Skip Navigation

Bring cell phone or leave it at home???

Travel Forums Round the World Travel Bring cell phone or leave it at home???

  • 1
  • 2
Last Post
1. Posted by Dezafinado (Full Member 177 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

6-month RTW. 1/2 of in Europe. 1.5 months in Asia and 1 month in NZ. Should I bring my dual band phone and buy a prepaid SIM card or just buy phone cards as I go? Oh, and which is cheaper? That's always a good factor to help decide.

yea or nay?

[ Edit: Edited on Jan 26, 2007, at 1:40 PM by Dezafinado ]

2. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru 1281 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Leave the mobile at home. It is just another added expense that you don't need and a very big expense at that if you have to use or it get calls or SMS's on it. Despite the fact you might say to your friends and family do not call me, well they will I can almost guarentee you. Even if they limited it a lot, then you'd have tele-marketers sending you SMS's or phone you and then costing you money.

I went 7 months around the world and just emailed family and friends every few days and on the odd occasional phone call using a calling card once a month or so. People think of it as a security blanket, but think of it this way, if you went to China would you have the foggiest idea what the police or ambulance phone number is and of how to speak what you want them to know in Chinese? I've been there and I sure as hell wouldn't. About the only phone number that a lot of people around the world know when they don't live there is 911 for America. Leave it behind and enjoy your trip instead of wasting it spending all your time of thinking of your friends and family back home. They'll most likely all be there when you get back, you'll keep in contact with them often to know what is going on and it is good not to be bothered and embarrassed like could happen if you were in somewhere quiet and your phone went off and it's just someone calling to see how you are (at your big expense.

[ Edit: Edited on Jan 26, 2007, at 2:34 PM by aharrold45 ]

3. Posted by Hien (Travel Guru 3906 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

North America use the PCS 850- and 1900-MHz bands mobile network. So your PCS dual-band is not compatible in Europe and Asia which use GSM 900 and 1800MHz.

You will need at least a tri-band (900/1800/1900 MHz) or a quad-band (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) phone if you wish to use it in North America, Europe and Asia. If you really need to use a mobile phone, you could get a fairly cheap one, which is a basic GSM dual-band (900 and 1800MHz) with no built-in camera, colour screen, or other fancy stuff that you won't need to make a call, for less than 100 USD in Asia. I'm not sure if such cheap phone models are available in the European market.

The prepaid SIM cards are pretty cheap here in SE Asia, as low as a few US dollars for a starter pack with some credit in it. Calls and SMS are cheap too. So you can change to the local provider each time you go to a different country and not worry about roaming charges in case somebody calls you.

4. Posted by Dezafinado (Full Member 177 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hien - my Samsung is a dual band 900-1900, so it should work in Europe and Asia. I'm more concerned about the cost to operate one in Europe as it's affordable in Asia.

aharrold - is it that expensive to purchase a prepaid SIM card in Europe? My usage is more about convenience during travel... ie reservations, calling friends/relatives in Europe. There'll be very little oversea calls.

5. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru 1281 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

It would depend on where you were getting one in Europe, some places aren't too bad but others are a complete rip off. Unless you are on a working holiday visa (or spending most your time in one country in Europe), well it wouldn't be worth the added expenses and hassels of having one more thing to try and find a safe home for when you're sleeping at a hostel. is a site that might give you some sort of idea for a few European countries SIM costs and call/sms costs on the cards.

When I am at home I can't live life without my mobile, but while I am overseas enjoying every minute of my life to its fullest, it doesn't ever worry me not having one. You have got far too much enjoyment to have while in another country to bother about your mobile, forget the phone and stick to the calling cards and internet when you need to communicate with family and friends back home. If you have a mobile you might be tempted to call home and then you might speak for a couple of minutes for the same price as you could speak for an hour on a pay phone using a calling card on the toll free number (which always makes the per minute rate a lot more). If you were planning on spending a month or so in one place with friends and family there to call every couple of days well a local SIM in that country mightn't be too bad, but really I had all the same things you are talking for your reasoning and payphones, email/internet were all the communication methods I needed. Reservations it is best to do online instead of over the phone, because you'll get charged the walk in rate if you use the phone, but you get charged the cheaper internet rate if you book through a site like hostelworld.

Have a great trip.

[ Edit: Edited on Jan 27, 2007, at 2:22 AM by aharrold45 ]

6. Posted by Dezafinado (Full Member 177 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Well... there it is!

You've decided it for me. Not gonna bring the cell.


7. Posted by Bond-BigM (Budding Member 4 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Not to try and change your mind but I would take one even just for an emergency, so long as it is unlocked and a minimum of tri band you can always buy a local sim card and so long as you use it just for txt's it is no more expensive than here in the UK.

I have an old battered Nokia which I take everywhere, for example I was in the States for 8 weeks and the $50 dollar sim lasted the duration, in Singapore last month a $S18 about £6 lasted more than a week and local calls were cheap.


8. Posted by Dezafinado (Full Member 177 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Bond -

The problem is I will be traveling through quite a few countries in Europe, so one prepaid SIM won't work for all. For example, will a SIM card bought in Italy work in France, Switzerland and Germany?

9. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5655 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

hmm...cell phone...travelling, the two can not be combined in any way actually....

10. Posted by batfink (Budding Member 14 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hi Dezafinado

The travel comapny who I booked through had this site on their 'useful links' page -

Looks like a 'one size fits all' solution, I couldn't say whether it is value for money or not though as I haven't looked into it...