International Cell Phone
If you're looking for a cell phone to use during your international trip, our advice is simple. Don't use a cell phone!
Most people who travel want to take their cell phone with them or acquire a special cell phone that they can use when traveling. Unless your last name is Rockefeller or something similar, our advice is simple. Don't bother.
There will come a time when communication via cell phone from anywhere you happen to be, but that time is not here yet. So unless you are prepared to spend exorbitant amounts of money making a simple phone call, carry a cell phone for emergency purposes only. Don't buy or bring one with you with the idea that you can easily use it to check up on the kids at home or check in with your boss while you're on the road...unless, of course, your boss is willing to pay the bill!
International cell phone calls are ridiculously expensive, usually starting at around $2 to $3 per minute and going upward from there. Contrast this with the cost of using an international calling card, the cost of which is measured in cents rather than dollars, and the comparison is clear.
Having said that, it might make sense to carry a cell phone for emergency use only. After all, if you are in a foreign land and end up suffering from a debilitating illness or experience some other major inconvenience for which you do not have easy access to local service providers you can trust, having a cell phone can be well worth the extra-large expense. On the other hand, theft is always a risk, so having a cell phone for emergency purposes will not do you any good in those instances, since the thief will likely steal the phone, too! Then, get ready for some really, really high expenses when the thief uses your phone to run up your bill.
A calling card, on the other hand, is a much more affordable alternative, and there are some very good international calling cards available. For instance, Cloncom long distance calling cards are a very affordable alternative way to make telephone contacts when you are in a foreign land. And since their cards are only charged to a certain point that you select, your risk exposure is limited to the amount of money you use to charge the card and provide minutes of usage. The one, big drawback with an international calling card, of course, is that you must find access to a public telephone, but unless you are in a very remote area of a foreign land (which likely won't have cell towers anyway), this is not usually a problem.
Last Update: 8/19/2011