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Phone for London & then Paris ? (in 1 week)

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I absolutely will not be bringing my useless Virgin Mobile USA phone with me. In fact I want to leave it at home to avoid any accidental roaming charges, etc. That leaves me with a dilemna. First/ Go NO PHONE, 2nd/ buy a phone & sim card package stateside, 3rd/ buy phone stateside & local sim cards for UK & then France, or 4th/ buy phone with sim card installed once we arrive in London. Any suggestions what might work for 2 seniors traveling without a tour group for guidance? The local sim cards are of interest because of the much cheaper local rates BUT I can never find an accurate from UK (or France) per minute rate back to the US. Are we looking at $.50 or higher per minute rates for calls back to US? Most packages bought stateside charge at least that to call home. I assume the stateside bought packages are a ripoff... but convenience is nice. BTW I will have my Nexus 7 tablet and a Kindle with me so wifi should be available to me. But I have never been a SKYPE user and would be a slow learner so that is not my first option. My initial concern is the car service pickup at Heathrow. Without a phone can they contact me (or I contact them) in case of changes, etc. As an afterthought I might like a designated 'travel phone' I could use on my next trip as well.... If I survive the stress of this one! Thanks.

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