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Cellphones

Here is everything you want to know about traveling with cellphones in the United States and worldwide. Cellphone are also known as mobile phones.  Cellphone is spelled as both one word and two (cell phone) but it makes little difference which spelling you use in web searches. This page is divided into the following sections:
 

Click title to go to that section

Description

General Cellphone Resources Websites that have comprehensive information on cellphones and cellphone providers.
Cellphone Buying Guides Advice, ratings and reviews of various cellphone makers and cellphone companies.
Cellphone Stores Web stores that sell cellphones and cellphone accessories.
Cellphone Companies A list of the major cellphone companies in the United States and websites that have comparison shopping information.
Taking U.S. cellphones overseas


 
This will help you decide if you want to take your U.S. cellphone overseas and about your many options for making calls.  Chances are you will either have to have your cell phone modified, or buy or rent one if you want to use a cellphone in other parts of the world.  As far as calling back to the United States and between countries, there are many options to cut your cost of those calls besides using a cellphone. 

See our International Calls Travel Topic for cheap methods to call back to the USA when overseas if you don't have a cellphone.
Renting/Buying an International  Cellphones All about renting or buying an international cellphone.
Using A Cellphone Abroad Links to good websites that explain about using a cellphone in most countries other than the USA.
Camera Cellphone Users What you can and can't take pictures of legally, copyright law, and where to submit pictures or videos from your cellphone to news organizations.
General
 General Cellphone Resources  
Smartphones.  These cellphone are smarter than a regular cellphone but there is no industry standard that defines their features.  However, most smartphones have some sort of operating system so you can download applications and most are WiFi capable and have a web browser. The iPhone is an example of this type of cellphone.  For a good overview of smartphones see the Wikipedia Smartphone article or go to Smartphone.net 
 Wikipedia- Mobile Phones. They use the term "mobile" phones which is more popular that cell phone in many
 countries outside the U.S.  This is an excellent article on cell phones.
 Consumer Reports - Cell Phones and Service.  All about selecting a cellphone and service plans.
 Fodor's - Cellphones.  Here is this well-known travel guide's list of articles on cellphones when traveling.
 
 About.com - Cellphones.  A well-respected website with information on just about everything.
 
Buying
 Cellphone Buying Guides
 These websites offer comprehensive advice, reviews and ratings of cellphone models, cellphone plans and cellphone companies.
WirelessGuide.org.  We especially like this website. They have a good explanation of all aspects of cellphones from makes and models, to cellphone companies and plans and can help you make a wise decision.  They also have the latest news about what is happening in the cellular world. 
CNET Yahoo - Cellphone Buying Guide Letstalk.com Allworldcellphones
MyRatePlan.com Laptop Magazine Cellphone Buyer's Guide Phonedog.com About.com - Cellphones

Epinions Enter the brand name of the cellphone you are interested in to get customer ratings for it.

Stores
 Cellphone Stores
Eight ways they ripe you off at the cellphone store.  An interesting article to read before you visit cellphone stores.
Google - Best Cellphone StoresYou be the judge. Of course there is always Amazon.com.
Companies
 Cellphone Companies
  AT&T owns Cingular, Sprint owns Nextel, MCI and Verizon are together and Voicestream merged with T-Mobile. 
See Taking Your Cellphone Abroad, Renting or Buying an International Cellphone and Using a Cellphone Abroad below.
Here are direct links to the International Plans of some of the major U.S. cell phone company. Also see our Using a Cell Phone Abroad topic below. Sprint and Nextel links take you to Sprint. They have two different places (1, 2) on their website that cover their international plans.
Taking
Taking Your U.S. Cell Phone Abroad
Your cell phone may already be capable of making calls from other countries, or can be modified to do so. Also, all U.S. cell phone companies offer cell phone you can buy that do allow calls from other countries and also offer international cell phone rental plans.   Always talk to a cell phone representative before signing up for anything to make sure you understand the terms and they have answered all your questions. 
 
Consumer Report - Cellphone and International Travel A good overview of the different cellphone systems in the world.
Taking your iPhone overseas?  Be warned! Here are a few articles: iphoneatlas.com and iphonetopic.com
Renting
Renting or Buying an International Cell Phone
Here are some companies, other than your cell phone company, that specialize in renting or selling cell phones that can be used internationally.  Check with your own cell phone company first to see if your phone can be used in the countries you are visiting or can be modified to do so. Also they may have cell phones for rent to take on your trip.  Always comparison shop as rates and features vary widely.
 
How To Communicate Cheaply via Cellphone when Traveling in Europe  Excellent article on your options. Also check out their overview of using a cellphone in Europe.

Google -Renting an International Cell Phone.  Listed below are some of the top companies from their search results.
 
 Most of these companies sell, as well as, rent international cell phones.
Telestial.  We especially like this website. They have a good explanation of international GSM phones and SIM cards and offer both for sale. (We are not an affiliate of them. It is just a beautiful, uncluttered website with easy-to-understand information.)

Planet Omni.com

Mobalrental Cellhire Action Cellular Rent-A-Phone Range Roamer Cellular International
Cellular Aboard RentCell Cellular Express Phone Rentals TravelComm PlanetFone
Using
Using a Cellphone Abroad
Depending on your cell phone model and your cell phone company, you may or may not be able to make calls from other countries outside the United States. Otherwise your choices are to possibly have your cell phone modified, or buying or renting a cell phone that can be used in other countries or use an international "call back to the U.S." calling card from your phone company or some other company that offers that option.   
 
The Travel Insider - International Cell Phone Service  This is the best and most comprehensive information we have found on international cell phone service.  It was originally published in 2002 but updated in January 2007 the last time we checked. It may have been updated again by now.  Also see their companion article on GSM Cell Phone Unlocking FAQ and Unlock your GSM Cell Phone.
 
ConsumerSearch.com - Cell Phone Plans. Use your browser Find on this page feature and enter the words-  international compatibility.  This will take you to their excellent discussion of GSM versus CDMA systems.
 
Mobalrental - The Six Most Popular Ways to Call Home When Traveling.  They will send you this free guide via email. It tells you all about using your cell phone when abroad.
 
Consumer Reports - Cell Phone overview.  Use your browser Edit on this page option and enter digital network.  This will take you to a good description about the competing worldwide networks and what it means to you as a traveler.
 
USA Today - Travelers Can Find Far-Reaching Cell Phones. May 2005  A good article and, except for the pricing, it is generally current information.
 
Using Your Cell Phone Overseas. Some additional insights into using your cell phone overseas and the use of SIM cards and unlocking them.
 
Camera

Camera Cellphone Users

Our Travel Photography topic talks about the following aspects of taking cellphone pictures:
Legally Speaking.  What is the law about taking pictures and videos with your cellphone camera including copyright law.
News Pictures and Videos.  So you were present at an event that you think is news-worthy.  You may submit your pictures or videos to news organizations. 
 
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