The International Travel Q&A Thread! [Ireland]

While I expect a lot of the answers to be opinion, I’m posting here since I’m hoping for “informed” opinions. :slight_smile:

I’m travelling to Ireland in few weeks from the USA.

Topic 1
My current cell provider is AT&T. They wish to sell me an international 30-day plan

for prices ranging from $40 to $120. It offers free texting, limited non-talking cell usage (i.e. internet & email etc.)

A military buddy of mine says to look into buying a temporary sim chip to place in my phone and forget about using the AT&T packages.

My basic wants are texting, voice usage planned for emergency use only, internet.

Who has experience with these two methods and can tell me what to expect with either one.

Topic 2
Regarding cell charging, etc.
I have a few adapters. I don’t have any converters.
As far as I know all of my electrical appliances that I’m bringing are 120/220. In your experience, how hard is it to get along without an electrical converter?

Since the OP is looking for advice, let’s move this to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

I can’t help you with topic 1, but can’t wait to learn about it.

Topic 2: I’ve never had to use anything other than a plug adapter that adapts my Yankee plug to the host country’s plug (shape). In many cases, there are USA, 3-prong, NEMA 5-15 receptacles available in the hotels. Most chargers are dual-voltage and that should be noted on the charger’s label.

If you can get internet via WiFi while there, and I expect that many places will have free WiFi, you can use Skype or something similar for calls. It’s free if you make Skype-to-Skype calls.

Whenever I go to Ireland I just go to one of the mobile stores and get a new SIM, pay for the month for texts, voice and data. I think I normally pay around 30 Euro for a month. Not sure how much data I get, but I never used it all. A lot of places have free WiFi. Do make sure your phone will work in Europe though before you go.

If you’re staying in hotels/B&Bs they most likely have a 110 shaving plug in the bathroom. I usually have one converter, but I also just plug in my phone that way. They might not be really tight all the time so might not work that well, but usually it works for me.

To use your phone overseas, there are three major options, the first two being the best.

Option 1: if you have an unlocked phone, buy a pay-as-you-go SIM card when you arrive there. There are all sorts of plans – voice, no voice; lots of data, no data; etc. Going to any cell phone store will give you many options. If you’re going for a week, my guess is that you’d probably pay $20-30 for a pretty good plan.

Note that your phone MUST be unlocked to do this. That means either you bought your phone outright (paying full price, none of this “pay only $200 for an iPhone and a two year contact!” deal); or you have had your phone longer than the two year contract. In either case, call AT&T and ask for the phone to be unlocked.

Option 2: buy the AT&T plan and it won’t matter if the phone is locked or not. But it is more expensive than option 1.

Option 3: rent/buy a cheap phone when you get there. I’ve never done this, but I’m guessing that its probably not worth it if you aren’t going for a long time.

Crud. The decision on the phone is easy then. As I purchased it through AT&T.
Thanks for the clarification.

AT&T will unlock your phone even if you have not had it for the full two years. I think it is 6 months. iPhones may be a little different. It does not hurt to call and ask.

Apart from the unlocking problem, the main drawback to buying a local pay-as-you-go sim card is that you will then have an entirely new Irish phone number, and none of your contacts will be able to call you unless you tell them what it is. I don’t know whether it might be possible to get your US provider automatically to forward calls to you US number on to your Irish number but, even if that can be done, no doubt they will charge you handsomely for it, and the cost advantage of the local sim card may disappear.

Good point, UDS. I’m only gone for 10 days. I went ahead and went the AT&T International Roaming route. It’ll work out good enough, I’m sure.

What are you guys’ preference for a photo sharing site?
Amazon Prime has free unlimited photo storage right now.
I’ve used Google in the past; but not in a while.

Here are the things that I have to consider:
My phone is an android
My wife’s phone is iPhone.
Ideally we’d like to share to the same location.
We want to be able to email out a link to friends and family to see this ‘album’

You really don’t even need the AT&T roaming plan. If you don’t want to use roaming data or international calling, put your phone in airplane mode and then just turn on WIFI. Then, you can use wifi wherever that is available. My family stayed in Spain for two weeks and used no data or calling, but we were able to use the internet. We also were able to text using Whats App and Google Voice over wifi.

I’ve done options 1 & 3.
#1 is fairly simple. It involves unlocking your phone (if it’s not already unlocked) and then just popping in a new sim card. It’s also your phone - you already know how it works and all of your stuff is there. It’s very cheap.
#3 was also very cheap - but I had to figure out a whole new phone (which was in a language that I didn’t speak). So it was a pleasant surprise every time it worked successfully. There were times I could tell the phone was trying to send me some kind of information, but I couldn’t tell you for the life of me what it was.

For both, you’ll have a new phone number which will make it very easy for people in the country to call you, but will make it more difficult for people back home to do so.

As a follow-up, I am not usually interested in receiving calls or texts (for the most part) when I am vacationing, especially overseas. I provide my Google Voice number to a few people I want to keep in touch with, and am able to text back and forth via wifi. Same goes for Whats App, but only to other Whats App users. I have incurred no roaming charges the last several vacations in Europe or the Caribbean by using wifi only.

One thing to consider, when I was in the UK this year, is that no place had easy to access to wifi. It all required registration, there was no getting a simple password at the pub/restaurant/coffee house. Not sure if Ireland is the same.

Ireland isn’t great for wifi, no.