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tech prep for trip to paris??

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Sep 10th, 2013, 11:54 AM
  #1
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tech prep for trip to paris??

hi all -- i'm looking for advice/clarification on how to prepare my mobile devices for an upcoming trip to paris. i have seen other topics on here, but none that seem to address ALL my questions (i think i'm on a learning curve here!!), so i apologize for any redundancy.

basically, in the US i use an iPhone and an iPad. . both with 3G on AT&T network. there is wifi where we are staying, so i *think* i will be able to use both there to connect to internet and email (and skype), without a problem/charges. i was planning to use free wi-fi spots around the city, to snag some free tech time when we are out and about. that should work fine and not require $$ or preparing devices in anyway, i'm assuming.

however, i understand that i wil notl be able to make telephone calls. what are these "prepaid SIM" cards? are they for the purpose of making phone calls, or for accessing internet. . or both? is this something that seems to be a necessity? i'm thinking it might be wise (moreso to make local phone calls -- not so much for the internet access). these prepaid sim cards seem pricey. i read about LYCAMOBILE, as a cheaper option for a sim card. . . .any thoughts about this company?

is there anything else i'm missing?? i'm so afraid of incurring hefty (surprise) charges. i also understand that i will need to turn off 3G and roaming on both devices. i will stop by an AT&T store to make sure i get all this correct.

but any info or advice would be so appreciated. thanks.
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Sep 10th, 2013, 12:07 PM
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Since you're with AT&T, just add one of their data roaming packages ($30 for the least expensive) while traveling. Finding 'fee WiFi" is always difficult where ever you happen to go. As far as using a local sim card, first you'll have to make sure your iPhone and/or iPad are unlocked. Ask AT&T.

If you're going to be there long enough to make calls, then purchase a locale card once you arrive, and yes, it can be used for the internet, if you must. If not, then use the internet in a WiFi zone to make restaurant reservations, etc.
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Sep 10th, 2013, 12:08 PM
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Yes you need to turn off 3G on both devices.

Unless your phone is unlocked you cannot use a prepaid SIM in it.
How many calls to do intend to make, and to where?
It may work out cheaper to just pay whatever your provider charges for calls abroad, if you don't intend on making many calls, especially not local calls. I'm sure your provider has a package for when you are travelling. See how much that is before deciding on unlocking your phone.

Make sure you have a socket adapter too so you can charge them!
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Sep 10th, 2013, 12:25 PM
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AT&T offers an international roaming plan for about $5 a month, plus $.99 per minute for phone calls, if you need to call US. If you have an unlocked quad band phone, you can buy a SIM card in France and use thy for the phone. I usually only bring one iPhone and an old phone for local calls., using wifi for emails on the phone. I tend to use this as a time to be semi-unplugged; after all, I am on vacation!

As far as the socket adapter, you can purchase the continental round 2-prong plug and just plug your USB cable into it.
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Sep 10th, 2013, 12:29 PM
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All you need to do is get AT&T to unlock your iPhone and iPad and when you land in France, get SIM cards with dataplans and you are good to go.
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Sep 10th, 2013, 12:57 PM
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There are relevant options for different usage models which you have not posted. If you use a plan inconsistent with your usage model, you will be hit with big bills.

1. If you phone voice/sms is usage is really low, lower than 10min total and few SMS, then you don't have to do anything. Just use your phone as is. The data is more troublesome. Without any plan/local SIM, even just turning on for a few minutes will end up in large bills depending on which data sources you are connected to.

2. If your usage is higher, you can get voice/sms plan AND data plan from ATT. If you go to ATT, this is what they will push irrespective of if this really meets your need.

3. If your usage is even higher and plan to make a lot of bi-directional local calls, you should have your phone unlocked to accept French SIMs. Lebara, for example, is not that expensive. This setup allows you to make many local phone/sms and if you get a data package, the least expensive data while in France if your usage is beyond Gbytes range.

If you don't want to bother with any data outside WiFi area, turn off data roaming. You can use voice/sms but not mobile internet.

