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Using Cell Phones Overseas

I encourage everyone traveling abroad to have a plan on how to call home. Whatever you do, please don't take your cell phone and think you can use it overseas with your standard U.S. carrier's plan. Your wallet will be eaten alive!

Instead, I recommend you get an unlocked GSM Quad Band World Phone and a SIM chip before you leave for your destination. Look on eBay or elsewhere for unlocked world phones. As for the SIM chips, there are two strategies depending on where your travels will take you.

If you're traveling to multiple countries…

Buy the necessary SIM chips from either or You'll get pre-paid minutes for the countries in which you are traveling and you'll be sent a SIM card that you replaces the current SIM inside your phone once you get to your destination.

If you're traveling to a single country…

Research calling rates online from home before you get to your destination. By doing that, I've discovered companies like the Carphone Warehouse chain in England. There I was able to buy an unlocked phone for $14 and a chip to go in the phone that let me call back to the United States for 6 cents/minute. Google will translate web pages that are in other languages so you don't have to miss out on any deals!

VoIP calling options

You also have the option of using the Internet to route your calls for free or cheap.

With, a scant $40 buys you 1 year of unlimited local/long distance Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone service. There are no additional fees for any calls you make.

You take the MagicJack, plug a landline phone into and then plug the whole thing into a computer's USB port. Call quality can be sketchy depending on your Internet connection, but I've used MagicJack on four continents to call back home.

Other VoIP alternatives include Skype and Google Chat (a feature of Google Voice.)

Cheapest options for using your cellphone abroad

Check out this option for unlimited data and free texting when you travel abroad.

And don't forget about these free apps for free unlimited international talking from cellphone to cellphone.

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Since the first iPhone was introduced, consumers have been going overseas and coming back home to exorbitant cell phone bills. The worst I ever heard was from someone who went to Costa Rica and got a $30,000 bill for 3 days! As a close second, I heard from another person ...

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Cheapest option for using your phone abroad

In an unprecedented move, T-Mobile has introduced the cheapest way to use your cellphone overseas. It wasn't long ago that T-Mobile did away with contracts. Now the next phase of their "Un-Carrier" plan has been announced: Unlimited data and free texting when you travel abroad, plus 20 cents a minute ...

Are paid apps a smarter choice for travelers than traditional guide books?

I have been addicted to travel for most of my adult life. During that time, I've been to every continent except Antarctica. (I'm just waiting for the first McDonald's to go in at McMurdo Station!) When I'm planning a trip overseas, I will always buy travel guides at home and ...

Make Free International Calls

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