Shall I bring along my mobile to my host country?

Question of the week (issue 55). Lisa from Switzerland is looking forward to her one-year au pair stay in Spain. During this period, she would prefer to keep in touch with her parents and friends via phone. Can she simply continue to use her present mobile phone while staying abroad?  

, in Archive


My name is Lisa. I am from Switzerland and will soon join my host family in Spain where I will become an au pair for one year. During this time, I would naturally like to keep contact with my family and friends in Switzerland. What is the best way to do it? Shall I simply bring along my mobile to my host country and make my phone calls as usual?

Au Pair Lisa from Switzerland, Zurich

Reply of the AuPairWorld Support Team

Dear Lisa,

No, please do not continue to use your present mobile while you are abroad. The rates for your mobile usually refer to the mobile network in your home country. Should you continue to use your present mobile in your host country, you will be using a foreign network. Naturally, the corresponding operator will charge fees for these roaming services. This clearly means: it can become quite expensive to bring along your mobile and keep using it carelessly while you are abroad.

Some good-value possibilities:

  • Ask your host family for tips they can give you in terms of saving money on phone calls. Possibly they will put a mobile at your personal disposal. This would also offer advantages to the family: they could reach you at all times - especially in case of an emergency. Furthermore, your host family's landline would not be constantly busy because of your phone calls. Your friends could call you on this mobile.
  • Should you insist on bringing along your mobile and using it, you should contact your mobile provider as soon as possible asking for good-value roaming rates for Spain. Maybe you will be offered a rate which would suit you abroad?
  • Other possibility: take along your mobile including your SIM-card. However, you should only use your SIM-card in case of an emergency. Before leaving your country, you should ask your host family for various types of prepaid cards which can be topped up and which you can get in your host country. Ask your mobile provider if these cards would also work on your mobile phone.
  • Another possibility: get a good-value mobile in your host country. The best thing to do is ask your host family where you can get a good-value mobile phone with a prepaid card that can be topped up from a Spanish provider. 
  • You should not use your mobile or smartphone for surfing the Internet abroad. This is way too expensive! You should ask your host family instead if you can use their Internet access.

In any case, you should get some ideas from your host family and mobile provider as soon as possible. In this context, you should not forget to pass on your new mobile number to your host family, which they will need to reach you in Spain. We wish you a great stay as an au pair,

Your AuPairWorld Support Team