How to get a load of super cheap data across Europe for just £10

Are you going to be in Europe this summer and want to avoid roaming fees and get the cheapest data possible? There’s currently a trick that lets you get £30 worth of O2 Pay As You Go (PAYG) credit for just £10 — a £20 bonus on top of your first top up.

O2 PAYG charge £1.99 a day for up to 50MB of data when you’re in Europe, so that £30 of credit can get you a decent amount of data.

It’s really easy to get the free credit too. Just order a free O2 SIM — and then do nothing. O2 will think that you need more convincing, and will send you an email after a week or so offering you a free £10 when you top up. This offer is also advertised on the back of the SIM pack that you’ll get in the post. If you ignore this email then you’ll get another one a week or two later, this time offering you £20 free credit when you top up. Top up online (the minimum amount is £10) and you’ll have the free credit put on your account within a few hours.

Once you’ve got the £30 credit it’s yours to spend as you wish, but I’ll be using mine to get cheap overseas data for a trip to Berlin this summer. Travelling without a smartphone can be fun (fewer distractions, more translation guessing, more puzzlement from trying to decipher cryptic foreign maps), but having data is great for using Twitter to catch events that would be hard to find out about without social media, foursquare to find nearby places to eat or drink, or apps like the excellent Field Trip to point out interesting places and gather together information from loads of different sources.

In a nutshell

Here’s how to get that free credit and cheap data:

  1. Order a free SIM from the O2 website. Make sure to get a ‘Big Talker’ SIM (click the ‘Big Talker’ tab). The ‘Big Bundle’ SIMs include a monthly fee which is taken when you top up. We want to keep our credit, and the ‘Big Talker’ SIMs act more like classic Pay As You Go plans. Choose the £10 option. You won't be charged anything, it just means when you top up that initial £10 you’ll also get some free texts and data to use in the UK.
  2. Enter your details, making sure to select the ‘We’d like to keep you posted on offers you might like’ — in this case we want to promotional emails as they contain free credit offers. You can always unsubscribe later.
  3. When your SIM arrives, leave it to the side. You’ll get an email offering you £10 free credit when you top up, but ignore that and you’ll eventually get the email offering you the £20.
  4. Top up the SIM and stick it in a phone to activate it. Do this before the date given in your £20 free credit promotional email.
  5. Text TRAVELON to 21300 to activate O2 Travel. This enables the £1.99 for 50MB rate. It can take up to 24hrs to be applied to your account.
  6. Now when you’ve left the UK, you can swap SIM cards and start to use up that cheap credit.

What countries are covered?

O2 travel works in:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Monaco, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Vatican, San Marino, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Some notes from the full terms and conditions:

  • Regardless of the country you’re in of the selected destinations, your daily data charge will apply from 00.00 to 23.59 UK time.
  • If you reach the 50MB limit of your O2 Travel Daily Allowance, you will be able to reset your daily allowance by texting MORETRAVEL to 21300 for a further charge of £1.99 and you will receive a further 50MB for use in the selected destinations.
  • Texts to 21300 cost 5p.
  • When you reach your daily allowance of 50MB and do not reset your allowance we will stop your data service until your allowance refreshes the following day when you will receive a further 50MB for £1.99.

Originally published at on July 29, 2015.