OT Smart phones

I’ll be traveling in Europe soon and have been doing some research on plans for my cell phone. They are all expensive. What I learned was a new feature on my phone would solve my issues. It’s called HD voice and what it does is enable your phone to call over wifi. I can manually turn off cell network connections and be dependent on wifi, which is common. Cool stuff!

Those apps have been around for a while. There good if your in an area with no cell service but WIFI is available. I used it when I was in Downeast Maine last year.

Haven’t had the need, my old Galaxy Nexus had the capability, but wasn’t aware of it or had a need. I used my old Blackberry Tour in Italy 2 years ago, but bought a plan from Verizon. Now that I’m aware of it, I can make calls from Europe to the US for free, as long as i have wifi, which I will.

If you really need a phone while traveling, get your phone unlocked (or get an unlocked phone) and buy a SIM card when you get there. I did a week in the UK and bought a card for about $25 with basically unlimited data, text, and voice.

I have tried to use Skype when traveling in Taiwan, but had limited success getting good enough open wifi when I needed it.

Be staying in England and Poland. Daughter’s house in England and an apartment in Krakow. Both have wifi. My use would be limited, but making free calls internationally is cool. What’s App can make calls too, but both have to have the app. I use What’s Ap to communicate with family in Germany and my daughter.

Linda and I did the SIM card thing on trips to France and Italy. It worked great and it’s both cheap and convenient.

My Droid Turbo 2 is sealed, but it is a global phone, no sim card needed, all built in. Verizon had 2 choices, $10. A day for Travel Pass. Be there for 3 weeks. Not a good option. International Travel, $40. Month for 100 minutes 100mb data. Won’t make that many phone calls, and data can do with wifi.
So, do nothing, spend nothing extra, and I can make calls anytime I have wifi. Free Wifi is fairly common in Europe.

Point, I was trying to make is that HD voice is worth activating, free with Verizon, crystal clear audio, and video capability. I have trouble hearing conversation on phones, HD voice is so much clearer and I don’t struggle.

I’m a Verizon customer until my deal runs out in a few months. I was in Peru in October and part of November and I went for the $40 international travel deal. Half way through the trip I got a message saying I burned through my data, so I expected to get hit with another $25 for the next 100mb. Well, I was just looking at my bill and can’t see where Verizon charged me for anything other than my normal monthly. I don’t see a $40 for the international plan. I don’t see a data overage charge. Nothing. Sooo, are they just real slow in processing these things onto the bill, or are they so messed up that the billing is just in their imagination? I find Verizon’s website useless in trying to unravel these mysteries. But so far, it seems inexpensive to just add international to your plan–like free.

On a 2013 trip to Colombia I went the route of buying a local (Movistar), pay-as-you-go sim card and using that. It was not easy to get a card that worked with the phone, for reasons I can’t explain. Once we got it figured out, worked fine. But it was such a hassle that for a 2014 trip to Europe I just had AT&T add international to my plan. It didn’t cost that much and worked well. But it did cost me something.

I rely on the phone when traveling. I don’t use much voice. But for mapping, language translation, uber rides (yes, they uber in Peru) and finding restaurants and other attractions, I heavily lean on the phone. Of course I try to use wifi whenever I can. In Peru, often I had strong signal, but whatever network to which I was connected was useless for internet-based stuff. I blame Verizon for that–internet services must not have been included in the deal they struck with the local provider. Could be wrong there, but sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t work. With wifi, no problem, but I didn’t always have wifi.

You can a afford $40. Just add it. Then let me know if you actually have to pay it. I know, there is a certain thrill in getting around paying Verizon, but it’s not that much, it is probably going to work, and you will be happier if the darn thing just works. And, maybe you will never have to actually pay.

Good luck and bon voyage~~Chip

Gotta love Verizon (or not). Looking on-line at my usage and billing, it didn’t show up, but I just got my statement and saw the $40 + $25 = $65 slapped on. So, I did have to pay. My international travel spanned two billing periods, and it was only added to the bill for the second period, when the travel was concluded.

Chip, next time, see if you have HD voice on your phone and activate it. When I get to England I will turn off Cell coverage and just rely on wifi.