Since their emergence at the beginning of the 21st century, smartphones have systematically changed the way we communicate with friends and family. Apart from producing a generation of teenagers that struggle with full sentences, everything is all rather convenient nowadays. Taking a photo, writing a caption and sending it to hundreds of people takes all but a few moments making the traditional snail-mail postcard effectively redundant.
In the UK, we have an understanding of what we can and can’t do to avoid seeing a frightful surprise on our next bill, and that’s ok. But the moment our plane lands in another country and we turn our phones back on (ignoring the captain’s request to wait until we reach the terminal building of course), there’s that sudden awareness that checking what your friends are doing on Facebook may mean not being able pay your electricity bill for the rest of the year.
June 2014: All Change
In mid-2014, the EU commission introduced caps on charges for EU-operating mobile phone networks, which slashed the prices we had all been paying when travelling within the EU, which as of 2007 includes Bulgaria, the nation in which the beautiful ski town of Bansko sits.
So, instead of returning home to a larger than normal surprise from your mobile phone network, you’re now able to keep your non-holidaying friends jealous with a phone call and only pay 15 pence per minute (19 cents). For topping up the aforementioned jealousy throughout your trip, a text message will now only set you back approx 5 pence (6 cents).
If the beautiful mountains and snowy scenery doesn’t keep your attention, you can see what your non-holidaying friends are doing on Facebook for approx 16 pence (20 cents) per megabyte. It’s probably worth looking up the average file sizes of those inevitable cat photos to get some perspective.
999 Means Nothing Outside the UK
From childhood, our parents have drilled the fact into us that if we call 999, some responsible people will turn up and make everything ok again. In the UK that makes perfect sense, but what do you do in Bulgaria if you need assistance?
Unlike in the UK, there are three numbers depending on the emergency:
150 – Ambulance
166 – Police
160 – Fire
…and according to the EU website, calls can be answered in English which is helpful (although you might have to wait to be transferred to an English speaking operator).
The best thing to do is pop these numbers in your phone for your time in Bulgaria and we certainly hope you never need to use them.
Snow Capped Mountains vs Your Phone’s Screen
Whilst you’re out there, we know the breath-taking scenery will be something to remember and your mobile phone is going to take a back seat to good company, great skiing and a fantastic chalet holiday but it’s always good to be informed!