Monday, February 27

International Cell Phone Rentals - A Trap or a Genuine Money Saver

Renting an international cell phone can be a good and cost effective option to stay connected,  if your travel duration is brief. There are many companies offering international cellphone on rent with alluring plans, but I recommend caution before putting yourself in a trap with some trickster.

You will find many companies when browsing through Google but make sure you check their reviews before deciding the purchase. I have shortlisted some companies based on multiple reviews, based on the personal experiences of many.

Recommended companies for renting an international cellphone or SIM card:-

  • Telestial – Offering prepaid SIM cards, unlocked GSM and satellite phones for international travelers. Has the largest market share of North America’s market
  • Cell HireSave over 70% on your calls abroad with free incoming calls!
  • Mobal - No contract cell phones which are affordable & easy to use
  • Cellular Abroad - National Geographic International cell phone rentals and travel SIM cards

You can do a sim card only purchase, if your phone is quad-band,  simply meaning it support 4 frequencies. Please check your phone manufacturer or check out the product catalogue for confirmation.

Please ensure that you purchase or carry adapter for foreign AC converters. This will allow you to plug your charger into European / international electrical outlets.

The Europe emergency number for police, fire, and ambulance is 112 and 911 works only in states. Outside Europe, emergency numbers will vary by country.

True Places are never on the Map – Happy Traveling !!

Friday, February 24

Smarter phones emerging in the future

Cell phones are getting smaller and more powerful each day. The disposable Concept and Conduit cell phone is already patented and being manufactured; it is a mere two by three inches, with the thickness of three credit cards, and is made entirely of paper (the circuit board is printed with metallic conductive ink).  Such phones, in volume, will likely cost less than a dollar each, with the air time for educational uses likely subsidized by carriers and others. Some already see mobile bills shrinking to only a few dollars as the mobile companies pay off their investments in the new networks.

Although we often hear complaints from older Digital Immigrants about cell phones' limited screen and button size, it is precisely the combination of miniaturization, mobility, and power that grabs today's Digital Natives.

They can visualize a small screen as a window to an infinite space and have quickly trained themselves to keyboard with their thumbs.

Despite what some may consider cell phones' limitations, our students are already inventing ways to use their phones to learn what they want to know. If educators are smart, we will figure out how to deliver our product in a way that fits into our students' digital lives—and their cell phones. Instead of wasting our energy fighting their preferred delivery system, we will be working to ensure that our students extract maximum understanding and benefit from the vast amounts of cell-phone-based learning of which they will, no doubt,
soon take advantage.

Wednesday, February 15

Preferred Ways To Call Home When Traveling

If you are a globetrotter, you will understand that it can be quite spendthrift to be in touch with friends, family or colleagues back home.

Companies today are offering tons of different options, but the hardest part is deciding which option is the best for you. Get it right and your trip will be a breeze, get it wrong and it could turn into an awful trip  you would want to forget!

We have done a research on the available options and have few tips for the international travelers.

1. Can you use your own cell phone when traveling?
2. Should you rent a cell phone?
3. Local SIM cards — the hidden costs!
4. Using hotel phones — doing it the old-fashioned way!
5. Using the Internet to get free calls!
6. Why all World Phones are not the same!

Now, let's discuss them in detail.

Option 1. Can you use your own cell phone when traveling?

Currently, it is estimated that over 70% of cell phones in the US are not capable of working abroad, so the chances are, you will be one of the 70% who need a second solution if you want to keep in touch while traveling. Only quad band phones work outside US.

Please check with your carrier if it provides an international service?
What are the call charges?
Will there also be a rental involved?
Does my cell phone handset use the right technology?

Option 2. Rent a cell phone?
Renting a cell phone for the brief period of your trip has traditionally been the popular option to
keep in contact.

You can buy your own international cell phone for the same price as between just one and two weeks' rental charges! For the rental you have to:

1. You contact a rental company to order your phone
2. You pay a deposit and rental charges for the period of your trip
3. You arrange for a collection day before you travel and sign for the delivery
4. While you use the phone on your trip, the charges for your calls are deducted from your credit card
5. You arrange to return your phone when you arrive back home

Please consider the following options before choosing a cell phone rental company.

The cost of cell phone rental.
Minimum rental period
Minimum daily call usage
Delivery charges
Charges for itemised invoices

Option 3. Using local SIM cards?

Get local call rates
They are expensive to buy
Get a local number
It can be expensive to buy the cell phone
Pre-pay for your calls
The SIMs will expire if unused

You may pay for calls you never use

You can get cut-off during conversations

You can get cut-off during conversations

Foreign-speaking customer support

You may think that local SIM cards offer a great deal due to the fact they offer local call charges, however, you must look into both the extra costs in setting yourself up with everything and the extra inconvenience it brings.

Option 4. Hotel and Public Phones?

Its a traditional approach and a only positive thing i can found is that you don't need to invest in a cell phone. However the main problems with using hotel and public phones are; you need to organize times to be contacted, You will have no idea how much calls will be costing you, You may have to go through a foreign operator. 

Although you may be tempted to just take a chance with hotel and public phones, the reality is that it could prove to be more expensive, and a lot more hassle, than investing in your own international cell phone!

Option 5 . Using the Internet for free calls?

My personal favorite, you can get free, unlimited calls to potentially any other computer with an internet
connection. You may need;

1. A computer/ mobile phone with Internet connection
2. A headset, or microphone and speaker
3. The correct software to be installed on the computer (the most popular is called Skype and can be downloaded for free)
4. The person you want to contact must have the same set-up

The problems you might face in this option: You need to pre-arrange times to call, You may not be able to find a computer with the correct set-up, The line quality can be poor.

Option 6. World phones?

World phone is an international cell phone that works in many countries using just one SIM card. Many companies are providing world phones with tempting plans, however you need to ensure that you choose the right company.

As you can see, there are a number of different options, and in reality, only you can decide which option is best for you.

Bon Voyage!

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