If you are traveling anytime soon, you will probably be taking a cell phone but before you do this, make sure you have the right equipment. The best way to make calls while abroad is with a cell phone equipped with a locally purchased SIM card upon your arrival. The card is relatively cheap and will save you the cost of racking up international roaming charges.
To take your phone and use it in other countries it needs to work in there GSM Band. Unfortunately the phone companies in the US don't want you to have these phones without paying them first. They want you to buy into their multi year contracts and waste your money on features you don't want at prices you can't afford. For the seasoned traveler, an unlocked phone is essential. It's initial cost is more than if you were to get a phone with a contract, but you will save money in the end.
The next important feature is WiFi connectivity on your phone. With WiFi you can do all of the simple web things you need to do as long as you have a wireless signal. Having traveled around with my WiFi phone, it is amazing the random places you can find signals. Bars, restaurants and even public parks usually have some form of WiFi. As well with WiFi phones, you can hook up with a program like Gizmo or Skype and make calls over the internet for only pennies per minute. This is a huge time and money saver while traveling.
Here are four phones available now that you can take with you while traveling abroad.
Nokia 5800 XpressMusic. This phone is a quad band touch phone and it will work in any country you go to. It has a sweet touch screen and does the multi media functions of the iPhone including app's. It has been my experience that Nokia is the top of the line in durability. They feel solid and are able to be thrown around.
The only downside with a touch screen phone that ISN'T an iPhone is that die hard iPhone users will make fun of you for not REALLY having an iPhone. You poser.
If you're on the fence about an iPhone than consider this: if you have a phone like the 5800 with all of the same functions as an iPhone and set it next to an iPhone in view of a thief, which one is he going to take? That's right, probably both. But if he only had time to grab one, it would be the iPhone, because of its international status and cool image. Get it?
Nokia E71 This unlocked phone is for the people who prefer the qwerty keyboard and a more professional look. This is also a quad band with WiFi connectivity. At only $240 it still is a bargain. What's also impressive is the long battery life and again you will find the durability of Nokia to be outstanding. One super cool feature is the infrared you can use for things like a universal TV remote. Pretty useful for when you don't feel like getting the remote yourself, you lazy bum.
Personally, I have been using an E-Series phone for a couple years and it works like a dream. I can hook it up with my POP3 email as well as sync it with my Mac.
Who knew that could sound so sexy?
It seems like every phone has App's these days. The E-Series has one called World Mate which can check currency conversions, local weather forecast and flight schedules.
And of course the phone comes with a metric converters for time, mass, temperatures and more. Because of all the features and menu items there is a learning curve before it becomes second nature. I guess that means you won't be bored on the plane.
Nokia N97 With the Nokia N97 we have the most important functions that you will use while on the road. Quad band, WiFi, music player and the phone rocks the 5 megapixel camera. The cell phone con camera is an OK feature, but we don't put too much emphasis on it.
Our rule: if it's worth taking a picture of, than use a real camera. But, if you enjoy being "that guy" with the cell phone camera, than this phone is a great choice. It's also speedy so by the time she's done laughing, you will have taken several snaps with crisp 5 megapixel quality.
This phone also has 32Gb of internal memory which is perfect for the DVD quality video recording that the N97 is capable of. That's right, if the still photo of you getting shot down by that Italian waitress wasn't clear enough, then capture it on a DVD quality camcorder. By this point you might as well put on the Bluetooth headset and call it a day.
The Nokia N97 has a lot of cool features but they come with a price of about $500. Just don't forget it on the train.
Pharos Traveler 619 If you feel daring, then give Pharos a try. This phone has all of the key features that a traveler will need as well as a larger keyboard for those big ol' burger eating fingers. Because of the large keyboard the most notable downside is its size.
Although for the price of only $200 it has a lot of functions. Quad band, WiFi, 2.8” touch screen and a battery with a 4 hour talk time. If your a fan of Windows the Traveler 619 runs the gamut of Windows programs: Word, Power point, Excel, Outlook, and the rest of the windows family come already installed.
The general reviews online of this device has been mixed, so give it a try if you are feeling lucky.
This list is by no means exclusive. Also, I am not paid for these reviews nor have I been offered any freebies for them... yet (HINT!) These are just a few phones available on Amazon that I feel are going to be most beneficial to today's travelers abroad.
Whatever phone you decide to use, make sure it handles the correct GSM bands for the country you are going to, or to be safe get a quad band with 3G. As well, WiFi connectivity on your unlocked cell phone is going to provide the most convenience for those people who often check their emails(and Travel Droppings for updates) Just don't expect to type that 500 word email in a timely manner.
"Dear Mommy, Today I..."
The world is too amazing not to share.
Gifts ideas for travelers
Burger vs Burger
Save money on travel gear
Workflow for a photog-blogger
Tips for taking self portraits
Memory Card advice
Kindle vs iPad for Travel
Indie Travel Docs
Uglify Your computer
How to travel by sea
Be cool While Traveling
Trans continental travel by sea
Easy ways to save money
Gap year in the US
Cell phones for traveling
National Day around the world
Lessons Learned: Australia
FYI: riding the Ghan
The worst hostel inn Freo
My 5 months working in Outback Australia
A Review of Australian hostels
Pickup Lines and Compliments:
Afrikaans, Tagalog, Spanish, Romanian, Indonesian