best phone option for tourist in US

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A friend of mine is traveling to US for 10 days. What is the best option for a phone service ? I was thinking about phone cards, but he can use them from hotel phones, payphones - but the access charges are high. Would you suggest a tracfone type of service ?
His phone calls would be within the country informing hotels if would be late coming in, only for emergency use.

Would appreciate any suggestion.

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Where have all the payphones gone?
Long time passin'

Some hotels give you free local and 800 calls these days - your friend should probably check the policy at the hotels he/she is staying at.

A cheap tracfone is a good option. All the info you need can be found here

If you have an unlocked world phone from overseas, I like the simplemobile prepaid plans (T-Mobile network). Similar to tracfone.


Tmobile prepaid - 100 dollar phone card and its 10 cents a minute.

T mobile prepaid, you can use your own phone. If they need data plan then the WalMart $30 100 mins plan would work best, if the phone usage is for emergency purpose only

Prepaid SIM is a good option, especially if no data is needed. My visitors usually use their unlocked phone and use the SIM I provide from T-Mobile. I load $100 and choose pay-as-you-go plan. Minutes last for a year and if I want to keep the simcard and phone number active, I load $10 every year). If I don't want to keep the simcard, I drain the funds by texting to charities until less than $5 then just let it expire.

I use this website to purchase calling card for use from the US to Europe and have had no issues. Calls to Ireland have a connection fee of 18C after a minute and 4.7c a minute after that.

They e-mail you the card information within minutes.

I'd suggest an inexpensive multi-sim unlocked phone like an IceMobile Rock Mini or MX-12, and a Red Pocket SIM. The $13.99 plan (no taxes or fees) which would give your friend AT&T service wherever they go and unlimited talk and text for 7 days. They'd also have a local US phone number so you can contact them while they're here.

If they want, when they're ready to return home, they can also take the phone back to the country they're from and use it there with a local SIM card.

The answer is very much dependent upon where you friend will be using the phone in the USA. For example, in New York City some carriers have better coverage than others. If they are headed for the desert or the mountains, there might not even be coverage from some (or all) vendors.

More information is needed.....

skibum43 said:   A cheap tracfone is a good option. All the info you need can be found here

Agreed. It's all my father in law uses. He just doesn't need a cell phone.

Only concern would be to check the coverage map and make sure it's good for him. It's a bit limited...but tends to be good in most major cities.

I believe that Straight Talk dot com will have ur best options. The only key is you need to order it online and have it shipped to you. They usually have free new or reconditioned phones if u buy a month of service with it for $45 or $30 sometimes with free shipping too. You get the phone and service pretty cheap I think. He can order the phone now to ur home and u can activate it when he arrives or a few days before. Good luck

T-Mobile prepaid has a $2/day plan that includes unlimited minutes/text/2G data.
So if there is already a compilable phone, they just need the SIM and a $20 card.

Skype is the best option. My sister recently went to Europe and called me all the time from her iPhone using Skype and the hotel's free wifi. It cost about 2 cents per minute when she called my home line and it was free when she called my Android phone that has Skype running. The call quality was excellent btw.

Firstly you need to unlock your GSM phone. Most phones sold in the U.S. are locked though. So you must do it. As an alternative, you can just buy a cheap prepaid phone in the U.S. for about $20-$50 to get you started (which includes a SIM). If not, you’ll need a U.S. prepaid SIM to put into your phone.

Once you get the SIM, you could activate it online at

Get a quad band, unlocked GSM phone. Chances are your friend already has one. Then pop in one of the cheap SIM cards already suggested here.

Cheapest option: 99 cent Tmobile activation card to use with your own existing unlocked GSM phone. Comes with 10 minutes of voice for 30 days or something. You can easily buy more time if you need it, but if you have preexisting thoughts that you need a lot more time, then you'd probably be better off buying a prepaid phone with the minutes included at wally world or such.

Prepaid SIM cards are the best option for the global tourist who prefer traveling to different parts of the world for the purpose of vacations. Although there are many calling options from foreign countries, but using any other option would be very heavy on your pockets.

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