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A quarter of Britons who travelled in the last year said they did not use their mobile phone while abroad, the poll by TripAdvisor found, more than holidaymakers from any of the other 22 countries surveyed, except Canada.
Around nine in ten travellers from Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand accessed their social media accounts while abroad, compared to fewer than two in five British holidaymakers.
Just under half of those polled said their reduced use was down to the high costs of texting and calling, with nearly two-thirds of Britons citing social media as a cheaper way to contact people while on holiday. Earlier this year, research by the social media network Facebook showed that the number of Britons accessing the popular social media website on their mobile phones increased by 22 per cent this summer, compared with last year. Thirty-nine per cent of travellers said they were deterred by data roaming fees.
The survey by TripAdvisor also revealed that those Britons who do use their mobile devices abroad do so primarily for travel planning and research purposes, such as navigating (29 per cent), finding restaurants (21 per cent), and reading reviews (15 per cent).
The most popular travel apps were those giving weather updates (cited by 70 per cent of mobile phone users), followed by accommodation-related apps (59 per cent) and currency converting apps (56 per cent).
Online browsing and games were the most popular uses for a tablet device among British travellers, while 21 per cent used it for travel-related reasons.
“The growth in smartphone use worldwide has changed the way many travellers pick and plan where to go while abroad, but for a sizeable number of UK travellers the prospect of facing wallet-busting charges for data roaming is clearly putting them off from accessing apps and information that could improve the travel experience,” said Marc Charron, president of TripAdvisor for Business.
“Mobile network operators need to be doing more to make charges clearer to their customers so that they can have the confidence to use their phones on the go wherever they are,” he added.