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Old 05-17-2018, 02:06 PM   #1
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European members or travelers, can I pick your brains?

We're getting close to taking a trip to Europe that will include Switzerland, Germany and France. Two weeks on a Viking River Cruise.

I checked with Verizon and they have a plan that is $10/day for international travel, so we'd be paying $140 for one of our phones to be on all the time.

I'm thinking it might be cheaper to buy a burner phone and pick up a European SIM card when we get over there. We'd have a unique phone number with the burner phone but we could tell all our friends and relatives what the number is and that it's to be used only in case of emergency.

Anyone have experience in this? Anyone who lives in those countries have any advice on how to make this work?
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Old 05-17-2018, 02:47 PM   #2
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Not for those countries per se but I bought a BT SIM in the UK and topped it up enough to buy a data and minutes plan. My brothers were telling me in Jan when I was over there that it recently changed so that they were no longer roaming while traveling Europe.

And the SIM worked fine in my unlocked US phone (I am on AT&T which is GSM, which is used in Europe).

So I believe you will be fine.

https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizen...s/index_en.htm
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Old 05-17-2018, 06:39 PM   #3
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Menzies, that was a great help and you answered my questions. Thanks a bunch.


Smooth Seas!
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Old 05-17-2018, 06:42 PM   #4
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Menzies, that was a great help and you answered my questions. Thanks a bunch.


Smooth Seas!
If you need some data plan in France I can be you some info about what are the common plans rates among different provider.

L
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Old 05-18-2018, 12:29 PM   #5
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Lou, after rethinking this a bit, by the time I bought a burner phone that was unlocked and then bought an international SIM card, I'd probably be spending about the same as if we just used one phone, paid the $140 and just turned the other phone off for the duration of the trip.


I'd have to notify my friends and contacts that my phone would be turned off and if they needed to get in touch with me to call my wife's number, but to try to limit it to emergencies.....like something was wrong with my boat. Important stuff like that.

My wife, OTOH would have to notify all of her contacts that same information but it would have to be dire emergencies before they called her. Stuff like "What time is the Royal Wedding?" You know, important girl stuff.
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Old 05-18-2018, 01:37 PM   #6
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Many iPhones (6 or later) have a SIM card slot and are unlocked. Most Androids too. Buy a Euorpean SIM Card before you leave and replace it- Amazon has them for $30+.


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Old 05-18-2018, 04:27 PM   #7
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David, if I did that, wouldn't I have to unlock the phone first, and if I did that would I be using the same phone number as we have now?


Phone Rookie Mike
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Old 05-18-2018, 05:19 PM   #8
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Yes the phone has to be unlocked. Like I said, all iPhone 6 or later are delivered unlocked. The new SIM card gives you a new European number. It might be German, Italian, whatever the supplier chooses. But it should work seamlessly throughout Europe.


We are going to Italy in late June and I will buy a $50 SIM card that has lots of data and also allows tethering capability so I can use other devices like my iPad with the iPhone and SIM card. Planning to get this one- https://www.amazon.com/Orange-Holida...card+with+data


Will report in July how it worked when we get back. Also doing a Viking cruise next year, so will keep it for that trip.


I did this last year in the UK but bought the card at a Vodaphone store when I got there. But I understand they are cheaper if you buy them here.


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Old 05-18-2018, 05:30 PM   #9
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BTW, the supermarket chain Tescos sells sim cards and data/voice plans as well.
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Old 05-18-2018, 07:44 PM   #10
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David, I have a Samsung Galaxy S8 phone. What do I need to do to unlock it?


BTW, we're doing a Viking cruise from Basel to Paris. I'll be posting some pics on here and hopefully some of them will be of me at the helm of our ship.
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Old 05-18-2018, 07:47 PM   #11
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Mike, the other good thing about using a SIM over there with a throwaway or your own phone is that you cannot get caught by surprise with a huge bill. Whatever amount you put on it is your limit.
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Old 05-18-2018, 08:10 PM   #12
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GFC,we`ve used the daily rate access in Europe and elsewhere,with a Vodafone handset. Costs $5AU a day,we don`t necessarily activate it every day,it uses existing plan at standard rates so you may not exceed your plan.
No unlocking, no changing numbers, makes sense for us. Car hire companies want a contact number during the rental.
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Old 05-19-2018, 07:35 AM   #13
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David, I have a Samsung Galaxy S8 phone. What do I need to do to unlock it?


BTW, we're doing a Viking cruise from Basel to Paris. I'll be posting some pics on here and hopefully some of them will be of me at the helm of our ship.
Recent Verizon phones are unlocked; it was part of a deal they made to acquire additional spectrum. If you are paranoid, call them and see if they have to provide you an unlock code, (assuming you have paid them in full for the phone) which they must do.

Having a cheap spare unlocked phone is very handy, here and over there. You can get decent low end Android phones for 50 bucks that work just fine.

When you get over there, Vodafone as well as some of the bargain brands like Lyca, have plans that include a certain amount of calls and texts to the US and other countries. The quality of the international connections is fantastic now; you'd think you were talking to someone next door to you.

