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Articles : Travel Last Updated: Mar 19th, 2010 - 11:39:35

Cell Phones and International Travel: The 5 Most Popular Ways To Use Your Cell Phone Abroad
By Michael Furniss
Jul 1, 2007, 08:20

Have you ever been abroad and had a crisis?

You've got lost. You've had something stolen. You've missed a connection. You've fallen ill. No matter how big or small, avoiding the unexpected at home is impossible. So the idea you can do it while you're abroad is obviously crazy.

When you've had a crisis while traveling internationally, do you remember the feeling?

Suddenly your heart rate skyrockets and panic quickly starts to take over. What do you do?

Back home the chances are that you'll call someone who'll help solve your problem. But that's not easy to do when you're in a strange country.

So how do the travel experts handle the unexpected?

They always take a reliable, quality international cell phone service with them. And it makes sense for you to copy them.

Here Are the 5 Most Popular Ways to Use Your Cell Phones While Traveling Internationally:

1. Use Your Own Cell Phone Abroad — Tricky!

This sounds like the perfect option doesn't it. You don't have to change your number and you already know how to use your cell phone. But there's a problem — approximately 80% of US cell phones cannot work internationally due to pesky mobile technological incompatibilities.

First, check with your carrier, but be ready for extra charges. You may need to pay to upgrade your account and handset. You'll also have to pay more for your calls. Plus, you might get people who don't know you're traveling abroad calling you just to say hello. And because you’ll have to pay fo incoming calls this will be expensive unless you're rude and don't answer!

2. Rent A Cell Phone — Old News!

Don't do this. Sorry to be so blunt, but renting a cell phone is outdated. You wouldn't think about renting a suitcase every time you traveled, would you? This is no different.

For the cost to rent a cell phone for about 2 weeks, you could easily have bought your own second international cell phone, and it's yours for life, ready for every future trip you take.

3. Buy Local SIM Cards — Hidden Expenses!

As you've discovered in #2, buying your own cell phone is a better value for your money. However, there are 3 methods you can use. The first uses "local SIM cards". You'll need a different local SIM card for each country you visit.

With local SIM cards you pay in advance for talk time, and then you keep buying extra talk time to keep your service active.

The problem with local SIM cards is they can be expensive to buy (e.g. the local SIM for Germany will cost you $60, and that's without a cell phone, and before you've made calls). You run the risk of getting cut off if you run out of talk time and you won’ be able to find anywhere to buy more time immediately. And your cell phone can only use one carrier's network in each country, so you may not have great reception everywhere.

4. Buy A Global Call Back SIM Card — Questionable Quality!

You can use this SIM card in lots of countries, but like local SIM cards, you still have the hassle of pre-paying for your talk time with the threat of getting cut off. But this is not the main headache, Global Call Back services use a complicated dialing system…

First, you call an access number and enter your Pin number. Then you're prompted to enter the number you want to dial. Then you hang up. Then you're called back and connected to the number you originally wanted to call. Just to place a quick call!

But here's the real killer. Because it uses an extra connection in the middle, it can really damage the quality of your calls, so you can't always be sure you'll even be able to make your call.

5. Buy A Global Direct-Dial SIM Card — Best Quality!

Travel experts love this method! You get global coverage on 1 cell phone number. It's easy to use because it uses standard direct dialing like your home phone unlike the complicated call back system above. And your service is continually active whenever you need it so you'll never get cut off.

And most importantly, you get the best cell phone call quality. It automatically chooses the strongest cell phone signal of all the carriers in the area. It's the equivalent of your US cell phone being able to choose between Cingular/AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Nextel and Sprint for the strongest signal every time you make a call, so the quality is always the best.

And quality is obviously the most important feature of a cell phone service!

Mobal World Phones newsletter editor and Mobile Technology Travel Expert, Michael Furniss has stopped millions of travelers just like you from wasting their money on expensive international cell phone rentals. Now you can own your own GSM World Phone that works in over 150 countries, for just $49 for life! Sign up now at: http://www.mobalrental.com/gsm/handsets.asp and get 5 FREE high-quality electrical adapters, so you can charge your phone in any country in the world.

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