We are planning a couple of back-to-back RS tours of Italy and added extra days before and during the trip. Therefore, we will be in Italy for over a month. We both have iPhones. Any ideas about the least expensive ways to stay connected? Verizon wants $10 per day per phone. Way too pricey.
That's daylight robbery. Assuming the phones are "unlocked", buy new Italian SIM cards for each phone once you land. Expect to pay €10-€20 per month.
The phones will then have Italian phone numbers so you will have to write down each others new numbers.
Thanks for the advice. How do I know whether my phone is unlocked?
Verizon also has a month plan that is much better. I believe the last time I checked it was $60 for a month and data is unlimited. Worth a look...
How do I know whether my phone is unlocked?
Method 1) Did you (a) buy the phone yourself, or (b) get it as part of a contract?
If (a) it is unlocked, if (b) ask the company you got it from.
Method 2) Find a friend with a phone using a different network. Try their SIM card in your phone. If it works, your phone is unlocked.
With our two phones, My spouse gets the Verizon $70 a month plan and I get a Euro SIM card. Works well. He can be in touch with US and I have a local phone. We are in London and heading to Rome, works both places. I use WhatsApp for contact with family( mostly grandkids.) We have had some medical emergencies while traveling and the $70 plan was worth every penny.
The answer might depend on what you plan on using the phones for during the tour. Is it necessary that both phones have full wireless capability during the trip? Do you need to be accessible from home during the time you'll be travelling? You could perhaps take one phone on a Verizon roaming plan, and the other phone with only Wi-Fi switched on.
You might find it helpful to speak with a knowledgeable Verizon representative, as one of their roaming plans may work for you. FWIW, I've been using international roaming with my home cell network for the past few trips, and it's worked really well. The convenience of having the same features and data limits as I do at home has been great! My network charges $12 per day to a maximum of 15 days in any billing period. I often travel for a month and don't find the $180 to be a big deal in the overall cost of a European trip.
You should look at other phone providers. We have T-Mobile, and there’s no charge for data and texting in Europe. I find it very convenient when I’ve traveled for work, solo vacation , or with my husband. Also, in your hotel room, you can connect to WiFi and do FaceTime or WiFi calling with your iPhone. All of that is free.
lacombej1, I sent you a PM.
Be careful about Verizon's monthly plan. One time we signed up for that and they still charged us the $10/day. After that, we changed to T-Mobile.
If you are planning to make lots of phone calls, then you should get a SIM card.
If you want data, get a travel wifi. We use SkyRoam and love it. You can connect up to 5 devices at one time and all of you have unlimited data. For calls, we just use WhatsApp.
I agree with Cala’s post; the same thing happened to us a few years ago with Verizon. You have to check your bill very carefully.
What I usually do now is use Wi-Fi whenever possible, keep my phone in airplane mode so I don’t mistakenly use data, and activate the daily plan if necessary. When I used to live in Italy and travel back-and-forth quite often, I had two phones, one of which had an Italian Sim card. Now I only have one phone and I’m leery of changing SIM cards, although I’m sure it’s much better from a financial standpoint. Mom and I traveled to England for eight days in August, only needed to activate the daily fee twice and split it so in that case it worked out for us. However, for longer trips, I have paid the monthly fee and just canceled upon returning home.
Simplest way to find out if you4 phone is unlocked is to call your provider and ask. If they’re Apple phones, call Apple and they’ll tell you. As far as SIM cards go, Italian carriers Vodafone and TIM offer sims specifically for tourists. They each charge €30 for 30 days. I’ve used the TIM Tourist Card on multi trips simply because of the 15 gigs of data the card offers. Vodafone Holiday offers only 2 gigs. Both come with calling minutes and SMS messaging but no texting.
You can use Whatsapp (calls, video calls, texts and photos) for free if you have wifi. Most, if not all, hotels that RS uses have wifi and the tour buses do too. Whoever you want to connect with will also have to download Whatsapp to their cell phones. You can also create a group (for instance your relatives) and send texts, photos, and videos to all at once.
Many Europeans use it too. I found it easier to communicate with my hotels by Whatsapp in Portugal, France, Spain and Greece this year. Last year, my hotel in Istanbul even had their Whatsapp number printed on their business cards.
Be careful: Not all RS tour buses have wifi. In fact, I only remember one that I'm sure had it; that was on the South England tour in 2016. We've taken 4 RS tours since then, and at least three of those buses did not have wifi. I'm not sure about the fourth, but I think it didn't have it, either.
I also have a T-Mobile plan that gives unlimited data and texting all over the world. I think they charge 25 cents per minute if I make an actual phone call, which I rarely do.
Thank you all. I'll recheck Verizon and try to unlock my phone.
And I will check with T Mobile.
Verizon wants $10 per day per phone.
I think that applies only to the days you use it, but I could be wrong. If you ask at a Verizon store, call their regular number, or use the web site, you may or may not get accurate information. But they do have a dedicated international department that has always been very knowledgeable with regard to giving accurate information. The telephone number is 1-800-711-8300 if you want to contact them.
We have used the $10.00/day plan with Verizon in the past because we didn't intend on using our phones except when needed. This past Oct., my spouse had the $70.00 month plan as he was going to have to use his phone more frequently. It worked well for him and he did not get charged the $10.00/day. We do not set up our plans with the local Verizon store , instead we call the international services division.