I don't have a smartphone, just a 4G flip-phone. Is it easier to rent one here or there? Can someone recommend a good place to rent at CDG airport?
here's a company I used many years ago, in fact I just recycled two of their little chicklet phones. They used to be called Eurobuzz.
You could also buy a cheap quad band unlocked phone on Amazon and then get a SIM card.
Or join the cool kids and actually get a smartphone :)
I used that same company years ago, but looking at it now it looks like you’re buying the phone not renting it. ( I don’t think I rented either. I think I bought). I have a feeling that a rental would cost more than buying the phone, it made sense decades ago but smart phones can be had very cheaply now. ask around. One of your neighbors probably has an unused one that you could use.
Newbie, I can’t help with your actual question. But if you really want access to the information on a cell phone, I am not sure it’s wise to wait to make that switch after you arrive when you aren’t used to using one. Yes, you can make telephone calls but pretty much nothing else would be set up for your personal use. If you really think you need one (and I agree they can make things much easier), I would suggest you go ahead and get one here and get used to how to make the most of it before you leave.
Carol is right that a lot of people have older ones lying around and someone might let you use one and practice before you go. Then you could have a French sim installed after you arrive. If you don’t want to make the switch yourself.
Texastravelmom makes an excellent point. If you've only ever had a flip phone, there's a bit of a learning curve to switch to a smartphone. Do you have a digital native in your life who you can enlist here? Ask them if they can show you how to use a smart phone (and let you practice) including essential apps like Google Translate and Google Maps. Then ask them to find you an unlocked, recent model phone to borrow or buy inexpensively.
2nd vote for TexasTravelMom's advice to get one now and work on your skills. This is huge.
I thought I had fair smartphone skills only to get to Bordeaux in Oct 2021 and find that many restaurants had done away with paper menus and you had to scan a QR code. I was tired and hungry and this terrasse had a wonderful view of the main plaza but I had no idea how to scan the code so I just ordered something from the chalkboard. I got home...started scanning QR codes everywhere including when they flash up on TV and got my skill level up.
PS - I am vegan. The only thing I could figure out on the chalkboard was a club sandwich. Not vegan but hunger and embarrassment over not being able to access the menu won out over no meat!
Costco and Amazon all sell decent and very affordable smartphones. They can all do data or Wi-Fi.
The most up-to-date phones can do 5G which is the latest and fastest data technology. But that may not necessary at this time because the best that most of the travel sims can do is 4G anyways.
If photography is important to you, you should buy a late model iPhone, Pixel or Samsung. One option is to look for a used one if you want to save some money.
We purchased our first smartphone this year (Samsung A32) for about $300. and signed up for the Google Fi flexible plan which costs us about $25 a month. Our other phone is a Tracfone which is only good for calls in the US. With Google Fi, calls and texts in the US are free and calls from outside the US are 20 cents a minute. We found this phone invaluable especially on our recent trip to Antarctica when we had to make a quick change to our American Airlines reservation for our flight home after our charter flight from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires was canceled. I spent $3.40 to talk to an American Airlines rep for 17 minutes. That call saved our bacon as we would have been a no show for our flight home from Buenos Aires and goodness knows what it would have cost to purchase flights home at the last minute the next day. We also found it useful to find our way at times on arrival in a new location such as coming out of the station in Glasgow. We used it for our train and bus reservations and used What’s App to communicate with our tour guide in Ireland. Get the phone in time to practice with it and familiarize yourself with the functions, load some useful apps. It’s not that hard. We also found that a lot of restaurants use scan codes instead of paper menus. If you are struggling with this function, the waitstaff will be happy to help you. Don’t be shy. Ask for help. I don’t know how I managed without this phone when traveling all these years. It was well worth the investment of a few hundred bucks. We love it.
Thanks for all the replies. I actually don't want to own a Smartphone, sorry I'm not cool. ;) Someone said you could rent a flip-phone for European use once you get there. Is that true?
I found a website called Cellular Abroad. Anyone had any experience with them?
You can definitely do without a smart phone. And I think my original thought remains the same: the smart thing to do is NOT to try a new smart phone upon arrival.
I suggest you pick up a SIM card in France and use your own phone. 30 day fee is very small.
Huge reason to have a smart phone is it provides a map that has your location at all times anywhere in the world. Because you can download a map of Paris the GPS feature of the phone will show your location even without using data. I rented a car and could not use the in-car map because I do not speak/read french so I used my phone instead. Charges are the same for a smart phone or a flip phone. I bought my Iphone used on Ebay. Its only 3 years old and it was ~25% of teh cost of a new one.
OP what is your objection to owning a smart phone? A phone rental in Europe and learning curve will cost you more than you think. I don’t understand such an attitude.
It is NOT easier to rent a phone here or there.
Would you tell us what you want the smartphone for? If driving rental cars may provide or rent a GPS. If it is for maps for walking around a city....well, chances are you have good paper map skills. I remember being tired every evening in Paris after plotting my next day's routes on a big map and transferring details to a small pocket Paris guide....but I didn't have to think about finding wifi, data consumption or 'where can I charge this darn thing'.
Well, I found out my Tracphone won't work outside of the US. It's just a cheap phone from Walmart but it does everything I need it to here. From reading this forum it seems like Smartphones are a magnet for pickpockets and often get stolen. I think I can do without one. Is it still possible to rent a cheap fliphone when I get there that would work for local calls?
If you really don't want a smartphone, don't get one. Buy a flip phone from somebody in Europe. I have done that twice.
it is fine if you want to refuse using a smartphone as long as you know what you're giving up and are ok with that and have ways to fill those gaps.
You may find it difficult these days to buy a phone that isn't smart; a flip phone is ancient technology and will likely not be receiving safety updates.
Smartphones are no more a magnet for pickpockets than anything else. Wallets are a magnet for pickpockets too, arguably a more lucrative one. Are you going to leave your wallet at home when you travel?
Phones get stolen when people have them visible in their back pockets, or when they sit down at a table in a cafe and have their phone sitting on the table, where it can be easily grabbed.
I have been traveling in Europe with a smartphone since there were smartphones. I have never had my phone (or wallet or passport) stolen, because I use common sense and have them well secured. I do the same thing at home, too. If you don't want to use a smart phone, that's totally your choice. But saying it's because it's because it's a magnet for pickpockets indicates you may not know how to protect any of your valuables when traveling.
Not everyone wants a smart phone. My father doesn't want one - so I keep getting him flip phones as needed. Just his preference. (Tracfone is not the only option for cheap service FYI. Try Hello Mobile or Tello, and you don't have to deal with locked phones.)
But smart phones don't have to cost that much. The cheap Moto Android phone I carry around cost $40 used on eBay. It works great in Europe (with European SIM) - saves me an enormous amount of time and effort e.g. with maps. I've never worried about having it stolen while in Europe, maybe because thieves know it's probably not worth stealing LOL. But it works for me.