Need burner phone for wife traveling in Italy

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Vanrnr
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Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2016 10:08 am

Need burner phone for wife traveling in Italy

Post by Vanrnr » Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:35 am

Regards to all. My wife is traveling to Italy in two weeks with a group but will have a few days by herself. I would like her to purchase a cheap “Walmart” phone with a service that would allow her to text me in the US should she need to contact me. We’ve travelled several times to Europe and I know it’s easy to buy a phone, but she’s not the most technically-oriented person, and could easily be swayed into buying a phone that doesn’t include US texting, or that would be exorbitantly expense to text the US with. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.

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Watty
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Re: Need burner phone for wife traveling in Italy

Post by Watty » Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:42 am

Vanrnr wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:35 am
Regards to all. My wife is traveling to Italy in two weeks with a group but will have a few days by herself. I would like her to purchase a cheap “Walmart” phone with a service that would allow her to text me in the US should she need to contact me. We’ve travelled several times to Europe and I know it’s easy to buy a phone, but she’s not the most technically-oriented person, and could easily be swayed into buying a phone that doesn’t include US texting, or that would be exorbitantly expense to text the US with. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.
If she already has a smartphone then the roaming can be turned off and she can just use WiFi to email or skype you when she is at her hotel or some other wifi hotspot.

Just FYI, if she does decide to buy a phone there then(as I recall) in Italy you have to show your passport to buy one.

bob60014
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Re: Need burner phone for wife traveling in Italy

Post by bob60014 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:46 am

If she has a smartphone just use the wi-fi and WhatsApp. Also check with her current provider as just have international packages available. Why go through the hassle of a new phone?

dcabler
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Re: Need burner phone for wife traveling in Italy

Post by dcabler » Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:53 am

She can always take her current phone but buy a pre-paid SIM card over there and swap the current one out till she gets back home. Usually cheaper than a new phone. She'll have a different phone number while she's over there, but as long as everybody knows that, it usually work out fine.

renue74
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Re: Need burner phone for wife traveling in Italy

Post by renue74 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:00 am

We went to Italy a couple years ago. We used wifi a lot for iMessages....but we also had Verizon turn on a $40 international plan for 1 month.

Worked great. No issues.

I would contact my your current provider and check with them first.

ssquared87
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Re: Need burner phone for wife traveling in Italy

Post by ssquared87 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:25 am

T-Mobile let’s you text and use the internet for free internationally, no plan upgrades or roaming charges apply. I just take my phone with me and use it like I would normally use it. No need for an additional phone or upgraded plan

Luke Duke
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Re: Need burner phone for wife traveling in Italy

Post by Luke Duke » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:31 am

bob60014 wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:46 am
If she has a smartphone just use the wi-fi and WhatsApp. Also check with her current provider as just have international packages available. Why go through the hassle of a new phone?
This. WhatsApp and GroupMe are a couple of app-based texting options.

HoosierJim
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Re: Need burner phone for wife traveling in Italy

Post by HoosierJim » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:34 am

Does anybody have any burner suggestions per the OP request? I do boating, kayaking, canoeing and have been sealing my phone in zip lock bags but would hate to lose an expensive phone. Burner would be great for emergency usage only. Any suggestions?

bloom2708
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Re: Need burner phone for wife traveling in Italy

Post by bloom2708 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:37 am

HoosierJim wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:34 am
Does anybody have any burner suggestions per the OP request? I do boating, kayaking, canoeing and have been sealing my phone in zip lock bags but would hate to lose an expensive phone. Burner would be great for emergency usage only. Any suggestions?
Go to eBay and buy a Blu android for ~$50. Sign in. Swap the SIM card from your good phone to the cheap phone when needed.

