Phone Cards – Long Distance Calling Plans – Emails
Can students purchase calling cards over in Europe or should I do it here?
Alert: the calling cards you’ll find here on our shelves – even those declaring that they’re “international” – are almost all lacking in convenience when it comes to making calls from Europe back to the states. Many advertise a specific number of minutes, but calling from there to here (accessing the #11 country code) chews up minutes before you can even speak! A “100-minute” card purchased here sometimes might give you only a third of that! Some of our staff members strongly recommend www.pennytalk.com. Others have purchased “MCI International” cards at BJ’s Wholesale Club (if you can find one of those); for one of our Staff members, this single card worked very well for three years in a row.
Solid advice, however, is to simply get a calling card when we arrive in Europe. There are many, many shops in most of the places we’ll visit, and calling cards are quick and easy to get. Those will work more conveniently for calling from Europe back to the states.
Calling TO Europe: the Itinerary you’ll receive at check-in will list all of the hotels & their phone numbers (reminder ~ please don’t try to pre-arrange calls on specific dates & times; that almost never works, and can lead to frustration).
Call your phone company and ask about an international calling plan. It is usually under $20/month – you can usually set it up just for the time your child is on tour, and it can literally save you several hundred dollars!
By the way, e-mail has become a great way to communicate: more than half of the places we’ll visit have internet cafes, and students can pay (it’s not expensive) for a half-hour, or hour, of computer time. Note: the keyboards are NOT all set up in the typical “QWERTY” orientation! Be prepared for some very slow hunt-and-peck!
Finally, remember that FAXes to our hotels are fun for students, and bring “a little bit of home” to the breakfast or dinner table. (Fax numbers will also be found on the Itinerary)