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E-mail contact whilst travelling

Travel Forums General Talk E-mail contact whilst travelling

1. Posted by StanTheMan (Budding Member 14 posts) 7y

Hi folks.

I'm sure this is going to sound like a dumb question, but I'm planning a long trip abroad and to save money I'm giving up my flat and putting my stuff in storage. I currently have a broadband package that includes my landline. I'll need to give that up when I leave the flat, so I'm wondering... how can I set up an e-mail account to use so that I can keep in contact with folks back home while I'm travelling? I've checked with my ISP and they can't do a separate package. Once I give up the landline, the account closes. I don't currently have a mobile (what? ), but I'm guessing that would be one option. If so, can anyone make any recommendations for a good package, please? The mobile connectivity would be less important to me than the e-mail facility.

Thanks for any advice anyone can offer.

Stan

[ Edit: Edited on 04-May-2009, at 12:40 by StanTheMan ]

2. Posted by Blinq (Inactive 341 posts) 7y

You can get a webmail account with practically anybody these days. For example, with Yahoo All you need to do then would be to go to an Internet cafe and access your mail from there. Just make sure you open the account before you close your current one because they'll send a verification email to your current email addy for clarification.

Provided you get an unlocked mobile phone though, you can buy a SIM card locally wherever you travel to. The easiest way to keep in touch then would be for them to phone you. To keep the costs down, all they'd need to do is to open an account with a US company called Rebtel who will create a local number for your mobile number. Your Profile doesn't show where you are, but I'm guessing the UK somewhere (you can update it via the "Control Panel" link at the top of the forum). So your parents would call the local phone number and pay the cost of whatever BT charges these days for a local call, plus about 1p a minute to Rebtel. It doesn't matter then if you're in the middle of the jungle somewhere or onboard ship, they'll still be able to reach you.

Hope this helps.

3. Posted by StanTheMan (Budding Member 14 posts) 7y

Tremendously helpful thanks, Blinq. Sorry... I'm a total duffer with mobile phones. So you're saying that if I buy a mobile before I go (yes, I do live in the UK), I'd have to buy a new SIM card in the States? Will the card that comes with the phone not work there? And, if I register the phone in the UK and get given a number, will I have to change that number if I get a new SIM card?

Like I say... a complete duffer!

Thanks again.

Stan

[ Edit: Edited on 04-May-2009, at 13:38 by StanTheMan ]

4. Posted by Blinq (Inactive 341 posts) 7y

Quoting StanTheMan

Tremendously helpful thanks, Blinq. Sorry... I'm a total duffer with mobile phones. So you're saying that if I buy a mobile before I go (yes, I do live in the UK), I'd have to buy a new SIM card in the States? Will the card that comes with the phone not work there? And, if I register the phone in the UK and get given a number, will I have to change that number if I get a new SIM card?

Like I say... a complete duffer!

Thanks again.

Stan

You have two types of phones basically called 'locked' and 'unlocked'. A locked phone is provided free of charge after which you only pay an exhorbitant monthly subscription fee together with the cost of every call you make. The same phone in unlocked format you buy and own and increase your credit with so that you can make calls by buying recharge cards in supermarkets, post offices etc., as and when you need them.

The first one, the locked version ties you to a single Provider so that all your calls go through them. It can work out cheaper provided you don't try to use it outside the UK. If you do, you incur what are called roaming charges. These are the normal charges you pay for using the phone plus the cost of the third party network you connect to when you're abroad. This can quickly add up to serious money if you're not careful. The EU is planning a better deal for member states, but once you leave Europe, you're at the mercy of whatever charges the networks operate at. £3 or £4 a minute is not unusual in that respect.

The unlocked version means you can connect to any Provider you like by buying their SIM card. SIM means Subscriber Identity Module. You can buy SIM cards all over the world. Once you've bought one, you break off the bit with the chip on it and insert it into your phone. You add credit to it buy buying recharge cards. You're not commited to paying a subscription and if you don't use it, you don't pay anything at all.

There's a couple of images of SIM cards here so that you know what they look like: SIM card If you're going to buy an unlocked phone makes sure it supports both GSM frequency 850 and 1900 Mhz which is what most of American networks operate at. In Europe most bands are either 900 or 1900 Mhz. Most phones include all four frequencies, so you don't have to worry too much about this aspect. But check the label just to be sure.

The easiest software to use is in the mobiles made by Nokia and I'd recommend you buy one of their models if you do decide to go with the unlocked type.

If there's still something you don't quite understand fire away! ;)

5. Posted by Blinq (Inactive 341 posts) 7y

Forgot to mention last night that when you buy a new SIM card, you also get a new number. But it's only applicable while that particular SIM is in the phone. So if you reinsert the previous SIM, the number reverts to that one.

6. Posted by Redpaddy (Inactive 1004 posts) 7y

Ever so easy (without going all round the houses). Set up a new e-mail address with Google, Yahoo! etc. and you're connected. It's totally free and will keep you in touch whenever you need to be. Unlike G20 countries where the PC and laptop are taking over madly and webshacks are becming a rarity, developing countries still have plenty of them. As long as you avoid expensive hotel foyers, it shouldn't cost more than $.50 an hour. Quite amazingly, the poorer countries have much higher internet speeds too. The UK, USA and Germany are way behind still.
Have a great trip.