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Travel Tips

Will your cell phone work in Europe?  Should you take it along?  Read our article to understand issues beyond basic compatibility.


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Travel Advice/Travel Tips -  Cell Phone for Your Trip to Europe?

Mobile phones that are dual or tri- band and designed to work on the GSM protocol can be used in both the U.S. and Europe.

  • If you do not own a dual or tri- band phone but would like to have a portable phone to use in Europe, several companies will rent you a phone provisioned for use in Europe.
  • If you will be driving a rental car while in Europe, see if the rental company can provide a  cell phone, as many car companies will be pleased to provide this service.

If you have a tri-band band phone and want to take it on your trip, call your carrier to arrange service.

  • The phone must be provisioned to work on the GSM radio wave band that is being used in the region that you are visiting. 
    • Check the User Manual that came with you phone, or contact your carrier to determine whether your phone is capable of international use.
  •  You must have an agreement with your carrier that binds you to accept the cost of calls in Europe or other areas included in your travel plans.  
    • The agreement must be in force before you depart.         

Next, you must decide whether you want to receive incoming calls when you are in Europe.

  • If you do not want to accept incoming calls, before you depart on your trip you will have to notify your carrier who will likely charge you a monthly fee for this service.


    If your phone is equipped for messaging (known as SMS  - Short Message Service) you may be surprised to find that you may be spammed with messages from the local phone carrier where your plane lands, through messages offering travel related services.

    • If you send  a text message, your carrier will charge you a messaging fee.

    If you have an Internet capable phone or one which you use to receive email, note that the data costs in Europe can be astronomical. For instance, many of our team who travel with iPhones, either do not take them to Europe or use them only when they can access data through a Wi-Fi, connection, (To solve this problem., we usually buy a cheap phone in Europe and use it for any call that we need to make.  Having this new phone number, also means that we do not receive calls from anyone who has not been given the number.

    We explore other options for calling home in Calling the U.S. while traveling abroad.

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