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Verizon phone.....Traveling to Austria...What do I need to do?

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On 2 weeks my daughter will.be traveling to Austria for Special Olympics World Games. She will be gone for 13 days.

 

I need to know how to get the best deal for her to use her phone in Austria. Do airports in Europe have free wifi? I don't think the dorms they are staying in will have free wifi.

 

I would.like her to be able to call and text or use facebook messenger..But we don't need both. She would like to be able to use internet but if that is $$$ then it isn't a big deal.

 

I just don't want to be hit with a huge bill.

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I'm sure you can look up the particular airport and see if it has free wifi.

 

When I used to travel to London from Hong Kong, I would arrange to pick up a UK phone at the airport - they had various deals for tourists that made much more sense than using our overseas phones.  You might find that there is a similar business at the airport your daughter is going to.

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When we're were in Ireland, we used our Verizon phones for ten dollars every 24 hour period. Not a great deal, but we only used it when absolutely necessary. You have to set it up that way on the Verizon website.

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Can she put in a new SIM card when she gets there?  Some US phones work in Europe and some don't.  For example, if you have an iPhone SE, it will work in Europe.  You can simply buy a SIM card for a pay-as-you-go plan, and use that.  Here's some info about pay as you go plans for tourists in Austria.

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I was just looking Aust that for my upcoming trip (with a different cell carrier and to a different European country, but still!) And it looks like most carriers have accommodations for travel. It's has a two week deal that I am going to try. A flat fee covers voice and texts. Data is a separate charge for a small amount, although my plan had some options for "No overages" which I assume means they will just cut off whatever webpage I'm trying to load?

 

So I suggest checking your Verizon account page.

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In most of the world, WhatsApp is hugely popular. If your DD has access to WiFi, you can talk with her, free.  Caveat: With messaging, there can be a long delay until the recipient receives the message. I think Facebook paid USD $20 million or $20 billion to buy WhatsApp?  (Note: I think sometimes I think I have WiFi but I am connected to a Printer and my WhatsApp message doesn't go out. As soon as I get home, my wife gets the message I sent to her, an hour or so before. My guess is that's because the WiFi wasn't sufficient.   That happened when I was in the Dentist's office Friday morning and I sent her a WhatsApp message that I'd arrived there.  She got the message, when I got home...

 

https://www.whatsapp.com/

 

She can install WhatsApp on her Smart phone and/or a tablet.

 

For her GSM phone to work in Austria, it will need to be UNLOCKED and it will need to have the GSM bands that are used in Austria.  

 

If the information on the below URL is correct, it shows you which GSM bands are used in Austria:

 

http://www.gsmarena.com/network-bands.php3?sCountry=AUSTRIA

 

So, assuming that her phone is unlocked, and, assuming that her phone has the capability to operate on the GSM bands in use in Austria, my guess is that she can buy a Prepaid SIM card just about anywhere (Grocery stores, Super stores, etc.) where cell phones are sold. Here in Colombia, phones and SIM cards are sold in the supermarkets we shop in, etc.  

 

Question: Do you have a magicJack?  She can take that with her and a tiny phone and if she has good WiFi, she can call you (and just about any U.S. phone number) for free.  Better yet, she can install the magicApp I think it is called, on her phone and/or tablet and she can call you with that and you can call her.  Only use it if you have WiFi because magicJack says it's a data pig.  If you do not have a magicJack, I think you can get the magicJack app and use it, free, but you do not have a regular phone number, so people calling her would need to use a sequence of numbers, but it's free and the quality is typically outstanding.  

 

GL to your DD in the competition!

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call verizon - they can tell you have to turn it on so you have service.  it really isn't that expensive. 

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call verizon - they can tell you have to turn it on so you have service.  it really isn't that expensive. 

 

I agree calling Verizon would be best. I went to Austria this summer and when I called, they they had 2 programs I could choose from. One was to turn my data on for 24 hours (I think about $10/24 hour period) and the other allowed you to use whatever data plan you're on for the month in Europe, but was a little more expensive. I tried to use the first one a couple of times, but had limited success. One time I wasn't able to use my data at all, but was still charged for it. Lanny is right, though, it depends on what kind of phone you have as to whether it would work there or not, so be sure to check before she goes.

 

The airports, train stations, and hotels I stayed at in London, Vienna, and Salzburg all had free unsecured wifi.

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I asked Verizon about this last summer as DD spent 5 weeks in the Czech Republic.

You could turn on the phone for $10 per 24 hour period, BUT, they were not sure that the family plan data limiting function would work with that.  Since DD can run up data charges like crazy, we did not go with that.  She had a school plan phone assigned to her for in country use, and we kept in touch on Facebook.  I went into the Family Plan and turned off her phone service for the 5 week period, turned it back on while she was in the air coming back.  Family Plan costs $60/year, and lets you limit data usage per phone.

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It depends if most of her calls/texts will be to you or to people in Austria (others she is travelling with or hosts). Verizon has a $40 add on for travel outside the US with a certain number of call minutes and texts plus a tiny bit of data. There is a $20 option where you pay a bit per call min or text. Go n the Verizon website to get the specifics or add either plan to her phone. She can call or text anywhere with those but can be pricey unless she uses it only for emergencies.

 

If she will mostly need to talk to people in Austria and/or wants more data and has an iPhone or other unlocked phone, she can purchase a SIM card at any phone store in Austria very inexpensively and they will set the phone up for her. She can communicate with you via messenger or email and use phone/text to talk to people in Austria. This is the best way we've found to use our phones in Ireland.

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I will.check with Verizon. She has special needs and will.be traveling with her Special Olympics team so stopping to switch SIM cards, set up something else just won't happen. Also, it would be just to call/text us in the US as there will always be a coach with her for emergencies in the country.

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After 10+ years with one provider of service where they sent us a bill each month and every year they increased the cost of our monthly service and gave us more minutes we did not use, we cancelled and began using "Prepago" (Prepaid) service. We are saving a ton of money, since we began that in 2008...  We are now with Virgin Mobile Colombia.  For my non plan plan, which includes 100 minutes of calls, it says "Incluyen llamadas a fijos y móviles en USA, Canadá y fijos en España."  which translated into English means that I can call Landline and Cell phones in the USA and Canada and I can call landline phones in Spain.

 

SUGGESTION: Assuming you send your DD with an unlocked GSM phone that will work on the GSM bands they use in Austria, if it were me, I would look at the different operators they have Prepaid SIMS for and if they have T-Mobile or Virgin Mobile or some other company that also provides service in the USA, it could be that they will include calls to the USA. If so, that's the route I would take.  

 

NOTE: I would also, if it is an Android phone, have the Gmail App set up to use a Gmail account and you can exchange email,  which I suspect may be faster and/or more reliable than a paid SMS Text message.     I'd use that, and when WiFi is available, WhatsApp and or the magicJack App.  http://www.magicjack.com/magicApp.html

If you don't have a magicJack, I think you can use magicApp free, but if you pay them $9.99 for a year, as you can see, it's much better. You get a U.S. phone number, you can send unlimited SMS messages to U.S. cell phone numbers, etc.  Again, don't use magicApp if you are using Data, because they say it is a data pig.

 

WARNING:  She is going to need a different charger there. The possibility they will have electrical service and plugs like those in the USA is almost non-existent.

She will need to buy another charger there.

 

ETA: I just read the page about the magicApp again.  Now, I think you would also have to pay them  for making International calls. You would need to read the Fine Print...  We have a magicJack phone in our house, so I think I can install the magicApp on my Android phone and use the same phone number, free, but       if you do not have a magicJack, you need to read the Fine Print.

Edited by Lanny

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