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Cheapest way to phone USA from UK and Paris?

Cheapest way to phone USA from UK and Paris?

Old Mar 20th, 2003, 10:45 AM
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Cheapest way to phone USA from UK and Paris?

With the war going on, I KNOW I will be very worried about my husband and other family and friends while my mom and I are on our London and Paris trip (we leave Sunday).

I will want to call home to the USA most likely every day or so.

Can someone please help me understand the various low cost options we have to phone the USA? Calling card, credit card????

Thank you very much.
Lisa
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Old Mar 20th, 2003, 11:04 AM
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When I was in England I bought a 10# calling card at a post office. I used it many many times to call the USA, without problem, and still had a lot of minutes left when I got home. I don't know if it's the absolute cheapest way, but it's easy and inexpensive.
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Old Mar 20th, 2003, 11:07 AM
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Personally, I would urge you to buy a cell phone upon arrival. There seem to be a lot of pre-paid mobile phone providers thayt offer with unlimited "no charges" incoming calls permitted. then when you want to talk to home, you call them and ask them to call you right back. Always cheaper than any other Europe-to-US option - - plus you have the freedom of not having to be tied to a phone booth or your hotel room.

And then come back here and offer the phone - - "selling it forward" to someone.

Best wishes,

Rex
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Old Mar 20th, 2003, 11:18 AM
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My husband and I got a T-Mobile account right before we left for Paris a few weeks ago.. it worked all over the US and Europe.... $70.00 center per minute flat rate (From overseas)... definately not the cheapest way to go, but we were certainly glad we had it.. as we had a little difficulty with our credit card and were able to straiten it out from the UK to the States with no problems. The phone also works great here.
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Old Mar 20th, 2003, 11:39 AM
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Go to Sam's and buy an AT&T calling card. The average cost per minute is as low as 3.4 per minute and you can access the AT&T system in London. The price per minute may be 40 cents or so but its really very easy to use and whatever minute you have left you can use them in the US.

US
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Old Mar 20th, 2003, 11:45 AM
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Thyra: $70.00 center per minute flat rate (From overseas) ?? what does that mean. Surely not $70 per minute. What is a T-Mobile account? Do you have to have a mobile phone?
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Old Mar 20th, 2003, 11:47 AM
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Great advice everyone, thanks.

Uncle sam - Do you mean "Sam's Club?' I don't have one near me. Can I just buy an AT&T card anywhere that has that plan?

Rex - So you mean buy an entire phone? Yikes, that sounds expensive, what do you think that whole "package" costs?
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Old Mar 20th, 2003, 11:48 AM
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I should say, I do have a cell phone, with AT&T wireless as my provider. Perhaps I should call them to see if they offer plans? I am so dumb about this, so please forgive me, but would my cell phone even work from Europe?
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Old Mar 20th, 2003, 11:54 AM
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Hi,
An alternative if you have acomputer at home is to use the internet cafe's. They will be about $4 - 5 per hour for email.
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Old Mar 20th, 2003, 11:57 AM
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Holy cow, I just talked to AT&T wireless who told me the only thing I can really do is to rent a phone for about $73 for two weeks, then I would be charged $1.34 per minute on all calls. Yikes! Okay, so much for that option.

As far as the internet cafes, I do intend to use them for sure, but I think some "real time" voice contact will "soothe my soul" a little better this trip.

I think I will go with the calling card deal that uncle sam or Jaydreb5 mentioned.
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Old Mar 20th, 2003, 12:00 PM
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Ok... math was never my best subject...lol... that should read .70 Cents per minute for overseas calls, then domestically we get 600 free eve and weekends, no roaming and the plan is 39.99 flat rate per month.. $70.00 per minute.. shudder.. guess I'll never get hired for T Mobile sales...lol...
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Old Mar 20th, 2003, 12:01 PM
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Sam's Club...but you can get them at drug stores, etc. Just read the back of the package and verify the price for Eruopean calls.

Verify that the card has an access number to dail while in Europe.

US
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Old Mar 20th, 2003, 12:30 PM
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Ok, I'll tell you the only way to do it cheap, and it's very very easy.

WAIT until you get over there and THEN buy a pre-paid phone card. Don't buy a Sam's card or anything else here in the US. They will rip you off. You should be able to find a card for .10/minute (or less) no problem from London. It might run more like .15/minute from Paris.

Places to buy these phone cards--Internet cafes, corner stores, backpacker hostels, etc. Just ask someone, they aren't that hard to find. Also, ask the person you are buying from how it works and what the rate is. Most vendors are helpful and honest.

Trust me, I've bought these cards all over Europe and rarely paid more than .20/minute. I even found a card when I studied in Australia that allowed me to call the USA for .04/minute with the favorable exchange rate at the time. NO LIE!

Hope that helps
 
Old Mar 20th, 2003, 12:58 PM
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Sounds better than Sam's to me.

nice work!

US
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Old Mar 20th, 2003, 03:00 PM
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YAY! I feel so much better now - thank you gordiemonster!! That is what we will do!

Thanks to everyone who took the time to reply. I will post an update for folks about how this works when I return.
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Old Mar 20th, 2003, 03:32 PM
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I agree with the posters who recommended buying a phone card when you arrive in Europe. But check that the one you buy in London will work in Paris (some don't). They are the cheapest way to call the states.
FYI, in Switzerland, you can also send brief emails with your Swisscom phone card--the phone booths have keyboards and you can email a message of up to 240 characters (or something like that) for a flat rate of about 90 cents. Nifty!
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Old Mar 20th, 2003, 04:21 PM
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littletraveler - I have a Costco/MCI card - even though I always call the toll-free number to check the international access number for wherever I am going, it did not work in London or Rome, but it did work in Paris. The local phonecards are easy to find. In London the Pay Peanuts card seems very good with no connection charge (that's what eats up the time). In Paris and Nice I used a france telecom internationale carte which also seemed to give a lot of minutes for the money from there to the US. To me a phone card is easier to stay in touch than using a cellphone unless it is important for you to be very accessible.
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Old Mar 20th, 2003, 05:56 PM
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Actually, I did mean buy a "whole phone" - - a pre-paid model as someone else clarified. No contract, no obligations; the first 25 euro will be included in the purchase price (typically, you might expect around 80 euro). Chances are you will not even use up the first 25 euro, but you can more time as you need it.

I "sold mine forward" for 55 dollars - - a win-win for both me and the buyer.

Not necessarily the cheapest way (I agree that buying a phone card in the UK might save you 10-20 dollars or more from the experience I describe) - - but the convenience is worth that much to me.
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Old Mar 20th, 2003, 05:59 PM
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I'm traveling to the UK in May and have been researching this same question. I'll want to talk on the phone with my kids every few days but didn't want to run up a huge phone bill!

Thanks to everyone that provided information. I'll start looking for a phone card once I clear the Edinburgh airport.
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Old Mar 21st, 2003, 02:38 AM
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Go to cognicall via google and look at their international phone cards. You can call any country from anywhere and the prices are the best I have seen. For example; Germany to USA would run about 11 cents/minute, UK and France to USA about 17 cents/minute. There are no other costs period. By far the best way to go.
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