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Canadian travelling in Europe Best Cell phone options

We're travelling to Europe . Presenting Have a telus phone.
What are my best options with staying in touch with our Airbnb hosts.
Europe pay and talk phone or SIM card ?

Posted by
3271 posts

How much is the Telus travel plan? Do you need a lot of data as well as phone minutes?

Posted by
5 posts

Have to check travel data plan with Telus
Basically. I only need to make about 6 phone calls all in different countries

Posted by
31471 posts

How long will your trip be? For the few calls you'll be making, using one of the Telus roaming options would be the easiest solution, although possibly not the cheapest - .

One point to note is that you would not be able to use European SIM cards unless your phone is unlocked.

Which province are you located in? Your local Telus agent should be able to provide information on the best options for your situation.

I have service with Rogers and I've been using their international roaming plans for the last few years, as it provides seamless service all over Europe. It's a bit pricey but not a big deal in the overall costs of a European trip.

Posted by
607 posts

Just do the math. You say you need to make 6 calls. How long is each call , say 3 minutes each?

If you use the telus travel plan and make those calls on six different days, you pay 6 x 12 = 72. But once you pay for the day, you can keep using you phone to make calls and text for the whole day.

If you roam using your regular home plan without the travel plan you will pay per minute roaming charges. i estimate you have to pay about $3 a minute roaming. 6 x 3 x 3 = 54. But if you talk more minutes or text, you pay more.

Or you could buy local sim for about $30-40 for about a month, get about 1000 minutes, plus some data which is always nice. And some may let you call home.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks getting a new phone soon and will make sure it's unlocked in case I buy a European SIM card
And will check for international calling
. Has anyone used the MagicJack app in Europe to make phone calls

Posted by
924 posts

As of Dec 31, 2017 - i.e., a year ago - new phones sold in Canada must by law be unlocked, and older phones must be unlocked by the carrier for free, regardless of what your existing contract says. I’ve just unlocked the rest of my family's phones via Rogers today, mine was unlocked earlier this year. No charge.

Posted by
86 posts

Couple things:

  1. Most providers charge for voice calls made outside the country where you plan is. E.g., I have a French SIM and account with Free, and I am charged for voice calls placed while I am in Ireland. Charged enough that I won't make any voice calls while I'm here.

  2. WiFi is widely available, and with that, you can use the AirBnB app to communicate with your hosts. This is preferred, as it allows you to easily involve AirBnB should a dispute arise.

  3. WhatsApp is widely used. I've used it to text with AirBnB hosts a couple of times, and you can make voice calls on it, as well.

You really need to check with your provider (or switch to a new one, since you're looking at getting a new phone anyway) to see what kind of deal you can get that allows you to use your phone as it is.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks for your respond will look into the what's up app I also have the Magicjack app
Will definitely use the Airbnb app for communicating but sometimes they want you to call when you arrive. Thanks again

Posted by
27746 posts

The charge for roaming from one EU (plus Switzerland and EEA) country to another should be nominal or non-existent. Since the requirement of seamless roaming came in last year your data and minutes and texts should travel with you and go against your base allowance.

But I've never heard of Free so don't know about them.

Have you tried since the harmonisation, G3rryCee?

Posted by
2 posts

With regard to the post by Nigel, am I to understand that a SIM card purchased by a traveler in any EU country would provide calls and MSM texts at the same rate in all EU countries. If that is correct it would be wonderful!

I will be in Amsterdam, London & Oxford, and Ireland in April and May of 2019. I expect to make calls and/or MSM texts to a variety of places (hotel, airbnb, cabs or Uber, restaurants, possibly museums). As mentioned above, frequently airbnb hosts want a phone call or text upon arrival. I have read one might need a new SIM card for each country, but perhaps that is old news? Thank you, Deanna

Posted by
31471 posts


"I have read one might need a new SIM card for each country, but perhaps that is old news?"

That's no longer true. A SIM bought in one country will work in others. Since you would be on a PAYG plan, be sure you're clear on topping up outside the country where the SIM was purchased.

Posted by
4933 posts

Donna, I've had good luck with my Dutch Vodafone SIM. I actually bought mine on eBay (I've never even used the SIM in the Netherlands), but you might do well with buying one of these if Amsterdam is your first destination. Just head to a Vodafone store when you get there and they will set you up. One big benefit is the ability to add credit after you leave the country. I've topped mine off a few times with my US credit card, on their website.

I've used my Dutch Vodafone SIM in France, Italy, Slovenia, Portugal, and Spain.

A downside of this SIM is that it might not be idea for making a lot local calls in Europe. It's better for mobile data with a "You" bundle (good for a month after you activate it). I don't need to make many calls in Europe, so this has never been an issue for me. I really need my phone most for on-the-fly walking and public transit navigation, and you need a phone with data for that. For calls, I still use Skype. You do have to put $10 of credit on it once and then calls to phones cost a few cents per minute. But, you can make Skype calls to phone numbers with WiFi or with mobile data, with any SIM.