Help with Travel Cell Phone Rental/Purchase

Hello all!

I will be in France and Italy at the beginning of August and was looking for an easy way to get a cell phone to use while I am there. I have Sprint here in the US, so just getting a new SIM card is out.

Does anyone have any recommendations on getting a cell phone that I can use while traveling in France and Italy? I am looking for something that gives me cheap/free texting, which will be the lion’s share of my communications, and decent rates on calls, which will likely only be used in emergency.

I will only be there for two weeks, so obviously anything with a contract is out of the question.


Try to get a cheap unlocked GSM phone here and buy SIMs when you get to Europe. I have SIMs for the countries I visit most often. Virgin Mobile in UK allows me to top up via the web so I do it here before I leave. You should be able to get an unlocked GSM phone on ebay. There are always people trying to get rid of old handsets.

Good call. I’ll check it out.

Check out

They sent me a free SIM card, and I pay by the call (my phone number is based out of England). Most rates run about $3 per minute, but for infrequent calls, like booking restaurants and finding hotels, it’s perfect for me. No fees of any kind, except for the minute-by-minute rates (and it works in 175 countries!).

I bought a motorola RAZR unlocked GSM phone for about $85 on eBay, so my costs are minimal . . .


Since I take my laptop or netbook with me, I like to use skype, and it’s about 10 cents per minute from Europe. Of course you got to have wifi.