The first thing you need to do in Chios (unless you are Turkish)

This is not click-bait. You really have to do this one thing when you visit the east side of Chios, which includes the port, the airport, the main town of the island known as Chora, as well as some places where on your east there’s the sea and on your west the mountainous part of the island.

What is this all about? I’m sure you guessed it:

Your mobile network!

Last summer I found it annoying when I realised how much I was charged for a 1 min call that would normally be included on my plan. Just to say ‘Hey, I’m at the beach, where are you?’ to an old friend. That all happened while using my UK SIM card.

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You see, there are many places on the island of Chios where that reception of Turkish networks is stronger than Greek ones (Got you now Turkcell, not paying any more for your strong signal).

So, without even noticing, my phone would switch to the ‘best available network’ and call, not from my free plan within the EU included on my UK provider EE (Brexit, really???), but using a Turkish network, usually Turkcell.

What you need to do?

As soon as you land to Chios island, change your mobile network from automatic to manual and pick a network from the Greek ones. Unless you are Turkish… They are obvious to be found having a ‘GR’ next to them unlike Turkey’s ‘TR’. Pick Cosmote GR that works in most places in Chios, WIND GR which has been improving lately or Vodafone GR which is very reliable too.

This way you will not be charged unwanted talking minutes or -even worse- data just by having your phone on.

I have to admit that sometimes I forget about this when going home to Chios. Only after I receive that bizarre text message saying ‘Welcome to Turkey’ and explaining the charges outside of plan (Hey, I always have a plan!) is when I swith to manual.

On top of all, there are friends and family that have actually showed me that apart from the ‘on the go’ charges, there is a stupendous one-off charge of 6 euros when you first connect to a Turkish network. That depends on the network and the country you are registered at. But I can generalise for all countries to say this happens. I’ve seen it on mobiles from the US though by people that had Greece included on their plan (or a ‘booster’) as part of the EU.

Did I convince you to go manual? Come on, it’s not a car to love automatic. Do it and spend the money you save in a mastic liqueur instead.

As for you, lucky Turkish neighbours, I’m sure you enjoy a home network abroad, right?

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