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 Cell phone/SIM card/common travellers questions...

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Standard Procedure
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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 11:10 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

As many of you know, I'll be leaving for Europe in under 2 weeks, and I was wondering if there's anywhere in London and other major European cities where I can buy a SIM card for my cell phone.

Also, for those that live in Toronto, does anyone know anywhere where I can get my cell phone unlocked to use the foreign SIM card, or does anyone generally know of any software where I can unlock my phone (It's an old Motorola V220).

Finally, I was wondering how much of a hassle traveller's cheques are because I'm seriously thinking about using those when I leave soon...

Thanks for your answers and help!

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Dark Spirit
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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 11:15 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Where in Europe? I mean East or West? and simcards are available in every country in Europe.
I am in Eastern Europe and here the traveller cheques are not a big problem but some places do not deal with them.
the unlock codes for motorola are available on the net if you goolge for them, I unlocked a motorola v60 a while back using codes from the net.

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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 11:27 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I'm going to be in Western Europe for this duration. I'm looking for any sort of prepaid CC that could be loaded up with Euros where I am as well. I've checked with Visa, but they don't have anything that'll work for me...

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Dark Spirit
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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 11:32 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

No problem, just go to a phone shop and buy prepaid sim and if you have travellers cheques or euros it all good in western Europe.

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God himself wii judge you for trying to delay and make someones life a waste, Mother felicia, April 30th 2007
Thanks very much for fooling me ok and i dont have any other thing to say, Helimina Bright, May 1st 2007
Pleasantly, that we have understanding and continue intercourse, Elena USSR vlad, May 1st 2007
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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 11:37 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Will there be a problem with using American Express vs. Visa traveller's cheques or anything like that?

Say I want a bit of cash in my pocket, where can I go to have them cashed? Also, would I be charged if I wanted it cashed as well?

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Dark Spirit
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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 11:42 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

American express, Visa, ETC no worries all accepted, wow I sounded like a lad then Laughing

As for cashing the cheques, almost anywhere will cash them for you and yes some places to deduct a small charge and that can vary from place to place, but the banks will do it happily too, and again charges will vary but not anything to worry about

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DARKNESS IS A PLACE WHERE ONLY FEAR LIVES. Oh and me too Smile

God himself wii judge you for trying to delay and make someones life a waste, Mother felicia, April 30th 2007
Thanks very much for fooling me ok and i dont have any other thing to say, Helimina Bright, May 1st 2007
Pleasantly, that we have understanding and continue intercourse, Elena USSR vlad, May 1st 2007
"read the stickies and the faqs." Newbie forum
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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 11:49 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Don't I have to have an account with a bank to be able to cash traveller's cheques (God, I sound like a total noob)?

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Dark Spirit
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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 11:54 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

No, travellers cheques are accepted all over, interestingly I was in Toronto a while back and I cashed mine in banks and shops there

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DARKNESS IS A PLACE WHERE ONLY FEAR LIVES. Oh and me too Smile

God himself wii judge you for trying to delay and make someones life a waste, Mother felicia, April 30th 2007
Thanks very much for fooling me ok and i dont have any other thing to say, Helimina Bright, May 1st 2007
Pleasantly, that we have understanding and continue intercourse, Elena USSR vlad, May 1st 2007
"read the stickies and the faqs." Newbie forum
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it wasn't me
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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2007 12:00 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Hotels, banks, travel agents should all cash your check without a problem. I would highly recommend using travellers cheques as if anything goes wrong, you get your money back.

Visa do a thing called 'Prezzy visa' (Or something like that) I got one for my daughter for xmas, you chuck some cash on it and can spend it exactly like you would a normal visa card. Once you've spent it though, you can't top it up and I'm not sure if there's a maximum on it.

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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2007 12:23 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Thanks for the info people!

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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2007 3:58 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

it wasn't me wrote:
Hotels, banks, travel agents should all cash your check without a problem.


In the UK, would a post office cash travellers cheques? I've never needed to cash travellers cheques in Britain, so I don't know. But the larger post offices do have places for changing 'funny' foreign money. They might change your travellers cheques. For some reason they're called 'bureau de change' as in the French.

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kleindoofy
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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2007 4:36 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

@SP

I can appreciate your concerns - in this and the last thread -, but once you get going I thing you'll find out that your trip is going to be much easier than you can imagine at the moment.

Actually, the most difficult part will probably be getting to the airport and checking in for your flight out of Canada. Not because it's Canada, but because it's always that way, not matter where you start. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2007 6:20 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Thanks for the encouragement Klein! It's the first time that I'm travelling alone, literally! I've travelled alone before, but it was with school and friends and people I'm not in any way related to, this time it's plane, tour and sight-seeing all on my own!