Search for "Blu android" and you get many new options for $50 (under and over).
"We are not here to please, but to provoke thoughtfulness." --Unknown Boglehead

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lthenderson
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Re: Need burner phone for wife traveling in Italy

Post by lthenderson » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:41 am

HoosierJim wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:34 am
I do boating, kayaking, canoeing and have been sealing my phone in zip lock bags but would hate to lose an expensive phone. Burner would be great for emergency usage only. Any suggestions?
When I go kayaking, I put my smart phone in a dry bag made especially for phones. They are much more robust than a zip lock bag and I've been underwater many times without a single drop leaking into it. They are much cheaper than buying a burner phone.

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lthenderson
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Re: Need burner phone for wife traveling in Italy

Post by lthenderson » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:43 am

Vanrnr wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:35 am
Regards to all. My wife is traveling to Italy in two weeks with a group but will have a few days by herself. I would like her to purchase a cheap “Walmart” phone with a service that would allow her to text me in the US should she need to contact me. We’ve travelled several times to Europe and I know it’s easy to buy a phone, but she’s not the most technically-oriented person, and could easily be swayed into buying a phone that doesn’t include US texting, or that would be exorbitantly expense to text the US with. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.
These days, I just enable an international plan for the duration of the trip. Before when those were much more expensive than they are now, I would buy a prepaid SIM card and just swap cards for the duration of the trip. If you don't expect to make a lot of calls while on the road during the daytime, like other said, just use wifi at the hotel in the evening or at cafes during meals.

lazydavid
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Re: Need burner phone for wife traveling in Italy

Post by lazydavid » Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:50 am

bloom2708 wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:37 am
Go to eBay and buy a Blu android for ~$50. Sign in. Swap the SIM card from your good phone to the cheap phone when needed.

Search for "Blu android" and you get many new options for $50 (under and over).
Blu has been caught multiple times preloading malware on their phones. I would never consider using any of their devices.

mrb09
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Re: Need burner phone for wife traveling in Italy

Post by mrb09 » Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:52 pm

We were in Italy a few months ago. I forwarded our mobile numbers to google voice, and that lets us send and receive texts but not receive incoming voice calls. I don't get a lot of incoming texts, so that worked for me. You can also just shut off cellular and turn it back on for emergency use.

Did use wifi a lot, including whatsapp for communication with friends, had data roaming shut off but had enough wifi spots to make that work.

I used to swap SIMs for travel but haven't done that in years.

WhiteMaxima
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Re: Need burner phone for wife traveling in Italy

Post by WhiteMaxima » Thu Sep 13, 2018 12:56 pm

T-Mobile. 25c/min call and 3G free data in Europe.

criticalmass
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Re: Need burner phone for wife traveling in Italy

Post by criticalmass » Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:31 pm

Vanrnr wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:35 am
Regards to all. My wife is traveling to Italy in two weeks with a group but will have a few days by herself. I would like her to purchase a cheap “Walmart” phone with a service that would allow her to text me in the US should she need to contact me. We’ve travelled several times to Europe and I know it’s easy to buy a phone, but she’s not the most technically-oriented person, and could easily be swayed into buying a phone that doesn’t include US texting, or that would be exorbitantly expense to text the US with. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.
Any cheap unlocked phone should do, preferably Android so you can use google voice.

If you have existing T-Mobile postpaid service, you can take an existing phone (or new phone with same SIM card installed) and you will have free (moderate speed) Data. Combine that with a free google voice account, WhatsApp, Skype, etc. and now you can text for free.

Google voice app on an android phone is probably the most simple to use for texts, and sends real phone company SMS texts, so the other party needs to install nothing.

If you want to get a local Italian number SIM, look into a service like Rebelfone and obtain before departure. This can be much more cost effective than using a USA phone line with international roaming. You will know her Italian phone number prior to her leaving. http://www.rebelfone.com/italy-sim-cards.aspx
Note that a local Italian number SIM card receives text and calls for free, regardless of its source.

It is a pain for USA visitors to get a SIM card in Italy, in my experience partly due to government restrictions.

Thesaints
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Re: Need burner phone for wife traveling in Italy

Post by Thesaints » Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:38 pm

This may only make sense if one travels often to Europe, but I do and I simply purchased a local SIM (does not really matter which country within the EU) associated to a prepaid plan.
As soon as I land I switch sims and, presto, I have a cheap local number.

