Calling home from central Europe

Old Sep 6th, 2005, 03:58 PM
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Calling home from central Europe

I have just done a search and have read many of the previous posts on buying and using calling cards. But I'm still not sure what to do.
We will be in 4 different countries, Czech Rep, Poland, Hungary and Austria. SO would it be best to buy a calling card before I go? If I wait til I get there, would I have to buy a seperate phone card in each country? Or would there possibly be one over there that would work in all 4 countries?

I agree with other posters, I'd be somewhat nervous to use the phone in my room for fear of huge charges. SO, generally, do the phone cards work ok in pay phones?

What should I do????
BTW, I live in Canada, so I'm not familiar with some of the cards mentioned in other posts. But then, I've never looked into buying a card before either.

Advice very very welcome!!
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Old Sep 6th, 2005, 04:26 PM
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Get an unlocked gsm mobile phone, buy a riiing sim pack on ebay, open up an account with enlinea (www.enlinea.com) and you'll be all set.
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Old Sep 6th, 2005, 05:41 PM
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xyz123, Thanks for the information. Unfortunately everything you said is like a foreign language to me! I haven't got a clue about all that stuff. All I know is that my mobile phone is not gsm.
Since I'm leaving next week, I don't have time to buy anything on ebay.
And wouldn't the phone and sim card end up costing me more than the prepaid cards? And I'd have to buy a charger ..

Although I'd love the convenience of a mobile phone, I think I'd better stick to prepaid cards. I should have thought of all this sooner.
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Old Sep 6th, 2005, 05:51 PM
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you can buy prepaid cards there.
Alternatively, I have been happy with a pre-paid MCI calling card ($20) purchased at Costco. I made many minutes worth of calls, including from Prague and Vienna, and still had lots of minutes left.
Be sure to consult the little folder that comes with the card, for the local access number for each country. If it's not listed, you have to call MCI to get the local access number for use within each country.
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Old Sep 6th, 2005, 06:07 PM
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You're probably right of course on set up costs for mobile phone vs. prepaid phone cards but look at it this way...

On my trip, I relaxed in my room with my feet up on the bed and called home for 12/minute (I think it's the same price to Canada but I wouldn't swear to it for sure) while people kept complaining about how difficult it was to make a call with verious prepaid ld calls; especially in central Europe. Public phones did not connect sometimes, hotels have surcharges sometimes (other times not)...with the mobile phone solution you are set for the foreseeable future and don't have to worry about hotel surcharges and running downstairs to use a public phone.

But perhaps you might wish to look at net2phone as an all purpose ld card. They charge US$1.50/month but only 15 US to call at least to the US (I suspect it is the same for Canada but again wouldn't swear to it)...but again there is always the problem of connecting into the system and again I tell you this was a problem for many; even going downstairs to use the public phones wasn't necessarily a good solution; sometimes they charge to connect to a toll free number sometimes they don't.

Not to be abrasive about this for sure, I really do believe the mobile phone solution is really something that ought to be strongly considered especially since there is now a service that indeed works across national borders and don't forget the convenience of having to tell people only 1 number where you can be reached 24/7 in an emergency.

Just my 2 cents for whatever little it is worth.
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Old Sep 6th, 2005, 06:14 PM
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I haven't been to central Europe, but I've phoned home from numerous European countries, either using prepaid phone cards that I purchased in that country, or just by putting change in a public phone and dialing.
For a number in the US or Canada, dial:

001 (3-digit area code)(7-digit telephone number)

I haven't had any problems anywhere.

Another solution: undoubtedly you know which people you want to talk to. You can buy them a $5 telephone card here in Canada, and give them your hotel telephone numbers, and ask them to phone you at specific times. They will get up to several hundred minutes out of that $5.

I am also reluctant to use the phone at hotels, but the two times I did in Venice, the total charge was only 2.50 Euros for these two brief calls. But I had a bad experience some time ago at a California motel with being charged at a long-distance rate for a toll-free call, so that has always worried me.
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Old Sep 7th, 2005, 03:30 AM
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Thanks so much for all the information. xyz123, ahh, you are so right. To be able to sit on the bed and talk worry free would be so nice. It's something I should definately do for the future. I've lefdt it too late for this trip. I'm already swamped with things to do.

Elaine, I think I will buy a card before leaving home and then see which ones to buy over there. At least I'll have one to start with. Thanks.

Willtravel, thanks for the idea to buy travel cards for my friends at home to use. That might work out really well. I didn't know if there would be a huge language problem with them trying to get through to me.
( I'm terrible at languages and assume everyone is!)

Lots of good ideas. Thank you.
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