Traveling abroad can really put a dent in your wallet. In addition to paying for airfare, accommodations, ground transportation, and meals, you may also be strapped with extra fees to communicate with loved ones back home.
To avoid going broke reaching out and touching your friends and family while you are traveling on foreign soil, consider the following:
Cellphone: This is the most obvious option for owners of mobile phones. However, your cellphone has to employ the Global System for Mobile Communications or you are looking at paying expensive alternatives while abroad. AT&T and T-Mobile phones will work overseas thanks to GSM, but some other providers don’t. Check with your wireless company if you are not sure whether your phone uses GSM. In addition, it’s a good idea to inquire about an international roaming package. Without it rates can be extremely expensive. Conversely, some networks charge less than $1 per minute for calls in select European countries if you purchase an international calling package.
SIM Card: if you plan to make a ton of calls back home while you are traveling internationally, consider purchasing a local or regional SIM card. The card works in any region that uses GSM, including all of Europe. The SIM card allows you to pay local call rates which can lower your price to less than 50 cents per minute. In addition, local calls cost even less and many incoming calls are free. SIM cards that work throughout Europe typically cost about $20 and you can replenish your airtime with a credit card.
Rental: If you don’t want to deal with purchasing SIM cards or researching international calling packages, then simply rent a wireless phone for the duration of your trip. Another easy option is to purchase a disposable phone that works internationally. You can pick-up these phones for less than $50 or check with your regular phone company to see if it offers overseas mobile rentals.