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Haha 30 posts and the answer seems to be: Buy a SIM card and fill it with the minutes you want for your visit and then throw it away. There are many many vendors and just make sure you are not signing onto some kind of plan where you will be automatically charged every month. All the SIM cards will need activation and a purchase of minutes.

 

As for using GV or SKYPE --- if I am at my computer, I can just use email or chat.

 

Does this about cover it, or did I miss something vital?

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Eleanor, as usual you cut through all the hyperbole and nailed it.

  • Buy a new SIM (or phone) every time, unless you go often enough to keep a number active
  • Use a Skype number (if you want calls forwarded to your phone), Google Voice if you don't.

[Note: benefit of Google Voice and Skype is they let you give your (non-computer literate) friends a phone number to call. ]

Edited by CMinCR

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Eleanor, as usual you cut through all the hyperbole and nailed it.

  • Buy a new SIM (or phone) every time, unless you go often enough to keep a number active
  • Use a Skype number (if you want calls forwarded to your phone), Google Voice if you don't.

[Note: benefit of Google Voice and Skype is they let you give your (non-computer literate) friends a phone number to call. ]

If visiting the US (which is the focus of this thread) you can use GV to forward your calls to your US cellphone.

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Dude -- I don't have a US cellphone. That's the whole point of this discussion. How to get a simple SIM card for use in the US while visiting there.

 

GV is fine and I'm glad that it works for you -- but I can also contact people by email since I always take my netbook with me when I travel.

 

The last time I visited, I had no cell phone and my son doesn't have a landline. So he let me know by email when he was leaving work and I contacted him by email if I had a question. For emergencies, I had my phone and could call 911 without a local SIM card (I think.......) but couldn't call him if I got in trouble somewhere. (No, not that kind of trouble...)

 

This worked OK for that particular visit and now I am starting to wonder if I really need to pay $20 or $30 for a month's worth of minutes that I might or might not use. Ordering food to be delivered? Online. GPS capability? Paper map. Contact my son in case of emergency? I have a card with his cell phone number on it in my wallet. I am not very social and don't know other people who I would just call and chat with.

 

What have I missed that I could actually use a cell phone for?

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I'm with you, Eleanor! I don't talk on the phone that much. In fact, the constant calls from my hubby irritate me. So I don't really care if I lose my long time number. When I leave the house and have forgotten my cell phone, I don't panic or fret. I actually like the fact that I have forgotten it because then nobody can interrupt me with their calls. As I always tell my hubby, I got along fine growing up without a cell phone because they weren't invented yet. And on a related topic, remember when people would call your house and you had to actually answer the phone to see who was calling? That's another thing I do. I screen calls. There was a time pre cell phone when I didn't even bother to have a phone. Ooh, what if there is an emergency? Really? How many times in your life have you had an emergency when you couldn't get by without a phone? If I fell on the floor now and couldn't move the 2 phones in our house wouldn't help 'cause I'm not near either one. I don't keep my cell phone attached to my body! Sorry for going on and on. I felt like getting this out of my system! :unsure:

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Right now, my cellphone is used mainly as a watch. I keep it beside my bed to see what time it is in the middle of the night. (Not sure why I care.....) I take it with me when I am driving somewhere so I will know what time it is and am I late or early. (I can also use it to call my mechanic if my car should have a problem.) I don't even know the number and have to look it up every time someone asks.

 

So probably the answer for me is: No, I don't need to buy a SIM card for my phone when I travel to the US.

 

But this has been a valuable discussion for those who do use their phones a lot and would really miss not having one.

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STW & Eleanor,

 

I'm with both of you in not wanting to be tied 24/7 to a cellphone or other electronic communications device. I do have a 'land-line' phone at home and use it accordingly.

 

I was a holdout against having a cell phone for a long time, but being in Costa Rica finally turned the tables on that. I found that in CR a cellphone made for a useful tool for alerting people to the fact I was stuck in traffic and would be late arriving somewhere; or that I was not able to find the place -like a restaurant- where I was to meet someone; and useful also to be able to call a taxi to come pick me up after finishing shopping somewhere instead of always relying on a clerk, etc., where I had been shopping to call a taxi to come for me. Or of course for use in an emergency.

