Mobile phone abroad for safety?

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Mobile phone abroad for safety?

Postby kat2010 » Mon Feb 08, 2010 5:29 am

I am a female travelling alone around Central and South America, Cuba and Trinidad for 11 months. I didnt want to take a mobile phone as I've heard it can be expensive, signal is bad, and I would need to buy a different sim card in most of the different countries I will be visiting. However, I have been pressurized from family that it would be important in an emergency and for them to contact me if need be.

If I took one, I would definitely not use it for personal use, it would purely be for security. I have tried to think of times I would use it, ie if I got mugged, kidnapped, ill etc, but I am not sure how much of a help it really would be???

I fly out on Wednesday 10th very early, so I'd appreciate your thoughts, advice, experiences today or tomorrow at the latest really! Thank you :-)
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Re: Mobile phone abroad for safety?

Postby ExplorerWannaBe » Mon Feb 08, 2010 8:43 pm

I doubt that it would be of much use other than peace of mind for your family. Having said that, if you plan on doing this, you'll probably want a quad-band GSM phone. You can usually ask your current carrier for an international calling plan that lets you use your current phone and number. Yes, rates can be exorbitant but only if you actually use the phone and you can set it up so it's only effective during the period you're gone and in the countries you specify.

You can also sometimes pick up a local SIM chip that will have cheaper rates per minute but may be more expensive overall. I bought a SIM card in Tanzania and never used it. I was out the $11 for the card. If you go this route, you MUST make sure your phone is "unlocked" or it may not work.

Personally, I'd give your family the emergency contact numbers GAP provides and tell them you'll be too busy having fun to spend time on the phone unless it's an emergency. Your guide will most probably have his/her own phone to arrange details so can call out in case of emergency on your end.
Not all those who wander are lost. -- J.R.R. Tolkien
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Re: Mobile phone abroad for safety?

Postby desiree2 » Tue Feb 09, 2010 8:21 pm

Hi

One other problem with having a mobile and service unreliability is that you may be somewhere for several days and simply not have any coverage. Meanwhile, back home your family is desperately trying to ring you, getting nowhere and then assuming the worst, and you are spending hours worrying about not having any coverage and not being able to ring home, knowing that your family is panicking because you can't contact them!

Internet cafes are available just about everywhere, perhaps you could try to keep in contact then.

My family (parents, brother, daughter) travel quite a lot and we're great believers in the phrase that "no news is good news".

Enjoy your trip!
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Re: Mobile phone abroad for safety?

Postby hcdownes » Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:08 pm

I think you should take your phone with you, I'll be going around the world in April for a few months and will be taking my contract phone. My network allows me to pay an extra £5 a month for a bundle to save me money on calls and texts from the countries I'll be visiting. Although I will have it switched off in my bag unless I haven't been able to visit an internet cafe for a while and will want to text my family to let them know which country I'm in and that I'm ok!

Hopefully your network will have some sort of travel bundle to add to your deal to get you cheaper rates!

Happy travelling :D
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Re: Mobile phone abroad for safety?

Postby electrakate » Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:54 pm

I know it's too late, but I thought I would post anyways just in case anyone else is curious...

Before I went to Italy (Sept. 2009) I bought an UNLOCKED quadband phone which you can use everywhere except for Japan and Korea - Motorola Razr in my case for $130 - at a store here in Vancouver called Foreign Electronics (http://www.multi-system.com/). It was one of the best purchases I ever made for travelling. All you do is buy a SIM card when you get to where you're going and it's all prepaid time and you get a local phone #. That's it! Super easy. My phone came in very handy in situations where my friend and I lost each other or when one of us got stuck in a bathroom (happened too many times!), or when we couldn't find our hostel. As for the cost of the SIM & minutes in Italy it was very cheap. 20 Euro for the connection, including the phone # and a 5 euro credit. Then, a few days later we topped up with 20 Euros thinking even that wouldn't be enough - I have NOOOOO idea why we thought that, because on our last day (we were there for a month), we still each had at least 12 Euros left on our phones and I was texting and calling Canada (as well as within Italy) all the time. Definitely a worthwhile investment. What ever you do, do NOT take your iphone! My friend used hers in Italy for internet and after 2 weeks it cut off - I guess Rogers thought it got stolen because the bill was $2700 at that point!!! OUCH. Apparently they don't have a data plan for europe!
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Re: Mobile phone abroad for safety?

Postby TravelFun » Mon Feb 22, 2010 6:32 pm

Hi,

When I'm travelling for longer periods of time then I take a travel sim with me...you keep the same number wherever you go so you don't have to keep changing numbers locally. It's really easy and you just top-up online and in alot of countries it's free to receive text messages.

Check these out:
http://www.gosim.com/
http://www.sim4travel.com/

Happy Travels!
DO THE RIGHT THING ...all the time, every time!
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