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Cell phones for Ital

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Friends and I are taking a bus trip to Italy for 2 weeks that also has a fair amount of time on our own. I was considering getting a cell phone. We both have Verizon and our phones are locked so we can't get a SIM card for them. I have seen some on line for as little at $30.oo that can be used in 160 countries. You do not put any money on a card but rather the fees just go to your credit card. Has anyone used this type of a plan or phone in Italy before? How is the reception ? I've also been told to buy one at the airport in Italy but would rather have things figured out before we go.

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