan with no roaming. Cell phone plans now come with more flexible terms than ever, and many providers do not charge roaming fees. Your coverage area is also likely large enough to meet most of your travel needs, although you can check with your provider to be sure. Some plans offer more coverage than others.
One of the best ways to avoid roaming charges is to sign up for a nationwide or international calling plan. This not only means you can call anywhere in your country from your own location, but it often means that you can travel to anywhere within those areas as well. Be sure to check with your wireless provider about exact coverage areas and locations ahead of time to ensure you know where you can call to and from. Many plans already offer nationwide coverage.
If avoiding roaming charges is essential, ask your service provider to tell you about plans which will help you adequately avoid them. It will be helpful if you can give a list of places you often travel, although this may not be necessary. You may also look into getting a phone with a feature which automatically alerts you when you have traveled into an area in which making calls could incur roaming charges.
Do not assume that if you have nationwide coverage that you are automatically covered when you travel anywhere in your country. Many cell phone providers include only larger cities in some areas, while others have a much broader overall network. Obtain a map or list of areas in which roaming charges will not be a problem.
Using a popular national mobile provider may give you a wider coverage area than using a smaller company. Many pay as you go providers are owned by the major companies, but they often have much leaner coverage areas by comparison. Some “no contract” plans may have similarly small coverage areas, even when offered by a major mobile provider. In general, the more money you pay per month, the larger your potential coverage.
If you travel overseas or similarly large distances, it may be cheaper to acquire a cell phone plan in that area. This is most helpful if you are traveling primarily to the same location. Ask your provider about overseas options and any discounts available for having multiple lines.