Thursday, December 18, 2008

Phoneless in a Strange Land

We've gotten so used to making cell phone calls from everywhere that we hardly think about what we'll do when the handy cellphone isn't there or doesn't work. Then what will you do?

A cellular phone might not work for several reasons. It's broken. The battery is dead. You've traveled to a country that doesn't provide service to your phone. Perhaps you want to call overseas from the US and your wireless plan doesn't support international calling. Now what?

Well, you can use a hotel or public phone. Oh, but the bill you're going to get will be a real shocker. Make an international call using a hotel phone service and hold onto your wallet. You may not even find out what that cost is until to check out. Then be sure to grab onto the front desk tightly so you don't fall down in shock.

Is there something better? If you have the time and inclination, you can get cellular service abroad. You'll need an unlocked GSM phone and a replacement SIM card good for where you want to travel. This service also offers international cell phones set up and ready to go if you are a frequent traveler or just plan to be out of the country for a few weeks.

Here's another approach. Keep a domestic or international calling card handy in your wallet. For most infrequent users, a postpaid card is best. This is a card that charges to your credit card only when you make calls. Otherwise it is dormant. A prepaid card has you pay up front for a certain number of minutes. A postpaid card just charges minutes as you use them. You can look over the details for each type of card and decide which is best for your needs.

SpeedyPin offers a suite of prepaid calling cards. You use the handy search feature to find the best offer based on where you are calling from and which country you are calling. International rates are jaw droppingly low, but be sure to check the terms and fees on each card you are interested in.

Good options for postpaid calling cards include FlexTelOne for international calling. You can find a complete selection of calling cards and other telephone and Internet services at Long Distance Rate Finder.

Follow Telexplainer on Twitter