• A third (33%) of British holidaymakers have been caught out by unexpected costs whilst away, with 1 in 5 (20%) being hit with roaming charges
  • Over 1 in 5 (21%) admit to avoiding pre-holiday admin as it impacts their pre-holiday excitement
  • Top costs people haven’t accounted for include currency conversion fees (35%), data roaming charges (31%) and unexpected city taxes (27%)
  • Radio host and television personality, Roman Kemp, fronts new campaign as “Roaming Kemp”, warning holidaymakers about the risks of not having free roaming included in their mobile plan

27th June 2023: Brits’ disdain for pre-holiday admin is costing them hundreds of pounds, according to new research.

With over 1 in 5 (21%) of holidaymakers admitting they overlook important pre-holiday admin such as checking exchange rates, reading the fine print on insurance policies or not checking if their mobile plan includes free roaming, Virgin Media O2 is warning Brits to set aside pre-holiday admin time to avoid getting caught out.

In fact, a third (33%) of British holidaymakers have already been stung whilst abroad, having to fork out on average £193 more than they needed to in order to cover unexpected or hidden costs. Top costs people haven’t accounted for include currency conversion fees (35%), data roaming charges (31%) and unexpected city taxes (27%).

When hit with these costs in the past, over half (55%) confirmed this negatively impacted the enjoyment of their trip as it made them feel anxious (49%), made it hard to relax (24%) or resulted in them having to cut back on spending during the trip (22%). In the run up to a holiday, 1 in 3 (33%) people admit to spending less than 5 hours planning their holiday and sorting pre-holiday admin, with 27% confirming they avoid it altogether as it impacts their pre-holiday excitement.

Considering that 40% said this year is the holiday where they’re most looking forward to fully switching off from work and relaxing, it’s more important than ever for holidaymakers to minimise the risk of added stress caused by being stung.

With summer holiday season approaching, Virgin Media O2 is reminding holidaymakers to be careful of roaming charges, an unwanted expense that 1 in 5 (20%) holidaymakers have been caught out in the past, with almost a third (32%) of people forgetting to switch data roaming off when they go away.

What’s more, over half of Brits (53%) said they don’t know if their mobile provider will charge roaming fees this summer, with 6 in 10 (60%) holidaymakers disappointed to see the return of roaming charges in European countries last year.

If they didn’t have access to Wi-Fi or free data roaming, 39% would worry about staying in contact with their loved ones, while the same percentage would struggle without being able to use mapping apps on their phone. Other top things that Brits would struggle without include home comforts such as tea bags, slippers or a pillow from home (20%).

To help remind people to check their roaming policies ahead of time and avoid getting caught out by unexpected roaming charges, Virgin Media O2 has enlisted the help of Roman Kemp, known for his travel misadventures, to spread the word.

Taking up the role as “Roaming Kemp”, Roman fronts Virgin Media O2’s new tongue-in-cheek airplane safety style video to help prepare holidaymakers before they take off this summer.

Gareth Turpin, Chief Commercial Officer and Virgin Media O2 said: “Holidays should be a time for joy and relaxation, and people often splash out to make the most of their trip, but no one wants to fork out for extra costs they hadn’t planned for. Luckily, if you’re an O2 customer you have one less thing to worry about when planning your travels, as O2 is the only major network to offer inclusive EU roaming so all of our customers can keep connected and use their phone as they would at home, without worrying about unwanted roaming fees.”


  1. Charges to convert your cash (35%)
  2. Paying a fortune on data roaming charges on your phone (31%)
  3. Having a taxi bill much higher than you expected (30%)
  4. Getting unexpectedly charged to use a cash machine (29%)
  5. Overpaying for tours/excursions that you could have got cheaper (28%)
  6. Unexpected city taxes (27%)
  7. Last minute excursion costs (21%)
  8. Unexpected baggage costs (19%)
  9. Unexpected accommodation fees (17%)
  10. Attempting to haggle but still getting fleeced on a product (14%)

As well as free EU roaming up to 25GB, O2 is the only mobile network operator to automatically roll down its direct combined contract customers onto an airtime only plan, ensuring they never overpay for a phone they already own.


Journalists can contact the Virgin Media O2 press office on:
press@virginmediao2.co.uk 01753 565656
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