I'm traveling to Europe for 6 weeks this summer with my best freind. We're going to England, Holland, Belguim, Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Greece...not exactly in that order..we're still working out the order of our trip. Anyways we're both 18 and our parents want us to keep in touch especially with all the stuff going on in the world today. I know there are internet cafe's all over the place but as far as telephoning is concerned would it be better to just have a pre-paid phone card or some sort of international cell phone. Or is there something else that would be easier. We're going to be backpacking so thats why I was thinking maybe a phone card would be better than an actual phone. If anyone can give some insight into this or maybe even recomend a type of cell or phone card we should buy that would be great. Thanks. Oh and any other comments on hostels or places to see in those countries are always welcome!
Gut reaction is pohone cards will be cheapest option - shop around as tehre are many different sorts, some of which offer things like 2p a min to the US which are considerably cheaper than any mobile package
Not sure which would work best for you, but might be worth considering getting a cheap phone only when your over here, and then getting a cheap sim card in each country, although the obvious downside here is that the # keep changing. Many pay as you go phones can be used all over Europe, but the problem being that once youve run out of credit, its hard to find the correct top ups outside of the country you bought it in. Contract phones obviously work everywhere, but you are trhen stuck to (normally) a 12mth minimum, and need an address/credit check to get one. Mobile costs for int'l calls can be pricey for both incoming & outgoing calls (espec, if for example, you get a french phone and use it
to call the US from Austria). One plus point though, if your parents have mobiles, is you can send them sms's to keep in touch as well.
If they want to keep in touch with you, you more or less have to get a mobile phone. If they want you to keep in touch with them, a phone card may work better. If you go down the phoner card route, also consider getting an ISIC account. Basically, it's a message/answer phone service - you get given an account number (which you give to parents etc) and list of free phone numbers for all countries in the world, so they can leave msgs for you to pick up wherever you can find a phone. I used it in the past and it's very good.
I managed to find a cheap GSM cell phone package from Mobal Communications that works in most countries around the world. It cost me $49, but has no further charges, it means that I only pay for my calls when I use it. And $49 to own a phone for life was a far better deal than paying for rental like I used to do.
People had advised me to get local SIM cards to benefit from local call rates, but I found that it is more convenient to keep the same SIM card with one number, it makes it is easy for people to contact me wherever I am because I do not have to tell them each time I change numbers in a new country.
I think that a phone card might be the very cheapest option, but I think it is worth paying a bit more for a cell phone because of it pure convenience -- people can contact you instantly and not have to worry about leaving messages, or waiting for you to contact them.
Either way have a great time in Europe!
before getting a phone check out the hidden extra charges with the network, for example if i receive a phonecall when i'm abroad it costs me more money even though I haven't made the call............
buy a cheap phone overseas I paid for one in italy for about 80 euros and I buy a cheap sim in each country about 25 euro IUt is worth it because everyone can reach you it is just expensive to use it. The upside is that any incoming call is FREE! and you can talk for as long as you want as long as you use the french sim in france etc. etc.