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DaFace
05-16-2012, 12:11 PM
The wife and I are headed to Ireland in a couple weeks for a 10-day vacation. I don't necessarily need a phone while I'm there, but I certainly have grown accustomed to the ability to call anyone and access the internet from anywhere. I've dug around online a bit, and it seems like I've got three (and realistically two) options:

Option 1: Get a temporarily international plan for my current phone - This is really a non-option, but I list it here just so people don't suggest it. Apparently this works great for certain phones and carriers, but I'm on a Sprint phone that isn't supported in Europe, so that's not gonna happen, and it's not worth it to deal with a different phone.
Option 2: Buy a pre-paid phone to use while we're there - This seems like a decent option, but the main thing I want to use this for would be internet access while we're roaming around. If anyone has used such a service that they can recommend, I'm all ears.
Option 3: Use my current phone as a portable WiFi access device - I don't necessarily have to have internet access all day every day, but it'd be nice to be able to find a coffee shop or similar with WiFi access if we need it. If I went this route, I'd love to hear suggestions on VOIP apps that work with Android (Skype?) so that I can make the occasional phone call if I really want to.
Anyway, if anyone has any insights about the above options or suggestions on options I might not have thought about it, I'd love to hear it.

ThaVirus
05-16-2012, 12:22 PM
I've heard of people bringing their phones overseas and being charged ridiculous roaming charges even though they kept their phone off. Any truth to that?

DaFace
05-16-2012, 12:28 PM
I've heard of people bringing their phones overseas and being charged ridiculous roaming charges even though they kept their phone off. Any truth to that?

I don't see any way that could happen if the phone is actually turned off. However, if you've got a GSM phone (primarily AT&T or T-Mobile phones), those are compatible with many carriers in Europe, so I could see the phone getting all sorts of roaming charges if you use it just because it works. Even then, I think you typically have to clear that with your carrier before you go for it to work.

LVNHACK
05-16-2012, 12:44 PM
Who are you trying to call..?..The states ?.....If that's all you're trying to do, dl skype sign up for 1 month anywhere in N. America and you should be good to go.

jiveturkey
05-16-2012, 12:56 PM
I go with option 2 when I travel overseas and use a tablet for jacking around via wifi.

Take your battery out of your regular phone before you even take off. You don't want thing coming on while you're gone.

DaFace
05-16-2012, 01:26 PM
I go with option 2 when I travel overseas and use a tablet for jacking around via wifi.

Take your battery out of your regular phone before you even take off. You don't want thing coming on while you're gone.

Any suggestions on specific carriers to look into? Or does it vary by country?

DaFace
05-16-2012, 01:31 PM
Who are you trying to call..?..The states ?.....If that's all you're trying to do, dl skype sign up for 1 month anywhere in N. America and you should be good to go.

That's kind of what I'm leaning toward. Really, making phone calls is less important to me as being able to Google a possible destination before driving there to make sure it's worth my while. Most of the "rent a phone" sites I'm finding focus more on the calls, but if I were to rent one, I'd want it to be an Android phone with a decent data allotment, which I'm not finding much of.

jiveturkey
05-16-2012, 01:58 PM
Any suggestions on specific carriers to look into? Or does it vary by country?

We've done Japan, Germany, Spain and Italy and each time we just picked one up at the airport and added some minutes to it at the same time. I never put any thought into carrier or the actual phone.

We only used the phones for 20 to 30 minutes each trip and I don't recall having an issue making calls so it worked out.

Having a phone is a low priority for us when we travel though.

Buehler445
05-16-2012, 02:06 PM
Did you ever get a tablet? If so, I'd wing it with that and wi-fi.

That being said, I am kind of a nervous nelly without a phone. My mind always goes to the worst possible what-if's. (car wreck, really sick and need help etc.) I didn't have a problem with it when the wife and I went to Mexico, but I can't say it didn't cross my mind.

But I can't really see you freaking out much. Mrs. DaFace, maybe, but not so much you. The other side of the coin is that it is kind of nice to NOT be able to be reached. It definitely helps relax.

DaFace
05-16-2012, 02:17 PM
We've done Japan, Germany, Spain and Italy and each time we just picked one up at the airport and added some minutes to it at the same time. I never put any thought into carrier or the actual phone.

We only used the phones for 20 to 30 minutes each trip and I don't recall having an issue making calls so it worked out.

Having a phone is a low priority for us when we travel though.

Gotcha. I've read about some that you pick up in the Dublin airport, so maybe I'll just look for one when we land.

DaFace
05-16-2012, 02:18 PM
Did you ever get a tablet? If so, I'd wing it with that and wi-fi.

That being said, I am kind of a nervous nelly without a phone. My mind always goes to the worst possible what-if's. (car wreck, really sick and need help etc.) I didn't have a problem with it when the wife and I went to Mexico, but I can't say it didn't cross my mind.

