Optus' Travel Pack for $10/day international roaming

Review: Optus' Travel Pack for $10/day international roaming

overall:

What's Hot

  • Unlimited calls and SMS back to Australia from within 'Zone 1' countries
  • Coverage where Vodafone falls short such as in Canada, Russia, Greenland

What's Not

  • Just 50MB of data given per day
  • Limited coverage in the Southern Hemisphere

X-Factor

  • It's cheap enough not to bother with a local SIM on shorter trips

Introduction

$10 per day: that’s all you’ll pay for unlimited calls, SMS text messages and 50MB of daily data when you roam overseas in selected countries with an Optus Travel Pack.

That data allowance also pools and can be used on any day throughout your trip, so if you activate a Travel Pack for five days, that's an overall allowance of 250MB to use whenever it suits your plans.

But with Optus’ international roaming deal largely limited to the northern hemisphere, just how does it compare to likes of Telstra and Vodafone – both of which charge as little as $5 per day when you’re abroad?

Content

Optus’ roaming Travel Pack: where it works

One single Travel Pack covers you regardless of which ‘Zone 1’ country you’re visiting – so if your trip includes multiple stops within that zone, your lone Travel Pack comes along for the ride.

Aside from coverage around the Pacific, ‘Zone 1’ is largely centred around the Northern Hemisphere: indicated in teal below.

The darker blue shows where general roaming is available but where the Travel Pack allowances don’t apply, while your Optus SIM won’t work in the countries in white (with the exception of Australia).

Included within Zone 1: the UK, USA, France, Germany, Italy, Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Canada and India – some of Australia’s most popular destinations for business and leisure travellers alike.

Optus’ $10 international roaming compared

At $10 a pop, Optus customers are still paying a slight premium for convenience over the hassle of obtaining a cheaper, local SIM after touching down – but without being expensive enough to make that pit stop a necessity.

Yet if you’re in the market for a new mobile phone and a new post-paid plan to go with it, here’s what you’re up against.

Telstra’s International Travel Pass

If your travels regularly take you to New Zealand, the Telstra International Travel Pass provides exactly the same inclusions as an Optus Travel Pack, but at $5 per day against Optus’ $10.

Yet you can’t do the simple thing and pay Telstra only for the days that you roam – you’ll need to pre-order a fixed-duration pass that’s valid for three, seven, 14 or 30 days.

The timer starts counting from the moment it’s activated, which means allotting time to call the telco on your departure day: time better-spent in the lounge sipping on a glass of bubbly.

In all other included countries you’ll either pay the same $10 per day as Optus, or a higher $15/day – the difference being that you again can’t schedule the Telstra Travel Pass to begin when you leave Oz, whereas Optus lets you organise your roaming in advance and only charges for the specific dates that you nominate.

Vodafone’s $5/day roaming

Whether it’s Europe, the USA or even throughout Asia, Vodafone’s $5/day scheme operates under a different concept: use your existing Australian plan overseas and pay just $5 for the privilege, or nothing at all if you’re bound for New Zealand.

Read: Vodafone launches free New Zealand roaming

A large number of Vodafone’s roaming-capable plans provide unlimited calls and SMS, or at the very least a generous dollar-value credit to use for the same: immediately putting it on-par with both Optus and Telstra.

Where Vodafone takes the cake is data roaming – if you have 4GB to chew through every month when you’re in Australia, you can take that same 4GB with you as you travel.

As good as the deal sounds, it’s let down by its coverage in countries such as Canada, Russia and Mongolia where ‘casual’ roaming rates apply, where Optus would have you covered.

Optus’ roaming Travel Pack: the verdict

Although not as comprehensive in its inclusions or indeed as convenient as Vodafone’s $5/day roaming, we’re still glad to see Optus giving its customers an affordable option when taking their phone abroad.

$10/day proves a happy medium between the exorbitant roaming costs of yesteryear and the savings – but hassle – of obtaining a local SIM on your arrival, and makes sense if you'd rather keep your regular phone number active as you roam.

Also read:

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Chris Chamberlin
Chris Chamberlin is a senior journalist with Australian Business Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!
 

8 comments

  • DB

    aussieboyaussie

    7 Jul, 2016 11:29 am

    Definitely Vodafone! Used it countless times and it rocks!

