Tip #4: Using Mobile Phones Overseas | International Travel Chick
Cellphone Use Overseas, Travel Tips
Comments 15

Tip #4: Using Mobile Phones Overseas

Most of us are tied to our mobile phones in our daily lives. So, when we travel overseas, we don’t want to be cut off from the world. However, taking your U.S. mobile phone overseas isn’t as easy (or cheap) as it sounds.

But, here are a few tips to make it easier: End ready, be a part of the game now with lightning link continuous luck and a lot of victories watch for anyone!

1. Mobile Phones 101* = The standard mobile phone network in Europe (and most of the world) is called GSM. Within this network, different regions run on different bands. The U.S. uses 2 bands and most of Europe uses 2 different bands. A GSM U.S. phone that’s tri-band or quad-band operates on both US bands, plus one or both European bands (so it works in the U.S. and abroad). *source Rick Steves “Europe Through the Back Door”

2. If you have a tri-band or quad-band phone, you can contact your provider and ask about international data/voice plans. Most providers offer a temporary international solution. Also, check to see if you have corporate discounts. My international plan (unlimited data but roaming charges for phone calls) is less than $60/month with AT&T.

3. Global Cell Phone Rental for Verizon Customers: If you would like to take a cell phone abroad and you are a Verizon Customer, Verizon offers a rental service for global phones for travelers who will be out of the country for 21 days or less (Global Travel Program). Service costs vary.  The global value plan is put into effect when the phone is activated, and the plan is pro-rated, so the user is only charged from the day the phone is activated until the day the phone is deactivated; thus, the user may end up paying less than the $4.99 for the month of the global value plan.  It typically takes two business days to receive the phone via FedEx (signature required) delivery and users can activate the phone by calling Verizon or by going to a local Verizon store. Additionally, the Verizon customer can keep his or her current phone number.  To arrange for a phone rental, Verizon customers should call Verizon Customer Service and ask to speak to the Global Services department about Global phone rental.  If you aren’t sure whether to rent a phone or add service to your smart phone, Verizon has a pretty comprehensive page on their Global Services with a Trip Planner to help you decide on the type of service you will need based upon travel type (cruise vs. land) and country. 

4. Another great option is Cello Mobile. If your cell phone provider doesn’t offer an international plan (or the rates are too steep), this is a cheaper alternative and it has received rave reviews from users. I have identified a promo code for 10% off rental of the phone but it’s only valid if you travel for 15 or more days (promo code 1520). I’m not sure how long it’s valid for.  Quick Tip: I usually do a Google search with the “name of the company + promo code” to see if I can find any valid coupons. I have success about 80% of the time.5. If you are an iPhone user and just want to use the phone overseas for WiFi only, then you will need to disable roaming. To disable roaming on an iPhone — go into settings and select “Airport Mode”, and a small icon of an airplane will appear in the upper left corner of the screen. Consider that the iPhone also has WiFi capability, so in theory you can tap into any free WiFi source with the iPhone and surf the web. If you choose to do this, I would recommend staying at a vacation rental or hotel that offers free WiFi.
6. International Rate info by Service Provider
a. AT&T
     i. How to keep data charges predictable when traveling abroad 
     ii. World Packages   
b. T-Mobile
     i. International Roaming
7.  Rail Europe offers an “eKit” (pre-paid phone card and international phones) for purchase. They run various promotions throughout the year offering credit based upon the type of service your purchase.
Need travel apps for your phone?  Check out my post here for recommendations.  Any updates or feedback on using mobile phones overseas?  Please comment so I can keep the information current and correct.  Thanks!


  1. Important advice that most people don’t know! Just a price update. Verizon in Europe is now more than $1.29 a minute. And, of course roaming charges!!

  2. WWWayne says

    Just take a prepaid international SIM card. If it’s Europe you’re heading to specifically then look for one that is tailored to Europe (i.e. the call rates in those countries are cheaper). Best one I’ve seen for travelers from the US is SIMsmart Prepaid (www.simsmartprepaid.com).

    $20 and you get really cheap rates on calls back to the US and they delivery in America. You can also get yourself a cheap international phone that will work across Europe and the rest of the world.

  3. I’m in the UK every year so i own a cheap phone that i bought there and top up the sim card online or lend the phone to friends if they go over. You can get phones, locked or unlocked, really cheap there and sim cards can be bought for next to nothing plus a top up.

    • Nikki says

      Hi Tvor! Thanks for commenting. Great piece of information to know. I appreciate you sharing!!

      • It’s worth it to buy a cheap phone if you visit somewhere frequently. Roaming charges and even prepurchased packages from your phone company can still be expensive over time. If all you need is a non-smartphone to keep in contact, it’s worth it.

    • Thanks, George!!! I so appreciate your kind words!! I love Italy too!! I’m always trying to bring a little bit of that wonderful country to mine…and I think your lemoncello recipe is just the thing I need!!

  4. Hadad Benvier says

    I actually used Cello Mobile thanks to your advice, and am glad I did. I am still waiting for my bill, but they rock!

    • You did!! So glad that it worked well for you!! Thanks for the feedback! I find that I need to be connected with a mobile when travelling internationally…don’t want to miss anything:)

  5. Pingback: 4GSI9+ Quad Band Dual Cards WiFi Java Touch Screen Cell Phone | Best Cell Phone Bargains

  6. Pingback: The world of mobile’s | Marsha’s Blogs

  7. That is very fascinating, You’re an excessively skilled blogger. I have joined your rss feed and stay up for in the hunt for extra of your fantastic post. Additionally, I have shared your website in my social networks

  8. John Eguire says

    I am actually a big fan of cello mobile. They are by far the best company I have ever dealt with.

    • Hi John,
      That is good to know!!! I haven’t used them yet but have heard great things about them. Thanks for the feedback:)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 309 other followers

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *