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How To Avoid Fines While Travelling in Europe?

Travelling abroad is an exciting thing. You get to explore new places, meet interesting people and experience different cultures. However, one thing that most travellers dread when going abroad is the possibility of getting a fine, and it’s easy to see why – they can be as high as hundreds if not thousands of dollars, depending on the country they’re issued in.

Although the European Union has a standardised system of fines that apply to all member countries, every country has its own rules and charges when it comes to fines that are issued. Some countries only fine for specific offences, while others fine for everything from jaywalking to littering. Even when travelling within the same country, you could receive a fine for doing something that is not illegal in another region.

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So how can you avoid fines while travelling in Europe? The best way is to simply be aware of all the rules and regulations that apply and know what could happen if you break them. Below, you will find information on common offences, fines, and potential consequences you might face when travelling in Europe. Read through it carefully, and you’ll be able to avoid the most common fines!

How To Avoid Fines While Travelling in Europe?

Fines for Smoking in Public Places

One of the most common fines you might face when travelling in Europe is a fine for smoking in public places. In some countries, such as Greece, Spain, or Hungary, smoking is allowed in designated areas only. In other countries, like Belgium, France, and the United Kingdom, smoking is banned in all public places, including private establishments.

Fines for smoking in public places vary from about £50 for smoking outside in England to over €1,500 for smoking in public places in Germany. You may also want to check vaping regulations; in some countries, such as Slovakia or Poland, vaping e-liquids such as these from Double Drip, Riot Squad, Big Tasty, or any other brand is considered the same as smoking conventional cigarettes; thus, the same conditions apply. In some other countries, the legal status of vaping is not clear, so it’s best to check with the authorities before vaping in public.

Fines for Jaywalking

Jaywalking, crossing the street in a non-designated area, is one of the most common offences tourists commit when travelling in Europe. This is an offence in most European countries, and the fines for jaywalking vary from country to country, but they are usually low (less than €100). Jaywalking can be extremely dangerous, and if you’re involved in an accident while jaywalking, the person who hit you is often not responsible for the damage or injuries you might suffer.

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Some countries, however, are more lenient when it comes to jaywalking. For example, in the United Kingdom, jaywalking is legal in most places, except for motorways and most major roads. Of course, if you cross the street in a way that endangers your life or the lives of others, you may be fined. But as long as you safely cross the street, you’re not likely to get into trouble there.

Fines for Littering

Littering is not only disrespectful; it’s also against the law in most European countries. In France, for example, you can be fined up to €135 for littering in public, including cigarette butts and, much prevalent during the pandemic, face masks. Many places also give fines for incorrect waste disposal in public places, so if you see a garbage can with a recyclable sign, don’t throw anything into it that doesn’t belong there and look for another bin to dispose of your waste.

Fines for Driving Offences

It’s also easy to get a fine for driving offences when travelling in Europe, especially if you’re a tourist. One of the most common offences is speeding. Speeding fines are pretty high in most European countries, and they’re usually issued after being caught on camera or by using laser speed guns. In the United Kingdom, for example, the minimum fine for speeding is £100, and it can go up to a staggering £2,500 if you are caught speeding on a motorway.

Germany is known for its no-speed-limits highways, but it doesn’t mean you can go as fast as you want – there are many limitations, and you can get a fine for speeding there as well. Speeding is not the only driving offence you might commit while travelling in Europe. You could also get into trouble for driving without your lights on (and they are required to be always on in numerous EU countries), crossing a red light, making a U-turn in the middle of the road, or any other driving rule you might break.

Fines for Public Indecency

Public indecency may not be considered a criminal offence in most European countries, but it could still cost you quite a bit. If you’re caught urinating in public, for example, you can get a fine of several hundred Euros. That, or public nudity, are not the only public indecency offences, but they are the most common. You should be aware that even much less offensive acts, such as making obscene gestures or swearing in public, can get you fined. For example, in Poland, while people generally turn deaf ears to swearing, if you push your luck, you may be fined up to about €300.

In Conclusion

There are a few more offences that can get you a fine when travelling in Europe, like making too much noise in your hotel room, leaving your pet unattended in the car while going on an errand, or filming in a museum. Although fines may seem unfair and intimidating, they are sometimes necessary to keep things under control so that everyone has a chance to have a good time.

So next time you’re travelling to a country in Europe, make sure you know the rules and regulations, and you should be able to avoid fines. It is also important to be aware that the fines listed in this article are just a general guideline – they may vary depending on the severity of the offence and many other factors. If you’re unsure about anything, it’s always best to ask an authority figure or someone familiar with the law.

How to Avoid Roaming Charges and Still Get a Great Connection Abroad

how to avoid roaming charges

We are living in the age of connectedness, where anyone can get online from anywhere , right?