    No member give thanks

  • vfm

    vfm

    7 Jul, 2016 11:56 am

    As I have an Optus plan, I've used Optus TP several times for trips 5 days or less (I use a local sim for longer trips) - worked fine for me, incl Iceland recently.  A pity it's not the same price as Vodafone though.

    No member give thanks

  • cssaus

    cssaus

    7 Jul, 2016 02:37 pm

    WHat I like about the Travel Pack is that I can receive and make calls back to Australia at no adiditional cost. I've used it where both my wife & I have had travel packs and have been in say the UK & we've been able to ring each other on our Aussie phones if we've gone our separate ways during the day.

    Another advantage is that for business I'vew been able to divert my office landline to my mobile phone & receive calls overseas without the caller necessiarily being aware that I am out of the office. Admittedly there is the call diversion cost but I I put it down to business expense.

    I agree about also using a local sim when on rprolonged periods overseas.

    No member give thanks

  • Dean

    deany83

    8 Jul, 2016 07:37 am

    I just sappy to Vodafone for a month in the UK, was so easy for fraction of what Telstra wanted to charge, I had unlimited text and 8 gig of data to use.

    No member give thanks

  • Jeffrey ONeill

    sydboy007

    8 Jul, 2016 03:53 pm

    I switched to Telstra prepaid a couple of years ago as the prepaid plans tened to offer decent value.

    As long as you recharge before your recharge credit expires the balance will continue to increase.

    You can purchase an international browse plus pack  (roaming data pack) with this credit ie basically get the roaming pack for free as you don't have to use. 

    I tend to spend 30ish days a year on holiday overseas and I'm able to save quite a few $$$ by not needing to buy a sim card when i'm in a country for just a few days.

    The bigger the amount of data you purchase the cheaper the rates get, but basically for my $30 plan I'm building up credit to that will get me a 100MB 30 day roaming data pack, or 1.2GB of data through the year.  If you were on a higher prepaid plan then you credit would build up faster.

     

    yes you can't make calls witht his setup, but i find most of my friends are on viber / line / whatsapp that I don't need to make an old style phone call.  even my parents call me on viber while i'm away.

    another added bonus is you can use you recharge credit to pay for google play purchases of apps.

    No member give thanks

  • OCA

    OCA

    26 Jul, 2016 01:34 am

    $5 p/d Vodafone is simply the best, great coverage in most places World wide.

    No member give thanks

  • AlexTravAddict

    AlexTravAddict

    13 Aug, 2016 03:16 am

    Affordable options? Affordable only in the sense that Australian travellers typically have high disposable income. In my view this product is obscenely priced, and doesn’t even deliver some key basics:

    Firstly, the cost is outrageous. Go away for 4 weeks and  it will cost you $280. $280 for a few phone calls and 1.4GB of data. To put that in perspective, I am currently in Brazil and I bought a Vivo sim card for 15BRL (about $6) and I have bought prepaid credit for 10BRL (about $4) which lasts 7 days and includes 500MB of data. In other words 28 days will cost you about $22 and you will receive more data than what Optus is offering. At that price you can buy a cheap phone, a Vivo sim and credit, and it will still be cheaper than Optus.

    Secondly, what is with the data offering? 50MB a day? Send a couple of emails and load a couple of maps and your have already used your daily limit. Not good enough for the price. Isn’t the whole idea of paying a premium so you don’t have to watch every MB. As for the unlimited texts? I can’t remember the last time I sent a text. I use whatsapp which is much faster, more reliable, and you can actually see if the message has been delivered and read.

    Thirdly, the coverage is awful. No coverage south of the USA is pretty poor. Completely useless for anyone travelling to the Olympics.

    This is a product that I would have expected in 2010. Not in 2016. Australian telcos are so behind the 8 ball. Big thumbs down from me.

    No member give thanks

  • alf seeling

    polaris

    25 Jul, 2018 07:21 am

    do not use optus.. I tried it last year for 4 weeks and it cut out in the middle for several days and had to buy a local sim card after hours of trying to find out what went wrong and being given lies and misinformation by optus... Idiot I gave them the benefit of the doubt this year for another 4 week trip and guess what, after 8 days it happened again. its just dropped out and spent 4 hours on the chat line via third party wifi with no answer from optus as to why this is happening. They just suggest buy a local sim card. what a f....n joke
    No member give thanks

Guest

22 Jul, 2019 06:31 pm

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