Ring A Ding: Cell Phones & Traveling Abroad

Most people are confused & intimidated
by traveling abroad with a cell phone.

I get it, 
it's a bit confusing 
and the cost of doing it wrong
can be extremely expensive.

Here's are you two basic options:

You can either work out an international plan 
with your US provider to use your phone in Europe,
or you can buy on here and get a local number.

I would recommend using an international plan 
for anyone traveling under 2 weeks
and who will be staying in hotels.

If you're planning on a longer stay
and having an apartment
(or place to stay without a concierge to make your reservations for you),
I'd recommend buying a cheap prepaid phone upon arrival.



You won't get a surprise phone bill of a gazillion dollars when you get home.
Roaming in Ravenna? Data-charges in Denmark?
It's the quickest way to bleed cash that I know of…
take it from me.

I had no clue I was "roaming" when I backpacked for 5 weeks in college.

A month later, a cell phone bill over $2000 appeared in my mail box.

Your incoming calls are free- even if they are international calls.
Have old mommy dear call your new phone on Skype and it's super cheap.

You can book things easier here with a local number. 
Cab companies and restaurants won't accept international (read: US) numbers for reservations.

They are cheap and easy to put credit on.
Walk into a earphone warehouse and buy one for about £5.
You can add as much credit on it as you like.
I would guess £10 a week would be plenty for local texts & calls.
You can top up at anytime from most grocery stores or newsagents.



You probably won't get to have data,
since most of the "pay-as-you-go" phones are super basic.
You'll have to get email and Facebook when you get back to your laptop.

Unless they are Skype savvy or your parents,
you probably won't get a lot of calls from your friends.
People get so confused with how to dial international numbers.

Your current US plan will go unused in the meantime
and will still cost your monthly fee.

* * *

How to Dial an UK Telephone Number

Let's say that this is the number you've been given.

+44 (0)7500 806 655

Here's how you would dial it 

07500 806 655

 Just drop the country code
and start with "0."


Here's how your mom would dial it 

011 44 7500 806 655


Here's how you would dial it 
(in or out of the UK):

+44 7500 806 655

(hold down the "0" to add the + sign at the beginning)


Welp, that's all I have to say on this subject.

Have a nice day.




*image via


  1. I love that you told everyone how to dial here to the UK. It seems so simple buy I seriously get asked this question all the time!! They just don't get it. Love this.

  2. Great tips Lauren.

    Since I moved abroad, I buy SIM free (or unlocked) cell phones. It's super cheap and easy to buy a SIM card to put in my iPhone when I'm traveling and because it's my iPhone, I can buy a pre-paid data plan as well which helps. I don't buy SIMs for our short weekend trips but when we're hanging out somewhere for longer periods of time, I do. I also buy one when I go home to Canada as I'm usually there for a month at a time and on the road a lot.

  3. It took me so long to figure out how to call my boyfriend when he was living in Greece or visiting his family in London. Glad this info's out there for those who need it. Thanks for sharing!

    I agree with Jay, SIM cards are what I did. Of course, I was lucky: My family travels to Greece a lot so my Dad just gave me his phone and all I had to do was buy a new card for it. but it's a great option!

  4. Thank you for sharing this! It really does seem much more complicated than it actually is. I remember reading through the international packages when we first traveled to London a couple of years back and it all seemed very confusing and expensive. I even called the phone company to clarify a few things and the extremely unhelpful representative gave me the following, "whatever it says on the website". It was not the answer I was hoping for.

  5. I still haven't worked that out, I switch mine off and only use the camera part.

  6. Such important information! I bought a pay-as-you-go and am using "3" - their SIM cards are 15 pounds w/ 300 minutes, 3000 texts, and unlimited data. Great deal, except you just have to switch your number every month. I think you can also use this deal & get only the SIM cards and put it in your smartphone if you have it unlocked with your provider!

  7. How did you know this was on my mind? Thank you ma'am!

  8. My husband and I both have iphones and we leave our New Zealand sim cards at home (NZ) & buy prepaid sim cards when we get to the country we are traveling too (usually Australia or USA). That way we can use our phones for calls within the country and data! It works well if your phones are not 'locked' to your phone provider in your home country (like many phones are in the USA).

  9. this is goood stuff to know, sista! i am going to bookmark this and pretend it's something i'm going to have to contend with at any point in the near future ;)

  10. i have wondered this soooo many times.

    so in order to have an iPhone abroad--it'd be better to bring along the one i have? even if i'm staying over two weeks?! but could be crazy pricey? bahhhhh.


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