Do you know your voice/sms/data usage?
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Sep 16th, 2013, 03:54 AM
  #7
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i am digesting all this . . . i love my gadgets, but the technology is admittedly, way over my head.

but thanks for the info. i can now speak with AT*T more intelligently about the subject. i don't know my voice/sms/data usage. . ?? i mean, here at home it will differ. when traveling i guess my main concern is having access to data if wifi unavailable. and maybe a handful of calls for reservations, etc.

thanks!!
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Sep 16th, 2013, 04:08 AM
  #8
 
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but thanks for the info. i can now speak with AT*T more intelligently about the subject. i don't know my oice/sms/data usage. . ??

Actually, no. If anything you know just enough to be dangerous and smile and nod the whole time they sell you something you don't need.

Answer these questions and folks can get a better picture of what you need:


1. How many text messages do you send in a month?

2. Do you plant to send the people you normally text with texts during your trip? if yes, approximately how much (give as a percentage)?

3. How often do you check your email on your phone? Tablet? How many emails do you get a day?

4. How often to do you Tweet from your phone? Tablet?

5. How often do you use Facebook from your phone? Tablet?

6. Do you use Instagram?

7. Do you plan on making use of Google maps (or whatever the Apple equivalent is)? How often?

8. Do you plan on using Google translate (or whatever the Apple equivalent is)? How often?

9. Do you have your devices set up to Sync with your email/facebook/twitter/etc.? If yes, do you want to keep doing that during your travel?

10. How much time do you spend on websites on your phone? Tablet?

11. Emergencies aside, how often do you plan on phoning home?

12. Are there any other social media apps you use? If so, what are they and how much time do you spend per day using them?

13. Are you planning on posting pics to Facebook, Twitter, email, blogs, etc.?
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Sep 16th, 2013, 04:23 AM
  #9
 
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AT&T offers a variety of international plans - we got small text messaging plans for each iPhone and small data plan for one because I was afraid something might come up at work while I was away. Wifi was usually pretty good, although at our Paris hotel, it depended upon where one sat in our room. I found the AT&T international department very helpful in explaining everything. I suggest you give them a call, as opposed to going into an AT&T store (where I got conflicting advice).
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Sep 16th, 2013, 04:38 AM
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I checked the AT&T calculator out and came to the conclusion that I would spend 5x as much with the AT&T "international plan" than with a local SIM (with more data). Thank goodness I have an unlocked phone.

http://www.wireless.att.com/learn/in...d-packages.jsp

I should point out that I don't count on the presence of "free WiFi everywhere" as seems to be the conventional wisdom here and considered my usage accordingly.

As with all things, YMMV so visit the calculator for yourself and see what it would cost you.
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Sep 16th, 2013, 04:42 AM
  #11
 
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This thread might be useful for folks looking to get a SIM in France: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trave...im-france.html
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Sep 16th, 2013, 04:47 AM
  #12
 
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Wow, sparkchaser, that is fantastic. I wish we had sticky threads so we could simply refer everyone who asks this question to your answer.

This is all a lot of trouble but it matters. One of the Oklahoma City television stations reported last week on a deployed serviceman who did everything right except data roaming. His bill for a month was $1800 -- yes, 18 hundred dollars.
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Sep 16th, 2013, 05:34 AM
  #13
 
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By the way, the Viber app worked well for our daughter for lots of texting, although need wifi to use it. Also can be used for phone calls, but we did not try that.
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Sep 16th, 2013, 01:35 PM
  #14
 
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It appears that Chas De Gaulle still has no free wifi! Anyone have more current info? Maybe a mcDonalds that might have a hotspot? I'll need to go online to find a hotel when I arrive. Would of course do it differently if I were not flying standby and sure I could get on the flight.

