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Using my US cellphone (Verizon) in Scotland

I'll be in Scotland in 2 weeks, and just added 'International Travel Plan' to my Verizon Pixel 6. This is best for me, as I'll be there less than 2 weeks, and wanted to keep my US number.

My question is simple: when my family in the US wants to call me (from landline with international calling capabilities), do they just dial 001 44 , then my US area code & number? Or, is something additional needed?

Many thanks! (In searching, there are TONS of sites telling you how to call the UK, but none that I could find tell me if there's anything unique about calling a US-based cellphone that's roaming in Scotland.) Mike H.

Posted by
3762 posts

Check with Verizon for verification, but they should be able to call or text you just as if you are at home at no cost to them.

I've used Verizon for every trip I've done since 2009. I don’t do the data. It just gets too expensive too fast. I use the lodging's Wi-Fi for email.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks for the reply. I have tried Verizon tech. support, but they pretty much refused to help when I told them family would be calling from a landline (Ooma VOIP, technically); I may try again. The $100 / month International Travel Plan gets you 5GB data, 250 minutes voice, and 1,000 texts; which sounded fine for my 14-day trip.

Posted by
3707 posts

We've had people call our number without doing anything extra and the phone "found" us overseas. In the past, when the regular support people weren't able to help, the dedicated international support desk was able to clarify all my questions. Try calling them at 1-800-711 8300.

Posted by
86 posts

I've used both the Verizon international plans at different times, the $10/day and the $100/month, with no problems. My family was able to reach me by just dialing the same as when I'm home - no difference. For me, the data, voice and text, were plenty for my trip, even though I chose not to use public wifi.

Posted by
1586 posts

This isn’t going to answer your question, but I wanted to let you know I have used Verizon’s international plan twice recently and it worked great. I find the expense well worth the convenience of having my phone exactly as it does at home. For me to call from Europe to a contact in the US, I just find the contact in my phone and click on it like I do at home.

It's possible your family would just need to call you the same way they do when you are in the US since you will have your US number.

Posted by
8609 posts

People in the US call you as they always do. So, be careful and check who the call is from as it could be a caller you don’t want to talk to or don’t want to pay the $$$ to talk to. My husband paid a lot when a friend called to chat not knowing we were in Europe.

Posted by
4 posts

Ah, now I KNOW that I over-thought this issue. 🥴 Thanks for those answering how simple this is... Very helpful.

I love how technology has made it so (relatively) easy to travel internationally. I include debit cards at ATMs to get local currency, credit cards w/o foreign transaction fees, cellphones, AirBNB & VRBO, and WiFi at most every lodging as top examples.

Mike H.

Posted by
256 posts

one downside is that to call to book a local restaurant, it's a double whammy, and the restaurant is unlikely to return an International call. maybe Verizon has a way around that. we had a difficult time finding dinner without advance booking.

Posted by
1041 posts

I have to admit that I am a technophobe. Actually, I'm pretty proud of it. In earlier days, I would have been one of the followers of Ned Ludd, although I definitely would not have gone about destroying machinery. I'm content to just let technology pass me by, and let me enjoy a good book and some Runrig.

A few years ago, I came up with a solution for using a cell phone (mobile) in Scotland. I purchased a mobile through Vodafone, which gave me the ability to make calls within Britain, and with the additional purchase of a calling card, the ability to make relatively inexpensive calls back to the US. I did this because I was tired of trying to find a phone box that had not been either vandalized or used as a toilet (or both!).

This worked for years, until the battery in my mobile could no longer be charged, and no replacements were available. So I purchased a new mobile (a flip phone) for 15 pounds, and with it a SIM card which was good for 30 days. That plus the purchase of a TESCO calling card (3 pounds, good for 120 minutes to the US) meant that I was back in business.

Originally, the SIM card only gave me 250 minutes of calls, plus unlimited texts. In recent years, that 10 pound SIM card gives me unlimited calling and texts for 30 days. And with the 3 pound TESCO card, I can make up to two hours of calls to the US, So for a total of 13 pounds, the possibilities are almost limitless. And all I need to carry is a small flip phone.

To check e-mail, I go to one of the many libraries in Scotland. All of them allow internet use for visitors. The best ones we've found are in Oban, Portree, Broadford, Mallaig, and Dundee.

