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another cell phone question

We are getting ready for our first trip to Italy, and could use some advice concerning cell phone options. We can take our regular AT&T cell phone which will work in Europe, or we can take a cheap European cell phone and buy an Italy sim card for it. We do not plan on making many calls, just if we need to change a reservation or have an emergency. We were planning on taking our regular cell phone, but we have heard so much about pick pockets, that we're wondering if it would be smarter to take the cheap phone with a pre-paid sim card. If that gets stolen, it would not be a big deal. Any advice would be much appreciated! Thanks.

Posted by
7653 posts

Yes, pickpockets are an issue, but many never have an issue, so I would not fear the possibility, just take precautions. I carry a messenger style bag for my camera, map and guidebook, so my ATT phone goes deep in that with no problems. Aside from that, the usual about being aware and protecting your items should keep you safe.

Posted by
32244 posts


My suggestion would be to use your existing AT&T quad-band Phone, especially since you stated "We do not plan on making many calls, just if we need to change a reservation or have an emergency". This would likely be the most cost effective option. However, whether this is cost effective will depend on whether you receive any calls from friends or family, who may be unaware that you're out of the country. Calls from the U.S. are more expensive than "in country" outgoing calls.

I always travel with a Cell Phone using "roaming" with my home network, and that method has worked well so far. I use text to keep in touch with family and friends back home, which is very inexpensive (and actually better than E-mail in some ways, as I don't always have access to a computer).

If you use "normal" precautions, you should be able to avoid any problems with pickpockets. If you're in a "high risk" area, place the phone in a secure inside pocket (or whatever).

Good luck and happy travels!

Posted by
1449 posts

since you're not making many calls, just take your existing phone. And since it's AT&T, there's something else you can do to make it safe in case of theft. AT&T SIM chips can be set up with a pin code; this is a number that you have to enter each time you turn the phone on to unlock the SIM. Enter it wrong a few times and the SIM is locked until you take it into an AT&T store to get it unlocked. Look in your manual for info on how to do this, or call AT&T for help. Then carry your phone turned off; just check for messages occasionally, or turn it on when you need it.

Posted by
864 posts

I'd take my own cell phone. (You've made sure it's unlocked for Europe correct? For billing reasons I'd have this done a full month before departure but check with your provider.) Important to note you need to notify people who call you regularly that you will be out of the country and to please not call or text you unless it is an emergency. I have to leave my phone on all the time (elderly mother) but if it wasn't for her it'd be turned off in order to avoid incoming charges (ask your service provider about that TOO). Better to just check your txt msgs when you want to rather than 3 a.m.