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4 replies
Cell phone in Europe/Russia
iamthejake2000
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Hello all; my girlfriend and I leave on June 5 from the USA for our grand adventure… We fly into Oslo and plan to hitchhike to Russia after spending a month or so camping in Norway. Then we plan to stay in Russia until the colder months at which point we hope to hitch to southern Italy and spend the winter WWOOFing or doing something similar.

We have a Straight Talk pay-as-you-go phone with no SIM card, and are wondering what our options are. We’d like to have a phone that people of every country we’ll visit can call us on, and one with which we can call home once in a while. Is there a phone we can get in Oslo that will meet our needs? We have no needs other than calling and maybe texting, so the cheapest possible option is what we’re after.

Thanks in advance.

oldlady
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Here are a couple of old threads that might be useful…

http://www.eurotrip….

http://www.eurotrip….

How are you dealing with the Schengen and Russian visa issues for a long, plan-as-you-go trip?

Don
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I agree with oldlady— you need to sort out your entry requirements, else phone is a moot point. Assuming you work it out… then there’s a few routes you could go:

  • Take a wifi device and use skype for calls and texts, or …
  • Ditch the idea of schlepping technology and charging cords and plug adapters, and just go with phone card(s) bought when you need one. Or …
  • Get in advance, or buy there, an unlocked GSM phone. It needs to be quad-band or at least work on European GSM frequencies. Once there, you buy a cheap SIM “start-pack” for maybe 5-10 Euros which usually includes some call credit. When you cross a border, however, you will use up the prepaid credit very rapidly as you will be on roaming rates.
As an alternative, you can get a Lyca US SIM and activate it in the US; it will supposedly roam in most of Europe for about 46 Euro cents per minute; that’s about the best you’ll find for any SIM in Europe that roams to another country. Minutes are much cheaper if you buy a SIM in each country at the smallest possible amount.
iamthejake2000
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Hey, thanks for the replies. We don’t plan on overstaying our 90 days in the Schengen zone or reentering until we’re allowed to, and we already got three-year tourist visas for Russia which allow us to stay for 180 days at a time. After that we plan on staying in Ukraine for a bit which isn’t in the Schengen Zone, nor does it require a visa for Americans.

Yesterday we bought an unlocked quad-band phone which, a t the moment, has no SIM card. We plan to get a new SIM card whenever we cross a border and will need one for a while. This should work, right?

Don
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It should work. You’ll need a plug adapter to fit local power outlets. REI has them. So does Target. If the phone has wifi then you could also dl the free skype app as a back-up.

To test the phone and be sure, check out getting a SIM such as Lyca USA. You can order them for free, and add the minimum amount of credit just to see if it works. In fact… this might be a good back-up or emergency phone for you in the States since Lyca rates are 2c/min for calls. In the US they’re on T-mobile’s network.