Plus, I wasn't sure how trusted traveller's cheques were trusted on the other side of the pond. I guess I've been hanging around on the Eater too long to get paranoid about anything Very Happy

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Eight
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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2007 6:35 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

If you are in a very touristy location, like London, some of the major shops will accept travellers' cheques as payment, but your best bet is exchanging them at any bank, building society, or the Post Office. American Express do a card that you can load with credit in advance, or at least they do here in the UK, for use overseas. Amex is widely accepted here, but then so is any Visa card. There are very few places in the UK or Europe these days that don't take a credit card of some kind. However, you will still need for the UK. The places that will accept Euros here will have you on the exchange rate. Rolling Eyes

And you really will be fine. Very Happy

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jefflebowski
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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2007 7:22 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Pay as you go Sim cards are quite cheap, if you only want one for a couple of weeks, try the Supermarket Tescos, they sell their own brand Tesco Sim cards for 4.95, most of the UK networks send out free sims every now and then but not sure if they send them abroad.

Virgin Mobile send out free sim cards loaded with 5 of credit if you can get them, they only release a few thousand at a time and they go quick, I have about half a dozen here.

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rockhopper
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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2007 9:26 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Is your phone dual or tri band? I know if we go to the US (not sure about Canada) then we need a tri band phone to make it work as the US use a different frequency band to those used in Europe.
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fistymus
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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2007 10:10 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

You can get your phone unlocked in the UK on arrival at a multitude of phone shops for about 7-10GBP (V220 very easy to unlock with a motorola box)

Sim cards can be bought from same places for about 5 for a pay as you go, and they will also do "roaming" allowing you to use them in the rest of Euroland (As long as you get in touch with the provider once you have your SIM)

And you can setup the SIM to allow payment via a cc
otherwise they all come with a swipe "topup" card that lets you add credit from a lot of outlets.

Most providers on Pay as you Go in the UK have deals along the lines of 10-15 top up gets you 50-120 free minutes + your 10-15 worth of calls once minutes are used up.

Oh yes, almost forgot, while on the subject of Tesco, most supermarkets atc have pay as you go phones from about 25 complete with a pay as you go SIM included. So if you struggle with the v220 then you can always pick up a cheap dual band phone.
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it wasn't me
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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2007 10:20 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

@SP - Years ago, I went off to travel the world on my own and was very frightened before I left, at one point I wanted to cancel the whole trip I was so nervous, but then held my breath and went for it.
I had the most fantastic time and would recommend to anyone to go travelling on their own. You meet some of the most wonderful people, people you wouldn't normally meet if you were wrapped up in a travelling companion!
As with anything, keep your wits about you, but trust me, you will have a ball x

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PostPosted: Sat May 12, 2007 11:00 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I love people! Smile

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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2007 1:23 am Reply with quoteBack to top

If you've got an ATM card you should be able to use it to get local currency out at any location, but check with your bank first as to charges.
My daughter used a Visa credit card in NY ( but I'm main cardholder, go figure) and didnt get charged extra for using it.
In the UK most big towns will have banks, building societies, post offices that will change currency/cheques, in fact you'll find such places at most airports ( but their exchange rate may be not too brilliant)
My daughter going to travel Eastern Europe this summer and will rely on her ATM and visa credit card rather than changing travellers cheques to euros,? krona ? zloty etc etc (not all of the Eastern Europe states use Euros, neither does the UK )
In the Uk we are still on pounds and pence whereas most of Western Europe,( including Eire) are on Euros

Go for it and have fun

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I'm sure if you're in Europe/UK and get stuck, put out an appeal on eater and someone will help.
You will help, wont you folks??
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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2007 2:10 am Reply with quoteBack to top

coronalight wrote:
I love people! Smile


Smile Soylent Green Coronalight? Laughing
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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2007 3:43 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Wow! What a wealth of information you guys have provided! This is my first trip alone, and this is the first trip I've mostly paid for out of my own pocket (My parents supplying the other half of the cost for my 20th birthday)! I just want to say that you guys are really making my life easier with your own personal experiences because I'm racking my nerves trying to get my house in order and waiting for my final marks! I wouldn't say I'm nervous to be going alone, but it's a different feeling.

I just wanted to update as well because I have looked at my itinerary again, and I saw that having a cellphone with me would only be extra. I'm always in a group, and there's all sorts of procedures and other things to not get lost (As if that's going to ever happen!). Anyhow, I have received good advice from all of you about the cellphone and pay as you go plans that are in Europe, and I'm planning to return to Europe soon, probably for a career or graduate school in a few years time!

I have decided to use traveller's cheques, and having my cc on hand just in case. I'm only going to be in the UK for an afternoon and an evening, so I have decided to have ~30 pounds in my pocket, just for food and the tube. Is that enough, too little or too much?

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it wasn't me
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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2007 4:20 am Reply with quoteBack to top

^^^Depends where in the UK you're gonna be.
30pounds for London for dinner breakfast and lunch, no chance, unless you have chips, chips and more chips with nothing to drink.
Any other part of the country, 30 pounds should be fine, but If I were you I'd get 50.
unless you don't drink.
And of course that's as long as breakfast isn't included. If it is, 40.
Am I making sense?

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Do not be sceptical be pessimistic - Lotto scam.
I just don't know how to express the gravy of my happiness. - Barrister M Abd0lla
you nose i have been away in the middly east. -Ali Al1

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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2007 11:56 am Reply with quoteBack to top

That's good to know IWM. I think I'll call up my friends and ask to have dinner with them when I get there!

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PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2007 12:40 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Just remember not to drink the water Laughing

If you're consuming alcohol, the watch out for the soft southern pint, it's like a ghost: headless.
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