Another viable option is wifi calling, using something like Skype. Check with Viking about what wifi service they have on board. Wifi is very ubiquitous over there.
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Old 05-19-2018, 05:19 PM   #14
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Our biggest concern is my wife's mother. She's 102 years old and in good health, but at that age anything can happen and often does.


I've pretty much decided to just bite the bullet and keep her phone on and turn my phone off. We'd both hate to have something happen to her mom and relatives not be able to get in touch with us in a hurry.


Thanks for all you info. BTW, Viking has high speed Wifi on all their boats.
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Old 05-20-2018, 11:14 AM   #15
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In turning your phone off you can just temporarily divert any calls to your number to your wife's number.
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Old 05-20-2018, 01:07 PM   #16
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Aquabelle, now I did not know that. I'll have to check with Verizon to see if they offer that service and, if so, how to do it.


Again, thanks to all of you for the great responses and great info.


Gettin' excited Mike
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Old 05-27-2018, 03:32 AM   #17
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European Union Roaming rules

Indeed since 2017 June 15 the European Union’s directive says mobile carriers cannot charge any extra to use your phone in European Union than they would for you to use it in your ‘EU home’ country, as the rule “Roam Like Home” suggests, this ensures you won’t suffer from bill shock – unexpected and significantly larger - than normal mobile phone bills when traveling.

The new European Union rules apply beyond the European Union, 'free' roaming does apply to all 28 EU countries. it was also extended to Liechtenstein, Iceland and Norway (the three additional countries in the European Economic Area, if you like jargon) thanks to an agreement between the European Union and the EEA countries.

Menzies: «they were no longer roaming while traveling Europe» «So I believe you will be fine»
GFC's question was about Switzerland, Germany and France .
Switzerland is geographically in Western Europe however is not a member state of the European Union neither EAA althought Switzerland is a member of the Schengen Area. Swiss have a long tradition of neutrality.
Therefore the new European Union rule “Roam Like Home” does not apply to Switzerland. Most of European Union phone users are still subject to roaming charges when they are in Switzerland.

Menzies: «BTW, the supermarket chain Tescos sells sim cards and data/voice plans as well»
Tesco is a British multinational groceries and general merchandise which operates in UK and Poland, not in Switzerland, France and Germany. The French company Tesco, the homonym of the British one, is a holding financial company which does not have operating assets in France, Germany and Switzerland.

GFC: «Anyone have experience in this? Anyone who lives in those countries have any advice on how to make this work?»
My advice is to bring an extra cellphone unlocked by your US network then to buy a pay-as-you-go SIM card in Strasbourg, France - your first stop in European Union coming from Basel, Switzerland - which you can use in France also Germany and Luxembourg according to the European Union free roaming. This is probably the best option. Before leaving the US just check to make sure your extra phone is unlocked.

As an example French telecom company ORANGE is proposing:
A SIM card «*Orange Holiday*» with a French phone number, 120 min + 1000 texts, international calls and texts from European zone to worldwide, unlimited free incoming calls from worldwide, 10GB of mobile data valid in European zone (Switzerland included). Euros 39, validity of the credit : 14 days after 1st use.

Also with the combination of the 10 GO Internet data and a free app as WhatsApp, Telegram or Signal, you can receive, call, talk and txt unlimited for free over the Internet both ways with your contacts in the US. You'll just need to make sure that your contacts have the same app installed on their phone. If they do, they will automatically appear.

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Old 05-27-2018, 06:54 AM   #18
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Tried both solutions: I travel to Europe frequently. For a while I had a local phone with it’s own SIM card and number, but not a smooth operation due to phone books, favorites, etc.
The last 4-5 years I used a local SIM card for my regular unlocked Verizon iPhone 6, then 7.
Typically I spend $75 for 500 minutes with some data included but also try to use WiFi when available.
Only drawback is that the SIM card will expire if not used for a while.
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Old 05-27-2018, 08:00 AM   #19
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La Mer:


Aha, that explains why a UK sim card wouldn't work in other countries last year (before June 15, 2017) but now Orange Holiday is advertising a Sim card that works in all European countries, including Switzerland!!) https://www.amazon.com/Orange-Holida...card+with+data


Will report on how it works in an iPhone 6 in Italy when we get back home in July. It is perfect for our use: lots of data- 10Gb for Google Maps and browsing while driving as well as tethering to other devices. But only good for 14 days from first use. All for $50.


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Old 05-27-2018, 09:42 AM   #20
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Aha, that explains why a UK sim card wouldn't work in other countries last year (before June 15, 2017) but now Orange Holiday is advertising a Sim card that works in all European countries, including Switzerland!!) https://www.amazon.com/Orange-Holida...card+with+data


Will report on how it works in an iPhone 6 in Italy when we get back home in July. It is perfect for our use: lots of data- 10Gb for Google Maps and browsing while driving as well as tethering to other devices. But only good for 14 days from first use. All for $50.


David
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If just for Italia, forget French SIM card Orange Holiday.

Look at TIM (Italia) prepaid "TIM for VISITORS". 4GB data, 100 minutes in Italy & abroad (USA included), 1 SIM card, valid for 30 days from activation, € 30.

It's what I have when traveling there by car or boat, happy with that.

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Setup your iCloud account on both of your main and extre iPhones, then phonebooks, notes, favorites, iMessages, will be automatically synchronized in real time.
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