 

I carry the cellphone with me in Florida when I go off somewhere in my car in case of an accident but I never have it turned on -either in the car with me or at home. In fact I prolly could get along without it, and only have it as a sort of an insurance policy, useful for example to summon help in case my car should break down somewhere in the middle of nowhere.

 

So while I seldom use mine in Florida, it's comfortable to have. I do use it lots more when I'm in CR.

 

Regards,

 

Paul M.

==

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I guess I'm at the point of just dealing with whatever might happen if I don't have a cell phone. Just like seaturtlewoman, I lived a long time without a cell phone and can get along without it now for a few weeks, at least.

 

If I am driving in the US and have a problem, I will just have to borrow someone's phone or use a pay phone (if there are any such things any more). Just deal with it, I guess.

 

Of course, it is nice to just call a friendly person if you have problems and know that someone will come straightaway to get you!

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As with Paul, I value a cell phone when needing to alert folk (or get directions) whether here or in the U.S.

 

Ergo, as Eleanor pointed out, the point of the thread was to see what cheap cell phone options there were for occasional U.S. visits. Ain't none without paying monthly.

 

Horse... dead... stop the beating! :D

Edited by CMinCR

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i'M like Eleanor, we take the cell with us when we drive for emergencies. Same as in the US. Never really needed one there, hardly use one here.

 

As for pay phones, they are actually getting hard to find in the US now. The phone companies have removed so many, except where they have been mandated by a city or state to have one.

 

But Colin, there is the Tracfone option to a monthly plan, you just buy a cheap phone, buy an Airtime card, scratch off the silver and punch in the numbers into your phone, and you have xx number of minutes. No plan. Pretty easy. Use phone as a watch when you return to CR.

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Dana, thanks for the confirmation. The monthly Tracphone plan is what I've used on occasion. After buying the phone and monthly plan for the couple week's I'm there, I'd need to pay monthly (duh...) for the 5-6 months I'm not there until the next time I need it... That's what I was trying to avoid.

 

Still looks like there is no option for (let's say 2 weeks every 4-5 month) to have a phone that only makes a dozen calls or so.

Edited by CMinCR

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Once more putting the stick to that poor horse:

 

http://www.amazon.com/AT-GoPhone-Card-Contract-Required/dp/B00J2W3RQ6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1414154587&sr=8-2&keywords=SIM+card+for+cell+phone

 

"....With the AT&T GoPhone Sim Card you can activate a phone you already have. With this convenient AT&T Sim Card option you can pay by the day, month or even by minutes. Useful for international travelers visiting the United States, this AT&T Phone Sim Card can serve as a replacement SIM card. The AT&T GoPhone Sim Card does not require a contract or a deposit. Ensure you have a working phone when you travel by using this AT&T Phone Sim Card...."

 

So.. buy this SIM card from Amazon, have it shipped to your family or wherever you will be staying. Once you are there, go online and activate the card in whatever way you need to use it.

 

Done.

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That's the AT&T card I used last month and just swap the SIMs. Great for international travelers... if you visit regularly.

 

What it doesn't say is that no matter whether you chose days, months, or minutes the service still expires at the end of the month (with a couple months in which to renew). Next visit (in 4 months) it won't work and can't renew so I must buy a new one.

 

I'll give that poor horse a rest...

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OK - but with the card priced at $3.50 -- that's about all you "lose" by having to buy a new one. Yeah, your time, I know....

 

That horse must be hamburger by now..... poor thing.

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Yep, only $3.50 for the card (plus shipping and/or tax depending) but then you need to add minutes. By the time you're done it is $20-25 invested... and the card is of no use after the time expires... You need to buy a new one next time...

 

I'll bet that horse is tender though... (did I really say that?)

Edited by CMinCR

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