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-   -   Keeping in touch with stateside family while traveling thru Italy and Greece (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/keeping-in-touch-with-stateside-family-while-traveling-thru-italy-and-greece-682448/)

sumreknot Feb 23rd, 2007 02:35 PM

Keeping in touch with stateside family while traveling thru Italy and Greece
 
What's the best way to keep in touch..it is necessary for a variety of reasons...we will be on a tour of Italy and Greece for 16 days..should I take my laptop? Cell phone? Any advice greatly appreciated...

queener Feb 23rd, 2007 02:45 PM

buy calling cards from tobacco shops to use in either hotel or pay phone. They are pretty cheap and worked well for me in Amsterdam, Paris, London, Edinburgh..... so assume Italy and Greece would be similar.... Some hotels have internet access in their lobbies (usually free) and some cafes have internet access for a fee.

queener Feb 23rd, 2007 02:52 PM

Oh ya - most cellphones in the US are not programmed for international use. I asked Verizon if mine could be "activated" for int'l for a month and they said no - it would take a separate plan and a different phone.

SuQue Feb 23rd, 2007 03:03 PM

No matter where we've traveled in Italy and Greece, there was always an internet cafe available.This includes very rural areas.

Tim_and_Liz Feb 23rd, 2007 03:04 PM

My tmobile phone works in Europe. I text from it or use it to call in an emergency.

jrjcolllins Feb 23rd, 2007 03:07 PM

I believe that in order for a cell phone to work in Europe, it must be a tri-band or quad-band phone.

repete Feb 23rd, 2007 07:14 PM

actually, a dual band or even a single band phone will work in Europe -- as long as it has s the European frequencies 900 and 1800 ... but the U.S. carriers use 850 and 1900 so a quad covers both areas.

But if you're just buying a cheap phone to use in Europe, a dual 900/1800 is all you need. The good news is nearly all European phones allow incoming calls for free.

If you've got a tri or quad band GSM phone with a U.S. carrier you also will likely need to get it unlocked.

It's been discussed on these boards forever, search for "GSM" or user "xyz123"

The cellphone scenario isn't for everybody and there are other simpler/more expensive options. But defending on your needs and your tech comfort level, you can have a pretty convenient cellphone setup.


64kerry Feb 23rd, 2007 08:37 PM

if you buy a calling card from tobacconist will the same card work in different european countries or do you need to buy another one every time you move onto another country?
we will be in
France 5 days
Germany 10 days
Eastern Europe 15 days on bus tour
Italy 8 days
I will use my mobile to send SMS to family home and want to use calling card for when we want to speak direct from time to time. thanks

WillTravel Feb 23rd, 2007 08:41 PM

I think I've seen one card that's supposed to work in various countries, but I wouldn't count on it. That was a British Telecom card, and it had ridiculously few minutes for the price.

Note that you only need to buy a 5 Euro card for each country, so you won't be out much money.

suze Feb 23rd, 2007 08:53 PM

if you don't need to actually talk person to person, a hotmail or yahoo free email account & using internet cafes works great most places.

Carolina Feb 23rd, 2007 09:04 PM

I wouldn't bother with a lap top. There are plenty of internet cafes and hotels with an internet corner.
Carolena

Carolina Feb 23rd, 2007 09:07 PM

Another thought, if you know where you will be staying give telephone nos to family etc so they can phone you, or arrange with them before you go that you will phone them, hang up and they will phone you straight back. It is much cheaper to phone Greece from the US than from you to phone them from Greece. If they put in 10 10 2 20 infront of the number it will be cheap, alternatively, all the phone companies have a cheap international plan.
Carolena

mish42 Mar 21st, 2007 09:11 PM

Is it possible to connect to the internet from hotel rooms in Greece? We will be there for 2 weeks this summer and trying to decide whether to bring laptop or not. Would prefer to go on-line from hotel instead of cafes if it is possible as we will be travelling with young kids and won't have quite the same flexibility as without. Thanks.

repete Mar 22nd, 2007 04:56 AM

Just like in the U.S., it depends on the hotel. My last Athens hotel had fine wi-fi, but the islands places did not -- although I'm sure some do. I doubt trying to do dial-up would be worth it.

My place in Naxos had two internet PCs in the lobby off the pool.

BarbaraJ Mar 22nd, 2007 05:02 AM

We purchased a phone card for calling home and used internet cafes for e-mail and posting pictures. Public phones are numerous (unlike the States). As for internet cafes, the cost was reasonable and they were easy to find everywhere. I was happy not to have to drag a laptop around Italy and actually enjoyed the freedom from all the electronic devices!

kelliebellie Mar 22nd, 2007 05:15 AM

Nowadays with cell phones, we forget about the ol' fax machine. I give all of our relatives the fax number of where we will be and it is great to wake up in the morning to a nice fax with news and even pictures from home.


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