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iPhone or Android?

We're planning to be in Europe for more than a month, including a RS tour. I want us to have email/internet access and access to phone daily for hotel verifications, etc. I've read all RS suggestions, but not sure which phone type is best.
I only use a Tracfone basic text phone here at home, but it doesn't unlock ( I've sent an email to Tracfone to ask about that). However, I do want to get an updated product but not spend over 200 dollars. Does either work in Europe? Would I be better off with a tablet and buy an European phone once we're there?
We're arriving in England first.


Posted by
2081 posts


If you want a just an expensive phone, you can get them over there < 100 USD. but if you want to play games on it, its a different story.

look at The stores are all over London. Ive seen a share of them in Leeds too. Those are the only places ive been to so far. there are other outlets, but you can get an idea on price and whats offered. Remember $$$ is in pounds.

The PAYG sims are a really good deal. but if you want to add minutes, make sure you do it there or get some vouchers. Once you leave the UK, you wont be able to add minutes unless you have a UK credit card/address. At least that has been my experience.

If you want a tablet, i would look at COSTCO or some other e stores. at one time COSTCO had some wi-fi tablets for < 200 USD. Also, i think the carphonewarehouse had some tablets too so you can price compare. I will let you do that. The thing is that if you by something from overthere, the charges wont fit our outlets without an adapter.

If you get a wi-fi only table/device you wont have to worry about a sim card. However, im betting that wi-fi isnt everywhere as in the USA, so you will take a chance of not having access for a time. If you decide to get a device with cellular, it will cost more.

you can look on Craigslist, Ebay or look for a local store that sells used cellphones/tablets that are unlocked and GSM/quadband capable too.

just a comment. depending on the size of tablet you may get, it could end up being a PIA to lug around. I would spend some time window shoping in your area for tablets. Go out and pick them up and see if you want to carry the extra weight with you. At the least you can figure out what size of tablet you will want.

happy trails.

Posted by
31135 posts


To begin with, even if you were able to unlock your Tracphone, it's possible that it will either be the wrong technology for Europe (CDMA) or won't have all four frequency bands. Therefore it would probably be best to buy an inexpensive travel phone. There are a couple of options:

  • Buy an unlocked quad-band GSM phone off E-Bay or wherever. I used a Motorola V-551 flip for many years and it always worked reliably. You can use that either with a SIM purchased in Europe, or a SIM from one of the travel phone firms such as Roam Simple, Cellular Abroad, Telestial, EuroBuzz, Mobal or others. A SIM purchased in Europe will be pre-paid and as the previous reply mentioned, topping-up could be an issue once you've left the country where you purchased the SIM. A SIM from a travel phone firm will likely be post-paid (calls charged to a credit card), so there will be no issues with topping-up.
  • Buy an inexpensive phone in the first county you visit in Europe. Again, topping-up could be an issue.
  • Buy an inexpensive phone from one of the travel phone firms mentioned above.

The least expensive method to accomplish the functions you mentioned would be to use the phone for calls and text (hotel verification), and pack along an iPad or other tablet for E-Mail & Internet access using Wi-Fi at your hotels or public hot spots.

Regarding charging the batteries, if you buy a phone here it will probably have a multi-voltage charger, but it's still prudent to check that. If the charger states "Input Voltage 100-240 VAC" then all you'll need will be inexpensive Plug Adaptors. I'd suggest taking a couple, as they're easy to misplace. Note that the U.K. uses a different plug configuration than used on the continent. You can have a look at the different types of Plug Adaptors at