Thanks for those links - very helpful!
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Sep 16th, 2013, 10:41 PM
  #15
 
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Just go to a lounge. The lounges should have free WiFi.
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Sep 16th, 2013, 10:50 PM
  #16
 
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Business trip or pleasure? If it's vacation...turn it off. We use email to keep in touch. Get your hotel to make reservations.
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Sep 17th, 2013, 06:26 AM
  #17
 
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I used Lebara SIM card in France on the past 2 trips. Worked great. Easy, cheap. I used Viber for texts and it too worked well, free too! Just needed to be in wifi range and of course, take time zone differences into account - that was trickiest.
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Sep 17th, 2013, 10:49 AM
  #18
 
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If I want to use my iPhone for apple or google maps, how much data should I plan on needing for two weeks. Assuming I use the map app at least once a day?
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Sep 17th, 2013, 11:14 AM
  #19
 
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Use the AT&T calculator to get an idea.

I never roll with less than 2GB.
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Sep 18th, 2013, 05:48 AM
  #20
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SPARKCHASER -- - ANSWERS IN CAPS BELOW
just to clarify, i plan to bring both devices on trip. i plan to take iphone with me everywhere (smaller, easier to manage, less valuable, etc. .) and leave the ipad in the apartment for use in the apartment when on wifi.

1. How many text messages do you send in a month?
100 - 150

2. Do you plant to send the people you normally text with texts during your trip? if yes, approximately how much (give as a percentage)?
NO TEXTING ON TRIP (EXCEPT POSSIBLY 1 OR 2 TO GET IN TOUCH WITH THE APARTMENT OWNER,IF NEEDED) -- PLANNING TO SKYPE HUBS ON IPAD FROM APARTMENT IN EVENING WHEN ON WIFI, AND THAT WOULD BE THE EXTENT OF MY COMMUNICATION WITH HOME

3. How often do you check your email on your phone? Tablet? How many emails do you get a day?
NOT PLANNING TO CHECK EMAILS DURING TRIP (POSSIBLY ONCE IN EVENING FROM APARTMENT WHEN HOOKED ON WIFI)

4. How often to do you Tweet from your phone? Tablet?
ZERO TWITTER FOR ME

5. How often do you use Facebook from your phone? Tablet?
YES! LOTS OF FACEBOOK. USUALLY FROM PHONE. WILL BE MORE LIMITED ON TRIP, BUT EXPECT TO BE ON A FEW TIMES THROUGHOUT THE DAY. MAYBE 4x/DAY, POSTING AND VIEWING.

6. Do you use Instagram?
NO

7. Do you plan on making use of Google maps (or whatever the Apple equivalent is)? How often?
NO -- DOWNLOADED A COUPLE APPS THAT ARE SUPPOSED TO HAVE OFFLINE MAPS

8. Do you plan on using Google translate (or whatever the Apple equivalent is)? How often?
NO -- DOWNLOADED A TRANSLATOR APP

9. Do you have your devices set up to Sync with your email/facebook/twitter/etc.? If yes, do you want to keep doing that during your travel?
YES, CURRENTLY SYNCS, I THINK. (MAYBE I SHOULD TURN THIS OFF? SYNC NOT NECESSARY ON TRIP.)

10. How much time do you spend on websites on your phone? Tablet?
DON'T PLAN ON BEING ON WEB FROM PHONE. . ONLY ON OCCASION TO LOOK UP SOMETHING. FROM THE IPAD, MAYBE SOME RESEARCH/PLANNING IN EVENING AT APARTMENT WHEN ON WIFI..

11. Emergencies aside, how often do you plan on phoning home?
ZERO. . WILL SKYPE WHEN ON WIFI, MAYBE EVERY OTHER DAY?

12. Are there any other social media apps you use? If so, what are they and how much time do you spend per day using them?
NONE.

13. Are you planning on posting pics to Facebook, Twitter, email, blogs, etc.?
YES -- JUST FACEBOOK POSTS. MY GUESSTIMATE IS 2 POSTS/DAY?? MAYBE INCLUDING A PHOTO?

X. re: phone calls == no phone calls planned; exception may be if i have to call a restaurant for a reservation, etc. it would be only a couple over the course of the trip, if any.

_______
thanks for any recommendations. in the midst of sorting and figuring all this out, i also need to upgrade my iphone (i've got an old iPhone3, she's a bit sluggish but otherwise works fine. except the battery only lasts about 3 hours when fully charged!). ugh! a whole other story that is causing much chaos in my little world. . ..so any help with all this is greatly appreciated!
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