A multi-choice question for would-be travelers: When traveling overseas the best way to stay in touch with friends, family, and co-workers is to:
- Just use your mobile phone as you would normally and deal with the roaming charges when you get home.
- Contact your mobile carrier and get an add-on plan for your destination country.
- Show up in your destination country and look for a local solution; pay phone, hotel room phone, or prepaid calling card.
- Do some homework and planning ahead of time then leave on your trip with knowing that you have some real communication options.
Even if you’re beyond rich and couldn’t care less about excessive phone charges, or you don’t like your family and don’t plan on calling them while on vacation, option 4 is still the right choice. Most people never give this important question any thought before they travel or they rely on their existing mobile phone provider in their home country, only to be let down later. They either don’t think about it, don’t plan on making calls, or they’re from the USA and think that Verizon has network coverage in every corner of the planet. Of course they think they’re covered by their current “unlimited plan” as well.
Most of the time the result of no planning is just a big phone bill upon return. Sometimes it includes a very frustrating experience.
And in rare situations the result can be a $10,000 data charge from a wireless carrier upon the return home from tripping through Europe listening to a favorite streaming music service.
With a little research and planning you can make sure you have cost-effective calling options that provide real peace of mind. Staying in touch is always important, but having a calling tool in hand also makes traveling much more enjoyable for the convenience of confirming a hotel reservation, booking an excursion, or even calling a tow truck. Having these calling options available can make for a much more pleasant journey while keeping the cost reasonable.
Most people get their mobile phones from their wireless carrier. They get discounts on their new phones in exchange for signing up for monthly plans and long term contracts. These discounted phones are almost always locked to that carrier’s network. When you travel overseas this locked phone will likely work if it’s a GSM phone, but it will be very expensive to use because it has to roam on a foreign carrier’s network. Roaming rates are high and may also include start up, or flagfall fees. In order to save money and pay the least amount possible for mobile phone calling, the best solution is to arm yourself with an unlocked GSM phone. They are inexpensive simple mobile phones and very easy to use. They take prepaid SIM cards from most any wireless carrier operating in your destination country and you can purchase a phone and/or prepaid SIM card before you leave on your trip, just click here.
If you don’t plan on making many calls, don’t want the expense, or you don’t need the convenience of a mobile phone you can always choose a Global Phone Card. This card works from most countries and is very inexpensive to use. You will need to set up an account in advance but it can be a real money saver for relatively little effort. Just make the call from a payphone or your hotel room using your Global Phone Card and you’ll be paying the least amount possible for phone calls while traveling abroad.
No matter which solution you choose, always print a Free Travel Calling Card and keep it with you. This is a wallet-sized list of international toll free numbers is connected to an international operator service call center that operates 24/7 and can assist you in making a call to anywhere in the world. The cost is under $18.00 for a 4 minute phone call, which is relatively expensive but still cheap insurance if you lose your mobile phone and have no other way to call. Considering the many horror stories of phone calls costing hundreds of dollars and other related rip-offs, the FTCC is a deal.