While most travelers today feel helpless anywhere without their handheld mobile communications device, ordering an international roaming rate from your regular cell phone provider for overseas use can get expensive. A popular alternative is the rental from an international mobile service of a GSM (Global System Mobile) phone with a prepaid SIM card to go with it. The SIM card allows you to give out your phone number to friends and family prior to travel to receive inexpensive inbound calls and store the information just as on your normal phone. Cards can be programmed to allow local calls within one country or within multiple countries. Once you buy the SIM card you can keep the stored information after you get home and transfer the same card and phone number to another GSM phone rental the next time you need to travel overseas.
Two popular services that offer the GSM phone rentals and SIM cards are Mobal International, based in New York, and Cellular Abroad Inc., based in Playa del Rey, CA which markets its cellular services to travelers through the National Geographic "Talk Abroad" program. Both companies promise to offer substantial savings for the traveler when receiving international calls overseas and calling within their foreign destinations compared to the major cell phone providers. WiFi and data texting services are available. One tip offered by cost-saving experts on GSM phones is to send an inexpensive text message to your calling party in the U.S. telling them when to call the traveler. Taking calls overseas from the U.S. with the GSM phones takes advantage of unlimited inbound calling plans on many GSM rentals and prepaid SIM cards. You can get in touch with Mobal International here.