But I can't really see you freaking out much. Mrs. DaFace, maybe, but not so much you. The other side of the coin is that it is kind of nice to NOT be able to be reached. It definitely helps relax.

Yeah, I've got the tablet, so that'll probably be in use to some extent.

WoodDraw
05-16-2012, 02:19 PM
Are you GSM? I normally use 2 and 3 together. Buy a sim card + use wifi instead of data. A lot of prepaid plans let you buy data by the day/week too if you want it. Not familiar with Ireland, but check out O2 and Vodafone. I've used both in England before...

But that requires an unlocked GSM phone with the correct network bands...

DaFace
05-16-2012, 02:40 PM
Are you GSM? I normally use 2 and 3 together. Buy a sim card + use wifi instead of data. A lot of prepaid plans let you buy data by the day/week too if you want it. Not familiar with Ireland, but check out O2 and Vodafone. I've used both in England before...

But that requires an unlocked GSM phone with the correct network bands...

Yeah, that's the issue. I'm with Sprint, which is CDMA.

mikeyis4dcats.
05-16-2012, 04:51 PM
a good resource for these questions is the TripAdvisor forum for the particluar city/area you are visiting. I learned about how to get cell service in Puerto Vallarta for cheap that way.

KC Dan
05-16-2012, 04:59 PM
Was just in Ireland last month. I travel all over the world and this is what I do. I have an iphone on AT&T. I added the $8 int'l charge which lowers phone calls from $2.99/min to $1.99 min internationally. It also allows me 50 free texts and all texts after that are 50 cents.

I turn off data roaming at the airport before I leave the US. I have a skype app on my phone. Most of the pubs in Ireland have wireless access for free. Just ask the bartender/waitress for the code. Then, you can call Skype for basically free and do data if you want/need to. Have a great time!!!!

SLAG
05-16-2012, 07:46 PM
Yeah, that's the issue. I'm with Sprint, which is CDMA.

Are you do for an upgrade? The Motorola photon is a awesome international android phone on sprint.


But if not, do Skype + tablet and you'll be golden

Sent from the MoPho

DaFace
05-16-2012, 08:25 PM
Are you do for an upgrade? The Motorola photon is a awesome international android phone on sprint.


But if not, do Skype + tablet and you'll be golden

Sent from the MoPho

I could do it technically, but I don't really travel internationally that often. I'd hate to make a cell phone purchase based pretty much purely on one, 10-day trip.

Looks like Skype and the tablet is probably gonna be the way to go. Thanks to all for the suggestions.

DaFace
05-16-2012, 09:30 PM
Nice - just found out that I can use GrooVe IP to use my Google Voice account rather than having to deal with Skype (which I kind of loathe). I've got that account linked to my normal cell phone number (with incoming calls), so that effectively makes it so that my normal phone will work like normal (through a different program) whenever I'm near WiFi. That's pretty cool.

It's 1c per minute to the U.S. and 2c per minute to Ireland. That'll do.

AustinChief
05-17-2012, 09:25 PM
You should be able to get a cheap android(2.2) phone at the airport/train station for around $100 with some prepaid minutes.

The Bunk
05-18-2012, 06:03 AM
I don't see any way that could happen if the phone is actually turned off. However, if you've got a GSM phone (primarily AT&T or T-Mobile phones), those are compatible with many carriers in Europe, so I could see the phone getting all sorts of roaming charges if you use it just because it works. Even then, I think you typically have to clear that with your carrier before you go for it to work.

If you turn off data roaming, you avoid the issue of being charged a bunch without knowing it.

If you talk any amount of time at all, the dollars add up fast. I've had trips cost me several hundreds of dollars at $2 a minute.

Fritz88
05-18-2012, 06:32 AM
I'll go with option 2. Go to any vodafone store (not a reseller because they could be expensive) and buy a prepaid phone card with internet access. Last time I was in Europe I bought one and hooked it to my Nexus or Ipad and I was good to go. I had internet access (I think it's 1 GB, which should be more than enough for email and regular interent browsing) and it will have a number that people can call you at.
It shouldn't be more than 40 bux but it's totally worth it.

I would also recommend option 3 if you are a person who uses programs such as Whatsapp a lot. Just disable roaming and use wifi or the GSM sim card they will give you and chat with people in the US using your US number.

I am assuming you have an unlocked phone that supports GSM.

Good luck.

Demonpenz
05-18-2012, 02:29 PM
Most places have decent Wi-Fi around Ireland, even the crappiest motels you could atleast do basic things. Be prepared to be confused by Hen Parties at the bars and Johnny Cash being refered to as blues music. Also stand by the statue lead singer of "Thin Lizzy" and keep refering to him as "Prince" Cork, wexford, Killarny, it's all pretty much Kansas driving around but you drive on the left and instead of cows there are sheep. replace "watch" for "mind" and get used to saying "waiting in queue" instead of waiting in line.