I know that my solution is far from ideal for many of you. However, it's out there as an option.

Happy travels to all!

Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
25 posts

We are in Scotland now and have Verizon. We pay the $10 daily fee for international phone/data/text. They throttle your data usage. Texting works fine. Haven’t tried to call, but I believe I can call/receive as normal. The internet coverage has been awful and Verizon has been awful to try to get ahold of. I must rely on Wi-Fi at our B&B. I will be looking at switching companies when I return.

Posted by
26 posts

It was so easy for us to go to the Vodaphone store on the Royal Mile, paid 10 pounds for entire month of the SIM card. They cheerfully installed it there. It enabled us to call ahead to places and for others in the UK to easily contact us--a lifesaver.

Posted by
25 posts

We were in Scotland in September with another couple. They used the UK SIM card option in their U.S. phones, we used the international $10/day plan from Verizon (U.S.). There were up/down sides to both options. The $10/day was much more expensive because we each had to “activate” on the same day, which then became $20/day if we were going to be separated and needed to contact each other. But when our friends tried to purchase tickets for an event (as so often you have to do on a website) their VISA sent the verification code to their U.S. #, which they did not have access to because they had put in a UK SIM card. We had trouble calling their new SIM # and they could not call our U.S. #’s with the SIM card. We were able to use texting or What’s App to communicate when separated. We have found What’s App to be a lifesaver when in UK/Europe.

Posted by
6803 posts

WhatsApp is the way to go when in the UK. I often travel to the UK and WhatsApp been a great means of communication for those back in the states and in the UK.

Was told about it years back from the owner of the AirBnB flat I rented. She was Chinese and lived off and on in China to care for ailing parents. Had invested in the UK home and her Italian boyfriend was the care taker.

I keep in in touch with my UK friends via WhatsApp.

My phone is on the Verizon network. When I travel abroad I’ve already budgeted for the $10/day package.

My travel philosophy; Convenience. No angst.

Lastly, I agree with Mike about libraries as stops to check emails. Also pleasant spots to use restrooms and in some libraries grab a bite to eat or cup of coffee.

Posted by
2061 posts

$10/day isn't bad. We usually only activate my wife's phone as we both don't need two phones with a plan. Then again $20/day isn't that big of a deal. We just text and maybe call home once a week. Really don't need the phone much at all.

Posted by
1 posts

We just returned from 3 weeks in the UK with our Verizon international plan. I would say that it was worth it for making calls in the country - restaurants, trains, etc. However for our family and friends we use WhatsApp -- everyone was set up before we left and the calls are free with WIFI. We found WiFi readily available including on trains and in stations.

Posted by
246 posts

Local SIM is the way to go. Then you have a local number. Then you have data all the time and not just Wi-Fi. This to me is the crux of the matter, the data. Because it is alway a need to use the maps and to look up, on the fly, the things you are questioning whilst wandering around. For instance, we went to Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna and sat on a bench in the gardens and looked up the history of those gardens and the orangery, etc. Same with various churches in Italy, or ruins in Italy. You want to know, don’t you? You have a question at the time and place where otherwise there is no Wi-Fi. With data you can book tickets or make a reservation right at the door of where you are.
And every phone SIM will never cost you anywhere near $10 day.
For those of you thinking of friends and family calls to and from the US. Well, maybe this is a time to do a little breakaway from that reliance and obligation. From the e-slavery of the phone. See how it goes.

Posted by
4 posts

I do like the idea of using local SIM cards (either installed in one's US cellphone, or with an inexpensive local device), but not having my US phone number active causes problems (such as with 2-factor authentication, having to inform key contacts in the US, etc.). Earlier replies cite both of these approaches.

My new Pixel cellphone has the ability to install both a traditional, physical SIM card; and an eSIM at the same time. In theory, eSIM allows you to store multiple carrier profiles on your smartphone and switch between them on the fly. That means you can switch between different plans quickly, which can be helpful when traveling internationally and using a temporary local SIM card. (See https://www.androidauthority.com/esim-914052/ for more details.)

I have not tried this, as I got the Pixel phone just recently; but it's certainly something I may do in the future. Has anyone else done this?