Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Using Your Cell Phone Abroad

Using your cell phone abroad can be nightmare or impossible. If you are going outside the country for vacation make sure your cell phone carrier has an international plan and make sure you get the actual cost per minute when calling back home. Charges can add up quite fast. It isn't uncommon to get home and receive a $300 bill for the week that you were away.

There are several options you can use. We have done these three:
1) Use our own phone with an international plan and roaming charge. First you have to set this up through your carrier. They transfer you to someone to verify who you are and to check your records to make sure your not a terrorist (and they go way back in your files). And then when you do get to your destination your phone sometimes works and sometimes doesn't but you do have a phone to connect to your family and work back home.  Now it's a little easier because you can send a text and when you do get a slight signal it will go through.
Not all carriers have international plans:
AT&T – YES
Verizon – NO
Sprint – NO
Nextel - NO
T-Mobile - SOME

2)Rent a international phone. This is pretty handy. You can rent a cell phone for a short period of time without a contract. They will send you your phone via mail carrier and it is all set up and ready to go. All you have to do is rent the phone and prepay for your minutes. Possible rates as shown*
*Rental Rates
$3 per day (Min 7 days)
Optional Theft & Loss Protection $1 per day (with $40 deductible)
Call charges
Incoming Calls $1.50 per minute
National Calls $1.50 per minute
International Calls $2.50 per minute
But this phone should reach most places. Just verify the exact location that you will be traveling to to make sure your not carrying around extra weight for no reason. It also helps by renting a phone instead of bringing along your $400 Black Berry (I think that is how much they are these days) into the salt air or into the rain forest for a hike. You can contact companies like http://www.cellularabroad.com/ 
http://www.mobal.com/cell-phone-rental/ and there is plenty of companies out there with different rates.
Now you can buy an international phone cheaper than you can rent one. Just find one that doesn't charge monthly fees. Mobal I think has a phone for $50.00 bucks without a big contract.

http://www.paradise-computers.com
3)Renting a phone in the country you are traveling to. This in my opinion is the best. It is a lot cheaper to call back home than to pay for roaming international fees from your local carrier.
And you can preorder your phone before you get there, and have it delivered to your hotel or airport.
It's a lot easier than you might think. Most computer shops have them also for rent.

We have also tested our Majic Jack phone. We packed a simple phone and when we got a wireless signal we were able to use the Majic Jack. And since we were calling home, it didn't cost anything extra!
So if you will be staying more than a week, I would suggest buying one of these and a cheap phone to bring with you. It was worth it.

2 comments:

  1. When i had the situation to move Australia from US, i was afraid of getting the huge roaming charge.My friend suggested me to get a local prepaid sim card with international call and data package to avoid roaming charge.I got a new prepaid sim card but my mobile was not accepting the new sim due to network lock .I unlocked my mobile by getting the service from Theunlockspot.com at cheap rate .Now i am using the new prepaid local sim card in Australia with international call and data plan ..

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