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Seeking info in trip to Europe about cellular, Inter-european air

Hello everyone,

I enjoyed reading everyone's posts. I just signed on. I have a few questions. I'm going to Europe in October, Scotland, Ireland England,Italy, and maybe Spain. I am wondering if anyone has had experience with a cellular company called "International Cellular Service" I got a quote from them for $60 a month rental and $2.20 a minute with free incoming calls. A

Also has anyone had trouble with their carryon size rules for the small European airlines like RyanAir, Jet2, EasyJet, etc. They seem to have smaller measurements than U.S. and they charge to check.

Lastly, I was wondering if anyone had applied for a passport recently and how long it took to get it. I applied April 30th and I leave in October, but I'm still a little stressed that I'm not going to get it with all the issues they are having. Mine was a renewal but it was older than 15 years. I'm hoping that will speed things up. I didn't do expidited at the time because I didn't think about it.

Any help anyone can give will be very much appreciated. Thanks!

Posted by
223 posts

Since your "renewal" was older than 15 years, you did a "new" app, right, even if you included your old passport? If so, you "should" be OK. If it is within 15 days of your trip & you don't have your passport, you can go down to your local passport office and get hooked up (Call the 800# first). Don't stress about it now because there is nothing you can do until 15 days prior to your trip.

About the regional air carriers. I know that their carryone requiredments are far more stringent than international carriers. Even though you have to pay for checked bags on Easyjet, and can pay for additional bags, it doesn't actually increase your weight limit - it just allows you to use two checked bags to reach your limit.

Read each carriers policies carefully BEFORE buying. Also, watch what airport they are flying out of. That's why I picked Easyjet over Ryannair for my flight. out of Orly instead of Beauvais and allowed 20 kg instead of 15 kg for checked bags.

Good luck.

Posted by
9 posts

Thanks so much Roxanne. I appreciate the tips. I did fill out a new app and sent in my old passport. I guess your right, I can't stress about it because I have time. I am just wondering what people's timelines are. I'm sure there are a few people more stressed than me who have to leave soon. I will also watch for the policies on the airlines. I know one of the airlines policies was very strict, I think it was Jet2, and I will watch for that. I need to buy my tickets this week.

Thanks again

Posted by
4555 posts

Re: cell phone service. I couldn't find the company you listed, but that's pretty high for outgoing calls. Do a google search for "international cellular service" or something similar to check out the competition. If you're sure your current local cell phone service can't do better (higher rates, or maybe a CDMA service instead of a GSM service) it might be to your advantage to purchase an inexpensive unlocked GSM phone (ebay, for example), then purchase a global SIM card. www.brightroam.com for example, offers a global SIM for $49 and charges 45-50 cents U-S for outgoing calls and calls back to the U-S....you only pay for what you use.

Posted by
9 posts

Thanks Norm. I have Ssprint and they told me I couldn't use my phone over there, and they couldn't help me.

I found that Website on a search and asked for a quote. They said AMEX recommends them. Who knows if that's true. Maybe I got the name wrong. I will check into what you are talking about because that sounds like a really good deal. with the global SIM card.

Posted by
14 posts

I live in England and can confirm that the budget airlines are quite strict with all of their luggage regs. My husband just got nicked for being 3 kgs over on one of his checked bags. An agent for bmibaby tried to tell me they had a weight limit for carryons, which I knew was wrong. The different carriers all have different rules, so it's important to keep track of it. I'd print out each one's rules and keep them with you, if you've booked flight with one of them. The websites are pretty detailed.

Re: phones - if you're going to be in the UK, go to one of the zillions of mobile phone shops (I've used Carphone Warehouse with reasonable success) tell them what you need (an inexpensive pay as you go tri-band phone that will work on the continent). The phone we bought there was already unlocked (they didn't tell us that, but we figured it out when we bought a new SIM card for it). Time in the UK will be anywhere from 20-40p/min depending on plan and 40-80p/min on the continent.

Posted by
14 posts

(continuation of previous post)
A phone should cost no more than 25-30 pound ($50-60) and you'll get some airtime with that. You can top up the time at ATMS, newsagents, grocery stores, everywhere. Check out websites from Vodaphone, Virgin Mobile, Tesco, Orange, etc. and compare. It's quite easy and quick in the UK.

SIM cards in other places seem to be more expensive (e.g. 30 euros in France) but they are cheap (5 pounds) in the UK

Posted by
6011 posts

In regards to Carry-ons; Most of the budget carriers have a very different definition of carry-on. In the US, typical is one "carry-On" of specific dimensions, and one personal item (Purse, briefcase, daypack) On RyanAir and Easyjet your typical "Carry-On" becomes checked luggage, and you are allowed to bring your personal item into the cabin with you. Total weight is for both items, where typically in the US your Personal item is not weighed. So yes, be carefule and read the rules.

Posted by
9 posts

Thanks so much Paul and Ellen. I will just plan on buying a phone when I get to London. I had thought about doing that and since it seems to be a lot cheaper than the alternative I am going to go that route. I am going to go on-line and check out Virgin Mobile.

As far as the carry-on situation. I am going to have to think that one out as I am not sure I want to pay extra for checked luggage, but I am thinking there may be no other way. It is just so much cheaper to fly than take the train if you buy your tickets early. I have gone on some of the websites already and just glanced them over. I will have to check in on them more careful.

Again, thanks you guys for the information. It helps so much. I am one of those people who likes to plan as much as possible, but then just play it as it goes when I get there and have fun. I know things won't go as planned most of the time, but at least I can be somewhat prepared. I love this Website!

Senia

Posted by
223 posts

Senia,

On Ryannair and Easyjet, even if you purchase an "additional checked bag", it doesn't increase your weight limit. You just get to use two checked bags instead of one to reach that limit. I think Ryannair's is 15 kg, while Easyjet is 20 kg. limits. That 5 kg. is a little over 10 lbs., so it does make a difference.

Good luck.

Roxanne

Posted by
9 posts

Thanks, Roxanne. I think I am going to try to avoid those carriers if possible or only take them once so I don't have to pay much more. I was told that it can end up costing the same for a ticket once you check your luggage with low-cost airlines as with British Airways. BA had a ticket from London to Dublin for $79 and Ryanair I think was $49.00 and I'm thinking with two bags, one small backpack and a larger wheeled pack, it's probably going to cost me the same. I'll have to pack my stuff and weigh them and see what I come up with, check the Website for fees, and figure out the most cost effective way.

Thanks again

Posted by
505 posts

You should also be aware that, no matter which airline you fly, if you are connecting through or departing from a UK airport, you are only allowed ONE carry on bag - not one bag and one personal item - and it must be within the size guidelines (see www.baa.co.uk).

So, unless you can fit all your items into one small suitcase and don't mind having to confine your liquids to the one bag/100mL rule, you probably will need to check at least one bag when departing from the UK.

I can confirm that even the non discount airlines can be very strict about weight. Usually I've been allowed 1-2kg over, but beyond that, you pay dearly for extra weight.

The other issue is that many of the planes on European routes are quite small, so you may have to gate check items even if they get past security. As such, always good to have a small bag that you stuff in your larger bag so you can carry valuables on board even if your bag has to be checked.

Kate

Posted by
9 posts

Thanks Kate. I think that I am going to try to consolidate all of my valuables into one carry-on within the size guidelines and then check one bag. I will just have to be prepared to pay whatever I need to. I'm going to try to keep the weight down. Thank you for letting me know because I thought that a purse or small shoulder bag wouldn't count toward that personal carry on as it doesn't here. Must learn to adapt!

Senia