*** UPDATE 16th July ***

Vodafone Data Traveller now means TWO DIFFERENT things depending on your contract. PLEASE read this post which supersedes this one:


For me and many others having access to the internet while travelling in Europe is essential. While we have had a lot of success with Wifi Access in Europe so far on our trip there is no substitute for being able to get instant access to your e-mails abroad, not to mention Google Maps, Wikitravel, Facebook and any other mobile application you have formed an addiction to!

Update 25th December: We have used VDT in France, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and Spain without issue. We consume 20mb a day every day and have had no issues at all.

I have covered the following topics in this post:

  • How do I access the service?
  • I'm not an existing customer, are there any deals out there?
  • What countries does the allowance work in?
  • How do I keep track of my usage?
  • Is there a Cap on my spending?
  • Can I tether this device to a Laptop?

Vodafone are the first English provider to provide a full European service, giving 25MB Per Day across 37 countries in the form of their Vodafone Data Traveler bolt on. This service was improved on the 1st June 2011 where countries previously limited to just 5MB/day was increased to 25MB/day.

Q. How do I access the service?

A. Pay Monthly:

Free on Contacts £40+ a month with 900 Minutes
If you already have a Vodafone contact costing £40 or more then this service is automatically applied to your account and no additional charge is made, although it may be worth checking you are opted in by dialling the Data Traveller line from your phone on 40062. In my case it actually wasn't enabled despite the automated service telling me so - so if in doubt contact customer services direct on 01635 676061.

£10 a Month for contacts under £40
If you sign up to the monthly package you pay £10/mth for the service has a 30 day cancellation period so again it may be worth you phoning an advisor to activate this for you - numbers above. This includes 30 day and sim only contracts, scroll down for more info.

Ad-hoc Usage for £2 a day
You can also opt in to the ad-hoc service, which has all the benefits of the £10/day service but costs just £2/day for 25MB rather than £10/mth. If you plan on using your phone for more than 5 days a month it might make sense to purchase a 12 month contact and use it as your phone also.

Pay As You Go:

£2/day for 25MB
There is no fixed term option for PAYG customers so you have to pay the £2/day fee in order to gain access to the service. At a cost of £60/mth you will need to weigh this up against the cost of a monthly contact.

Q. I'm not an existing customer, are there any deals out there?

A. Yes, Quidco offers Cash back on Vodafone Contacts - currently upto £160

If you already have a phone or wish to source one second hand, Vodafone 'Sim Only' contract with a length of between 30 days and 12 months. The cash back given varies according to your contract length and monthly cost, currently ranging from £15 to £120.

If you are looking for a new handset, the cash back offered increases significantly.

Q. What countries does the allowance work in?

A. There is a 25MB per day allowance in each of the following 37 countries
If you cross over a border in a day, you still only get 25MB total for a 24 hour period. That 24 hour period is based on a 24 hour time period from 00:00 to 23:59 GMT regardless of the time zone which you are visiting.
  • Albania
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Bulgaria
  • Channel Islands (Jersey, Guernsey)
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark (inc. Faroe Islands)
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • French West Indies
  • Gibraltar
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Isle of Man
  • Italy (inc. San Marino and Vatican City)
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Monaco
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal (inc. Madeira)
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain (inc. Balearic Islands & Canary Islands)
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

Q. How do I keep track of my usage?

A. Vodafone send you a series of text messages to keep you informed.

The first one reads:

"From Vodafone: Just to let you know that you have a 25MB data allowance to use in this country today. We will let you know if you get close to using this allowance. Sent JUN 01 @ 9:02"

The second, which arrives at 80% usage reads:

"From Vodafone: Just to let you know you are approaching the end of your 25MB allowance and to remind you that there is a charge of £1 per MB including VAT once the allowance is used"

You receive a further message once you exceed your allowance (I personally have never done so!).

You can also monitor your usage by installing an application onto your phone - there is one available for most mobile platforms.

Data Monitor for the Blackberry is very good and gives alerts to let you know how you have progressed through your data usage once you have told it how much you can use a day.

Q. Is there a Cap on my spending?

A. Yes

All EU mobile phones are subject to the EU roaming data cap of €50 which works out to £38+VAT. If you run up a bill in excess of this your roaming data will be disabled until you request that it is re-enabled.

Q. Can I tether this device to a Laptop?

A. Yes, but the Terms and Conditions state you will be charged for this usage. 

The terms and conditions state that tethered usage will be charged separately to that of mobile handset usage, with regards to tethered iPhone usage as far as I know this is certainly the case.

With regards to other phones I have been told by many people that they have used it successfully tethered to a laptop without any additional charges appearing on your bill.  In reality, 25MB is not a great deal in laptop terms and you'll soon rattle through it and into 'extra time'. It is suitable for use as a quick fix / emergency but I wouldn't make a habit out of using it tethered.

The reason for this is if everyone tethered their phones it would make 'Mobile Broadband' dongles redundant and while these are still popular both at home and abroad we will continue to see anti-tethering policys on mobile phone contracts.

In theory, if you did use it tethered the most Vodafone would be able to charge you for a months usage would be the £38+VAT EU imposed on roaming data in Europe - but I'll let you test this rather than me!

Making the most of your Megabytes
We use a copy of Opera Mini on our phones which MASSIVELY compresses web pages and allows you to browse over 10x the amount of web pages that you would have been able to without it. It does this by blocking certain content and by only downloading a small percentage of the original image size, since you are browsing on a smaller screen you only need a smaller proportion of the data. Over the last six months I have downloaded 250mb (just 10 days allowance) when browsing the web on my phone, which without it would have required 3.1Gb (127 days allowance). Download Opera Mini
External Links:

Vodafone Data Traveller - Official Site
Quidco (Search for Vodafone)
Download Opera Mini

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