In the weeks approaching my trip to Italy last month (Venice, Florence, Rome), I started receiving daily naggings from the wife. “Did you look into activating international calling on the cell phones yet?” My answer was usually “no”, but eventually I succumbed and researched my options for the upcoming trip.
I should have listened to her the first time she asked… I was shocked when I started seeing the cost of he international plans. Not only did I have to pay to upgrade my plan for one billing period, but there was not a single “unlimited” option for either calling, texting or roaming. If I was going to make calls, check emails or access the internet via the 3G Network I’d be paying an increased plan rate and then still have to pay a fee per call or MB of data used.
Sorry Charlie, that wasn’t happening.
Abandoning the phone for a week wasn’t an option. I had two kids staying with relatives that I needed instant access to and I also wanted to keep in touch with this site as well as post a “live” Facebook photo blog. Since adding the international features to the calling plan was not in the cards for me, I started researching my options.
It didn’t take very long to find the solution… iPhonetrip.com
With iPhoneTrip, you lease their data roaming services, so it is one flat fee based on the plan you select and not a single per-data cost after that. They mailed me a sim card, I popped it in my iPhone on the day I started the trip, and that was it… a seamless transition.
By the name of the service, iPhoneTrip, I know what you are thinking… this is only for current iPhone users. Well, you are both right and very wrong. Yes, the service is exclusive for iPhones, but if you don’t have one, iPhoneTrip will send you one with the sim card already installed. They already have the new iPhone 4G as well as the iPad available for lease along with the standard 3G and 3Gs phones. When purchasing their service online, just choose whether you want just the sim card or what kind of iPhone you want to use. The phone they provide already comes loaded with the most useful travel apps so you so much more than just a device for calling and checking the internet. You can add any apps you’d like as well, but if they are paid apps, you’re footing the bill.
Signing up for the service is easy. Tell them where you are going and on which dates and whether you want just the card or the full-deal. There are three levels of service you can choose from: standard, premium or business. Take a look at what each offers and select the best plan for you. Unlimited calling and text messaging is not included in any plan, they are still on the pay-per-use basis. That is easily overcome by using a VoIp service such as Skype for your calling and texting needs. Skype-to-skype calls and texts are free and you can still call landlines and other mobile numbers through Skype for fractions of a penny.
If I had used the AT&T international data plan, my bill would have been an abomination. I used plenty of apps that ate up tons of data such as maps/GPS locators, Italian translators and I posted a live photo blog on my Facebook account throughout my entire trip. With iPhoneTrip.com I knew what I was paying and paid it up front, so there were no “surprises” after the trip or worrying about how much data I was using during.
I can’t recommend iPhoneTrip.com enough. Their services will greatly enhance your travel experience while eliminating one of the biggest worries at the same time.