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Old 07-23-2006, 07:38 PM   #1
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Hey all, my girlfriend and I were hoping a bunch of seasoned travelers could settle our disagreement: we're traveling to Europe in a few weeks. She says our cell phones will work just fine over there, and that the international charges won't be too bad. I'm saying that calling cards are more economical. She says there will be leftover minutes, which will be a waste of our money. I say we can use these leftover minutes when we get back.

And on and on. We ended up here so that you, oh wise travelers, can settle the matter. But feel free to take whatever middle ground is possible if you want to.

Thomas & Sandy
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Old 07-23-2006, 11:23 PM   #2
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Are you looking for a way of communicating with each other while you're traveling or for calling home?

As far as the cost and effectiveness of your phones in Europe, probably the easiest way to settle that is to call your cell phone company and ask them the deal. They might not be the right band for Europe, or you might have to pay roaming charges...there are so many plans out there, that it's really best to get the specifics from your own company so you don't get a nasty shock when you get home.

Calling cards work pretty well, in our experience. My mother-in-law gave us a rechargeable one from Sam's Club about three years ago when we moved to Lithuania., which we used for two years, and still use when we're traveling (we finally got a better deal on our phone bills when we moved to Germany.) You can add minutes over the internet, so if you get a 100 minute card to begin with (I don't know how long you are going to be traveling, or how often you will be calling home, or how long you will be talking each time), if you use it up you can just pay for additional minutes as necessary. And since you can use the cards stateside, I don't think there's any concern about left over minutes. These are also the kind of things parents love to buy before their children take trips, so if someone asks if there's anything you'd like or need for your trip, this might be a good suggestion.

For communicating while you're travelling, if your phones work, you could SMS each other, which would be a lot cheaper than calling, or for our last trip we used little walkie talkies. They worked okay, but the batteries ran down fast, it seemed to me.

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Old 07-24-2006, 01:12 AM   #3
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Unless I'm gone for at least 3 weeks, I go ahead and use my US cell phone overseas. With typical charges of $.99/min, it's not so bad because I don't make very many calls. Usually just to hostels for verifications, and texting home ($.35/txt). Otherwise, I either buy a phone card or get a pre-paid SIM for my cell phone.
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Old 07-25-2006, 12:02 PM   #4
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I would say take both. For longer calls you'll definitely want to use the calling cards, which are far cheaper than your cell. For a good price I'd say check out onesuite.com. For the shorter calls, especially when you're calling each other, I think the convenience and portability of your cell outweighs the cost -- but of course that's up to you.

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Old 07-25-2006, 03:34 PM   #5
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I can make this easy.

For calling home calling cards are the cheapest. Period.

Now, if your cell phones use the SIM card technology, you can get a prepaid. Most plans in Europe (or anywhere outside the USA for that matter) make ALL incoming texts and calls free. So, in theory, you could email your relatives your europe number, and they call you with a calling card they buy themselves and it cost you *0*.

I did this with my dad. I gave him my number here in Rio and he calls me all the time. It costs him 15 cents per minute and me 0.

Just a thought...


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Old 07-26-2006, 08:59 AM   #6
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when me and my bf go to america, we are taking my mobile which is on contract so dont have to keep an eye on credit but when we ring home etc we will use a phone card. Will use the mobile for any calls we need to make in usa and a random text every once in a while home, but got to be careful as will cost the recepiant too, well it does for calls not sure about texts.
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