Being out of touch and unobtainable has always been, for me, one of the greatest perks of travel: no phones, no faxes, no e-mail, no voice mail, and no mail at all. The whole point of leaving was to escape that stuff, to be out of touch for a while.
But, as a self-confessed gadget-girl, when I am on the road, there is another part of me that misses my electronic toys.
So, I've managed to balance these two sides of myself - the self that treasures inaccessibility in a totally too accessible world, and the self who loves her ipod, mobile phone, digital camera, etc. - in a way that still manages to feel fun and free.
As a professional wanderer, I love to travel. My husband Hank, not as much. Traveling alone is great. Making connections with local people and other travelers seems to happen much easier as a woman alone, than it does when I am half of a couple.
That said, I love sharing my experiences and impressions with Hank as they happen, when they're fresh, rather than waiting until I get home. Which is where having a global mobile phone comes in handy. With low outgoing rates and no expensive roaming fees, calling home has become an inexpensive indulgence, wherever I am. Better yet, unlike my mobile phone at home, I keep my global phone number private, thus preventing unwanted intrusions from interrupting my escape.
I use the phone to call home and to make and confirm reservations. I leave the number with my travel agent or airline to avoid the type of nasty last minute surprises that unknown flight or itinerary changes can cause. The only thing I pay for is the phone itself, delivery and the calls I make: no restrictive contracts, no hefty service fees.
Traveling with a global mobile phone keeps me as connected, or disconnected, as I want to be.
Mobal World Phones was founded in the UK during the mid-1980s, today, Mobal is a world leader in telecommunications with operations in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific offering travelers a convenient way of making and receiving calls in over 140 countries. There are no monthly access charges, so if you never use the phone there is never a charge. $49.00 (140 countries, but not the US) or $99.00 (160 countries, including the US). 60-day money back guarantee.
Now, National Geographic has entered the communications game with their new Talk Abroad™ Travel Phone, offering coverage in more than 100 countries, low outgoing rates and unlimited free incoming calls in 65 of the world's most frequently traveled countries. $199.00.
Good news for customers of Verizon and Sprint who want to use their phones around the world. Each is introducing a BlackBerry 8830 from Research in Motion that will work both on their current CDMA networks at home as well as on GSM networks nearly everywhere else in the world. Neither company had offered a worldwide solution for their customers other than an older, bulky Samsung model.
Each model resembles the current Cingular and T-Mobile BlackBerry 8800, having the same form factor, keyboard and screen. The Verizon model is silver and the Sprint is black.
Sprint goes one step farther and offers its model unlocked, the first unlocked phone from a major U.S. carrier. That means you can use the phone with SIM cards you purchase locally, saving $1 to $1.50 per minute.
Expect the phones to cost about $200 with a new or renewed contract. The Verizon model is available in May and the Sprint in July.
USE YOUR OWN PHONE:
Already have an international phone but want to take advantage of our inexpensive rates and great coverage?
Get all the benefits of the Mobal World Phone service on your existing GSM cell phone with the Free Mobal World SIM.
No monthly fees, and there never will be!
No minimum usage requirements
Works in over 170 countries*
Keep the same phone number every time you travel
Free technical support and itemized billing
Your GSM phone must be of the correct frequency for each of the countries that you intend to visit.
Click here to learn more.
A National Geographic Talk Abroad International SIM card includes 30 minutes of initial outgoing talk time as well as unlimited free incoming calls in 65 countries and territories. Cost: $79.