Cell phone usage

Mar 25th, 2012, 09:56 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 50
Cell phone usage

We will be traveling in Spain and Germany this June. Therre area two couples going and we would like to be able to get in touch with each other as needed. We understand that our Verizon phones would be very costly to use in Europe. Suggestions??
arlene17 is offline  
Mar 25th, 2012, 10:14 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 226
Texting can be your friend...
We've been stunned by phone bills the last three times in Europe (AT&T iPhones), yet the advantages of being in touch are huge! We leave for 3 1/2 weeks in Spain 2 weeks from tomorrow (be still, my happy heart!!) so we're researching this exact item ourselves.
First, here's a great but terrifying article from the NYTimes last summer - http://travel.nytimes.com/2011/08/07...pagewanted=all
The part that really got me was that the local companies can evidently tap you if they sense you're using their network and add another cost!
My husband has been speaking to AT&T - as we knew, we can buy an "international plan" for a month-long increment, and it lowers the cost/minute from $1.36 to $0.99 - a nice savings, but still too high (grown daughter and other family here, house/petsitters here, and friends we're traveling with.)

Here's what we're doing: there's a text package for overseas travel: $10 = 200 text messages, either within the country of travel OR to the U.S. (we're told that receiving a text from the states stays on our domestic package, so no extra cost. whereas a phone call from home does not.). We're choosing instead (since we're away so long) the $30 package, which gives 200 text messages - almost 10 a day for us, which is probably excessive, but better safe than hit with a whopper of a bill! (cost at that point is $0.15 flat fee per text.)
And of course, take your phone off of roaming and just use available wifi (hotel, wherever). This is covered in the NYT article.
And do talk to Verizon to clarify what they offer - I just know the AT&T.
Oh - AND we've got an older phone that my husband buys a SIM card for that will work for us in Spain. (In fact, it's already been ordered - we found a name in either the Fodor's or Frommer's book so he ordered that yesterday.) The advantage of that is that you can leave a true phone # with people at home, or trade them with friends (in our case, 2- 5 couples depending on the portion of this trip)
Hope this helps!
jo_ann is offline  
Mar 25th, 2012, 10:39 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 9,017
It's all so easy, why make it difficult?? There is a number of easy and simple options i.e. go to a Carrefour store (www.carrefour.es). They sell prepaid phones, a Nokia 1616 including 10€ of airtime for 9€. Calls to ANY Spanish phone are 8ct/min. Throw the phone away when you return or give it as a gift to a fodorite.
logos999 is offline  
Mar 25th, 2012, 10:41 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 9,017
In Germany you can do the same i.e. at a Saturn electronics store for 5-10€ or many other places. But do check rates.
logos999 is offline  
Mar 25th, 2012, 02:58 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 173
Is it less expensive to buy a GSM dual or quad band phone in the US before traveling and buying a SIM card at the destination or is it cheaper to buy a phone/SIM combination at the destination? I was thinking of buying a $30 phone in the US and buying a local SIM card upon arrival.
Traveler_A is offline  
Mar 25th, 2012, 04:01 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,812
Buying a less expensive phone has an advantage of having you familiar with the operation. But you take the burden of making sure the phone is compatible. It is not necessarily cheaper. Buying a phone after you arrive ensures the phone operates correctly using the carrier's network and its roaming partners.

If you buy a phone, it must be:
1. quad band GSM -OR- if less than 4 bands, you have 900mhz and 1800mhz.
2. the phone must be unlocked
3. you have an appropriate charging setup
greg is offline  
Mar 26th, 2012, 03:54 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 173
Thanks, Greg.
Traveler_A is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2014, 08:25 AM
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 88
For a sim card that will work all over Europe, check out Telestial.
danlev is offline  

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