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Thread: I do not understand phone options for travel to Spain

  1. #1
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    I do not understand phone options for travel to Spain

    "Sunset bar. Anything goes."

    I am hoping someone can steer me in the right direction for getting my daughter a cell phone for her upcoming 3 weeks in Toledo, Spain. She will be on a University sponsored study trip, but we have had no advice from them on cell phones. I want her to have a phone for calling local numbers as well as calling back to the U.S. She will have her computer and internet access, so she does not need a smart phone. I think she can live without messaging if that makes it simpler/cheaper. She has an iPhone, but AT&T rates are $1 per minute and I believe they charge for incoming calls as well. It cannot be unlocked yet.

    Where should we look to rent a phone so she can call without being overly concerned about minute rates? I am guessing she will be on the phone for 30 minutes or so a day, but with teenagers who knows?

    She leaves May 14, and so far we don't know where she will be staying, either a dormitory or a private home, but not in a hotel or youth hostel. I think this adds to our problem, as I don't think she will have the time to pick one up in the airport in Madrid, and we are not sure of a mailing address.

    I consider myself tech savvy, yet find myself baffled by all the fees and options. Is there a way to rent from a US company before she departs?

    Anyone who can simplify this process for me will have my sincere gratitude.

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: I do not understand phone options for travel to Spain

    The easiest option is probably to buy a cheap Nokia and a local, pre-paid sim card when she gets there. I don't know about Spain in particular, but in many European and Asian countries, there are pre-paid cards available with special intercontinental rates for tourists, sometimes also with the choice of a prefix that will direct her to an IP-line which is ultra cheap. I would try to google something like "IP phone line Spain USA".

    Cheap, old fashioned Nokia phones are good since they are well made and have batteries that last long.

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    Subscriber Member kit laughlin's Avatar
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    Re: I do not understand phone options for travel to Spain

    Jorgen's advice is, as usual, spot on. I work in Europe annually; every year there are different deal provided by the local carriers (there are four or more in Italy; Spain will be similar). Pe-paid monthly SIM cards are available; some voice only; some with data plans (so she can use as a modem for email, etc.).

    Ask your daughter to talk to her local host; worst case scenario is that she will be uncontactable for a few days while she gets sorted. Most local carriers can provide the micro-SIMs that iPhones use, too, so that's another possible option.

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    Re: I do not understand phone options for travel to Spain

    Local SIM cards* specifically for use to NA is the best. You could also buy a phone phone. There are tiny ones which are inexpensive.

    * IIRC correctly, one needs to produce their passport (nothing less) to get one in Spain. This was mandated after the Madrid bombings which involved SIM cards being sold with no traceable IDs.

    ALSO, take a look at this:

    http://www.magicjack.com/plus-v05/

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    Subscriber Member weinschela's Avatar
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    Re: I do not understand phone options for travel to Spain

    I would get a local SIM for calls in Spain and because you said she would have her computer, I would Skype back to the US. Also, I believe there is a Skype app for the iPhone and if there is wifi where she is, the cost would be very low.
    Alan

    Selection of work: http://weinschela.zenfolio.com

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