MathWizard
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Re: Need burner phone for wife traveling in Italy

Post by MathWizard » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:38 pm

When my wife came along on a business trip, we bought two really cheap phones in France just to make sure we could reach each other to meet up. If you by them in the country, you kniw they will work there.

Last year in the UK, I just used my Google Fi. It works as is in over 150 countries. Calls to the US don't cost anything, but do cost a few cents per minute on cell. Data costs the same as in the US, $10/GB based on use.

I really like the international feature if the Fi. My wife is thinking of getting one as well.

jalbert
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Re: Need burner phone for wife traveling in Italy

Post by jalbert » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:47 pm

Vanrnr wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:35 am
Regards to all. My wife is traveling to Italy in two weeks with a group but will have a few days by herself. I would like her to purchase a cheap “Walmart” phone with a service that would allow her to text me in the US should she need to contact me. We’ve travelled several times to Europe and I know it’s easy to buy a phone, but she’s not the most technically-oriented person, and could easily be swayed into buying a phone that doesn’t include US texting, or that would be exorbitantly expense to text the US with. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.
If she has an LTE-capable phone, she probably already can do this. Check with the telecom provider if there is a charge for texts or a need to enable an int’l plan. I think all 4 major carriers may offer free texting over LTE from Europe. Voice may have a per minute charge without an int’l calling plan.
Risk is not a guarantor of return.

Vanrnr
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Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2016 10:08 am

Re: Need burner phone for wife traveling in Italy

Post by Vanrnr » Fri Sep 14, 2018 4:39 am

Thank you all for the helpful responses.

mc7
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Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 3:03 pm

Re: Need burner phone for wife traveling in Italy

Post by mc7 » Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:37 pm

LG Nexus (solid generic Android!) and Google Fi (great service in Europe!). I have one sitting around, pretty good condition except for one stuck pixel (looks like one tiny fleck on screen). Send private message if interested.

TravelforFun
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Re: Need burner phone for wife traveling in Italy

Post by TravelforFun » Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:13 pm

I rent a TEP hotspot when I go overseas. $9 a day and 5 devices can connect to it so may be she can get some of her friends to share . I have AT&T and they charge $10 a day for international plan.

TravelforFun

Trism
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Re: Need burner phone for wife traveling in Italy

Post by Trism » Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:20 pm

lazydavid wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:50 am
bloom2708 wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:37 am
Go to eBay and buy a Blu android for ~$50. Sign in. Swap the SIM card from your good phone to the cheap phone when needed.

Search for "Blu android" and you get many new options for $50 (under and over).
Blu has been caught multiple times preloading malware on their phones. I would never consider using any of their devices.
I've had two of their awful phones (slow learner) for temporary use on international travel, and had issues with both downloading useless apps automatically and with ads on the lock screen that appeared out of nowhere that I couldn't make go away.

Stay far away.

NextMil
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Re: Need burner phone for wife traveling in Italy

Post by NextMil » Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:02 pm

Show her how to swap the SIM card, and have her buy a prepaid Italian SIM card at the airport upon arrival. Or go to T-Mobile and buy their one month prepaid international SIM card. Latter would probably be a lot easier, but either way she should learn how to install a SIM card.

AlphaLess
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Location: Kentucky

Re: Need burner phone for wife traveling in Italy

Post by AlphaLess » Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:34 pm

Why buy a phone?
Any number of other options would work:
- use your existing phone, and only use it with WiFi,
- your your existing phone, with a local sim (needs unlocking of your phone),
"You can get more with a kind word and a gun than with just a kind word." George Washington

Reubin
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Re: Need burner phone for wife traveling in Italy

Post by Reubin » Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:34 pm

I have AT&T and use their international unlimited plan all around the world. At $10 for any 24 hour period it provides you with unlimited calling, internet and texting. And you just use your own phone. Really convenient.

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