Well, as soon as you step out of your country, this formula crumbles. Mobile carriers and global internet service providers charge ridiculous fees – so much that in fact that they have already become subject to strict regulations in Europe. That didn’t slow them down a lot though, with international roaming revenues being estimated to exceed $1 trillion in 2020. Even with business travel grinding to a halt during COVID-19, this is a massive amount of money. And the service you get for it is not that good either, offering speed and reliability straight from the early 2000s.

To help you out, our team has prepared some tips on how to avoid roaming charges and still get the most out of your cellular connection.

What Data Roaming Means?

Broadly speaking, the word “roaming” refers to a process when a phone or other device connects to the Internet using a non-native network. This can actually happen within the country as well but since there are no extra fees for domestic roaming, nobody really knows about it. Nowadays, this term refers mostly to international data roaming, which is also the most expensive one.

How Data Roaming Works?

Data Roaming

To make roaming possible, mobile network operators need to make their networks accessible to outside accounts. So the process usually starts with businesses negotiating the terms on which they essentially lend their infrastructure to non-customers. Once the agreement is reached, further steps are as follows:

  1. You leave the area covered by your ISP;
  2. The phone searches for available networks;
  3. The “visited” network locates a non-registered device;
  4. The permission to roam is obtained from the home network;
  5. Temporary access is granted, and the home network is notified.

This “temporary access” happens on terms specified in roaming agreements, which is where the egregious charges come from. Of course, some of them may be attributed to maintenance and other technical aspects. Realistically, though, these costs cannot be anywhere near as high. This is just because ISPs can charge as much as they want in the absence of competition. In other words, you are absolutely justified to ask “How to avoid international roaming?”, and we’ll do our best to help you out.

How to Reduce and Avoid International Data Roaming Charges?

First, let’s look at the worst-case scenario: you have been caught unprepared on your way to an airport with no other options than using cellular data roaming. While you are still on home turf, try to collect as much information as you can:

  • Go through the options offered by your carrier and find out how much does data roaming cost
  • Pay attention to the fine print to avoid unpleasant surprises
  • Factor in the destination – the cost of data roaming in the USA and Europe differs drastically
  • Check whether your accommodation offers WiFi for travel
  • Go to roaming settings and choose the most conservative mode
  • Download and update everything you can while you still have cheap Internet
  • Turn off all non-essential apps that might go online without permission

Keep in mind though: even the best roaming charges are quite costly (unless your ISP has some kind of a free roaming plan). So try to reduce your online time to a minimum and avoid heavy-traffic tasks (not that you’ll enjoy a high-speed connection with international Internet service anyway).

5 Best Alternatives to Data Roaming

how to avoid international roaming

If you prepare for the trip, you actually have quite a few ways to stay connected . Most of these involve buying an additional device or service, yet some will offer better value for the same money than others.

Travel Modem

When it comes to data roaming, a dedicated portable WiFi device for travel like nect MODEM is pretty hard to beat. While it relies on the same mobile network as the phone, it allows switching between multiple data plans, so you can choose the one with the best roaming charges in the region. Better yet, it supports eSIM technology, so you can switch between several accounts from the app. On top of that, the gadget itself has a number of improvements that put you in control of the situation, as it:

  • Shares the connection with multiple devices – no need to worry how to get Internet on laptop anywhere
  • Works autonomously, can be powered from the USB port
  • Supports all LTE bands
  • Supports encrypted connection and VPN for maximum security and privacy

In other words, if you intend to save on roaming without sacrificing performance, a portable modem internet connection is your best bet.

Public WiFi

If you want to eliminate cellular data roaming expenses altogether, consider WiFi hotspots. Hotels, restaurants, and coffee shops usually offer some kind of wireless Internet access as a part of their services. However, the quality of connection will vary. Besides, not all such hotspots are free. Some will only be available for a fee, in which case you will find yourself at the mercy of the gatekeeper. Finally, there’s no telling how safe public networks really are , so it might be better to use them as a backup plan only.

Local SIM

The best way to avoid international roaming is not to rely on it at all and use the local network on its terms by buying a SIM card from the local carrier. In this way, you can enjoy the full range of services at a fraction of the cost it charges travelers. You might need to provide some kind of identification or fill in some forms.

Keep in mind, though, that some phones still don’t support non-native SIM cards. Besides, unless your device supports two SIM cards, switching between different data plans can be an inconvenience. However, with a spare slot in your trusty nect MODEM, combine it with a local SIM and get the best travel WiFi possible.

Travel SIM

how to get internet while traveling

If you travel often and find juggling SIM cards inconvenient, consider travel SIMs. This is essentially a regular SIM card with a data plan geared towards international data roaming. Of course, you still need to find a device to use it, so it comes with the same limitations as the option above. Again, a portable WiFi for international travel like nect MODEM will solve this problem. Nevertheless, it comes with a similar offer anyway, which defeats the purpose of buying what you already own.


