Phones & Communication
How to use your phone without paying top dollar
Students need to keep in touch with family and friends while in Europe. And with today's technology, it's often very easy AND very cheap.
Wondering how to call your mom back home? We can help!
Skype is a Godsend for communicating with loved ones back home. In addition, if you have a snazzy new Mac or a nice laptop, you can use the built in video camera to get face to face time in with your loved ones in the states.
iPods and iPhones are actually great tools to use while traveling. With your iPhone, be sure to always have it in Airplane mode except if you need to make an emergency call. Otherwise, AT&T will glady charge you upwards of $700 for a single month's usage--I speak from experience. I recently backpacked through South America, and it cost me less than $8 in Skype credit making daily calls back home with earphone buds and a mic. Facetime on iPhones is also an awesome way to check in with those back in the States, and it's free!
Cell phones in Europe are generally on a credit purchase basis. You don't pay to receive calls or SMS, but you're usually charged a connection fee, plus a per minute rate for calls. You're also charged per SMS when you send texts as well. Using a cell phone to call home is never an affordable option--unless you're on a plan that includes that. Something else to keep in mind is how quick your credit expires. For example, Virgin Mobile in France has a system that expires your credit after 30 days. Maneouvers like these are meant to push customers to monthly subscription plans.
If you want to bring your cell from home, you need to make sure it is "unlocked" (able to use other SIM cards), and a "tri" or "quad" band. Most cell phones made in the last few years are tri band phones. And unless you have an iPhone, unlocking your cell usually just takes a call to your cell provider. Verizon is one carrier that you can't use overseas, but they can send you an international phone for "free" to use minus shipping costs if you are going on a relatively short trip. The costs to use it overseas are a bit higher than at home.
Also, check out Tinychat, a free video chat room service--it's a great way to keep in touch with your friends as you study abroad!
I've been in Europe since the beginning of January and have traveled every weekend. This Easter Weekend was by far the best one. The hostel was perfect and super convenient, I made a ton of new friends, and our guides (Andy, Rhianne, and Elena) made sure we saw absolutely everything in the city. The meals included were all absolutely delicious, and Andy even brought snacks every once in a while to hold us over in between meals. We were given our Easter Mass tickets the night before and strategically planned to be in the front for mass. We followed Andy's suggestions and got to sit in the very front for Mass. The wait was worth it and so was every cent of the trip's cost. I barely spent any of my own money, just on transportation to and from the airport, gelato, and food on my last day there. I would 100% recommend this company to all of my friends!Crystal Cascante, University of Florida ~ AIFS London, Spring 2016
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