Making International Phone Calls: Mission (Im)Possible

Making International Phone Calls: Mission (Im)Possible

Making international phone calls

Hey there, urban housewives! Is everybody surviving the crazy weather lately? A long, chilly start to spring, followed by unbelievable heat, and now never-ending rain – when will it end?! It’s all too much for a girl with a lot on her plate already to handle. I think I need a vacation, which is a good thing because I’m about to take one! I’m headed overseas, and I’m all packed and ready to go. Ok, I’m not actually all packed, but I’m definitely ready. There’s just one thing I have left to figure out: what am I going to do with my cell phone?

It’s a truth universally acknowledged (to paraphrase Jane Austen) that making international phone calls is a dangerous business. The rates and charges and hidden fees can be outrageous. Plus, I feel like everybody knows somebody who knows somebody who didn’t understand their data plan overseas and came home to a bill that would require mortgaging a house to cover. The thought of this happening to me is legitimately one of my biggest travel fears! So why not just turn the phone off and leave it at home? Well, to be honest, I really like to use my smart phone as a camera, and if there’s wifi available, I’m an instagram fiend! Plus, on principle alone if nothing else, I absolutely resent the idea that my service provider can hold that kind of fear over my head.

So what’s a girl to do? Start at the beginning. Most smart phone users – if they’re really being smart – should confirm whether or not their phone is locked or unlocked before heading abroad. If your phone is unlocked, do a dance to thank the mobile phone gods and take a stroll down easy street. All you’ll likely need to do from there is hit up a service store in your destination country and buy a temporary SIM card. This is usually pretty cheap and easy, because most countries outside the United States don’t adhere to contract service plans the way we do. They’re much more likely to provide an option for weekly service that includes unlimited wifi and data, meaning you can consistently let loved ones back at home know you’re still alive and enjoying the foreign fare.

If your smart phone is indeed locked (and more than likely it is,) check to see if you can get your provider to unlock it. This can prove difficult, but the right amount of complaining to your provider may just do the trick. Or, if you’re just making international phone calls while at home, you can check out service options like Rebtel┬áthat offer drastically reduced rates if you buy a prepaid card or a whole bunch of minutes at once.

So you see, there are options, though most all of them require a bit of research beforehand to ensure that you’re getting the best deal. But in today’s world of smart phones and constant connectivity, doing the homework required to make international calls from home or while you’re traveling abroad is kind of just part of packing. Two shirts, underpants, an international cell plan of action. They all need room in your suitcase.