If you're planning trip outside USA, I would advise contacting your mobile phone carrier to check on international calling - and data plan - for length of time away. If you don't need to receive "data" (texts, and/or emails) you can turn off your "data roaming" feature in "Settings" on your phone. Usually, most major phone companies will provide 30-day plan for additional $30.00, which is well worth what it would cost you otherwise if you use your phone in another country.
Good advice. I've also found a really good smartphone app called "WiCall" that allows you to make phone calls to anywhere in the world (most places less than 2 cent a min) when your phone is connected to a WiFi connection or 3G/4G data connection. The receiving party will see your phone number appear on their caller ID as well. It's a great way to avoid high international calling rates.
Fred and Vaboy,
This cell phone outside the US thing was quite an issue. I have purchased 2 phones upon arrival at various airports. One was a Prepaid Vodafone. Pretty good deal. You get a local number with tons of minutes for around $40 (basic phone). Texts were free, or close to it, back and forth from the US. Even the per minute rate wasn't bad.
I was pointed to the following, which was credited to the (British) Telegraph newspaper.
Zero roaming charges in Europe from July 2014
17th June 2013 |
In 2014, there will be an end to roaming charges, as the EU decided to make an end to roaming charges. Consumers will be able to make calls through their mobile phones within Europe and pay the same price as in their home countries. This would mean a major reform in telecommunications and existing regulations that left many consumers with big roaming bills after using their mobile phones across Europe when on holiday or on business trips. This is now to change from mid 2014 onwards as the European Commission voted in Brussels to push through these long needed reforms before the next elections taking place in May 2014. First detailed proposals will be presented by the end of July.
If I am reading this correctly it looks like a sim card from any European country will work all over the EU without extra charges. That could be very convenient for Insiders traveling to Europe.
I actually have purchased an "unlocked quad band GSM" cell phone for when I'm abroad. Then I simply stop into a local store and pick up a SIM card for the type of calling I plan on doing while in that country. I actually have two phones now, one is an older "flip" motorola phone that does texting and calling but no real "data" usage. The other is a duos samsung android phone that takes two SIM cards and is a true smart phone. I find I use them both depending on my destination. In the UK and through the EU, you can find SIM cards for as low as $10 (local currency) that could get you through a good bit of use, with a local number. They have cards designed for local calling, EU wide use, calling back to the US or higher data use. If you are planning to be back and forth into a country or area, most of the cards will stay active with your balance if you simply use it once every so many days. I am in the UK quite often, so I maintain my Vodafone card by sending my US phone a txt message every month. Costs me a few cents to do it and I never have to go to the stores to update my cards, simply do it online. One tip, if you are going to be in Europe and moving between countries, make sure you get a card that doesn't have crazy charges for using it in other countries. It might more economic sense to have two SIM cards if you are calling the US and local places a good bit, one designed for each type of call.
You can buy one of these older working flip type phones off ebay for under $50 and actually if you find you dont need it anymore just turn around and sell it on ebay when you are done. Other phones can be crazy expensive depending on what you want
Here's another suggestion: My wife and I were traveling in England several years ago and rather than drive into Oxford, which we had done on previous occasions, we decided to park at remote area outside Ring Road and take bus into the city. When we arrived, I realized that my mobile phone - then a Blackberry - had popped off my belt clip and must have fallen on bus floor. I immediately called the bus company to report the loss, and also call AT&T, my phone carrier. Later that day when we returned to remote parking area, I checked with the bus company again, but no phone had been reported, or returned. By the time I returned to the USA, over $300.00 had been charged to my account, but fortunately after time registered that I had reported the phone loss, so AT&T discounted all calls.It could happen to anyone! Be careful when you carry mobile phones with you in foreign countries!