Another solution to the data plan juggling is an eSIM-enabled device . With it, you can switch between several accounts through settings instead of physically removing any SIM card. The main challenge is that devices that support it, such as our nect MODEM, are still relatively uncommon. So, unless you paid attention to it while choosing between USB modem vs router , your gadget most probably doesn’t have it.

Final Thoughts

For the longest time, getting affordable Internet for travel was quite a chore. Unchallenged, ISPs are still reluctant to bulge when it comes to data roaming prices. Fortunately, the tides are changing, and we are happy to be a part of this. With built-in international data plans and the eSIM support, nect MODEM will put you back in control and help create a better, fairer world for everyone.

Avoid Pricey Cell Phone Charges When Traveling Abroad

Suzanne Rowan Kelleher is a nationally recognized family travel expert and an award-winning travel writer and editor.

Jillian Dara is a freelance journalist and fact-checker. Her work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, USA Today, Michelin Guides, Hemispheres, DuJour, and Forbes.

Using a cell phone when traveling internationally

Afraid to let your family members use their cell phones overseas? Anytime you leave the country on a family vacation or a cruise, your next cell phone bill has the potential to be astronomical. An international trip doesn’t have to break your budget when it comes to your cell phone.

Before You Go, Talk to Your Provider

First things first. Depending on where you’re traveling, your wireless provider may offer an international plan that is affordable for your destination. If you’re only spending a few days in Canada or Mexico, for example, it may only cost you a handful of dollars to switch to a different plan temporarily. On the other hand, if you do nothing and simply cross the border, you could end up spending hundreds or thousands of dollars.

For example, Verizon’s TravelPass and AT&T’s Passport plans both let you use your phone as you would at home for a small surcharge when traveling to Canada, Mexico, and hundreds of other regions.

If your cell phone company does not provide an international plan, consider upgrading temporarily to a plan that gives you more data. You can verify coverage in your destination country and estimate how much data you will need by using tools such as Verizon’s International Trip Planner or AT&T’s International Travel Guide.

Aside from choosing an alternative plan, there are a number of steps you can take to stop or cut back on how much cellular data you use when you are out of the country. Avoiding massive data overages is the key to keeping costs under control.

Turn off Roaming

In order to stop cellular data use, you should turn off roaming. To do this, go to your settings, and look for roaming options. Set it to “Roaming Off.” This is essentially the nuclear option and shuts off your cellular data entirely when you’re out of the country. If you choose this option, you’ll still be able to get phone calls and texts whenever you’re logged into a Wi-Fi network or hotspot. But your phone will not send or receive data on networks such as 3G, 4G, or LTE.

If you have kids who are old enough for a phone but young enough that you can’t trust them to stay off YouTube and Instagram while you’re away, this may be the best bet.

Set Email to Fetch

This feature is only on iPhones. It turns off automatic downloads of new emails and lets you manually download your email when connected to a Wi-Fi network or hotspot, which is much cheaper. The best scenario is if you can live without email altogether, then turn off both “Push” and “Fetch.” On an iPhone, in “Settings,” go to “Mail, Contacts, Calendars” and toggle off your settings for “Push” and “Fetch New Data.”

Shut Down Non-Vital Apps

This lets your phone download data only for the apps you want to use without having all your other apps also using up data. The fewer apps you leave turned on, the less risk of racking up hundreds of dollars in roaming charges. On an iPhone, in “Settings,” go to “Cellular,” then toggle off any individual apps you will not need on your trip. On an Android phone, go to “Apps,” pick your app and tap “Disable.”

Deactivate Texting

By deactivating texting, this stops texts from being billed as data when you’re away. When you’re outside the country, iMessage and other calling and messaging apps are treated as pricey data rather than as text messages.

If you have an iPhone, go to “Settings,” go to “Messages” and deactivate your messaging app (such as iMessage), along with MMS Messaging, and Group Messaging. If you have an Android phone, turn the phone on airplane mode and leave it that way for the entirety of your trip.

Before you leave for your trip, if there are some people that you need to stay connected to, then agree to download an app like FireChat, which allows for live communication within a group even without an Internet connection or cellular network. When you get back home, simply reactivate your texting settings.

Check Your Usage

You should track your usage within the current billing period. As you leave the country, on an iPhone, click on “Reset Statistics” to reset your data usage tracker so you can see your usage for that specific trip. As your usage approaches your max for the month, consider turning off roaming. On an Android, you can set an alert to notify you if your data reaches a certain level.

Do Not Stream

Let family members know that streaming video and movies are banned on your trip. Instead, have everyone download content before leaving the U.S. This allows you to avoid streaming content, which is extremely data intensive and will make your bill exorbitant.

Get a Temporary International Phone

Signing up for international roaming plans and data plans aren’t the only options. If you think you will need to make a lot of calls and will use the phone extensively, then you may want to consider purchasing a specialized international phone for traveling. These international cell phones often come with reduced data and international roaming rates.




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