Should I take a cellphone on tour, even if I don’t plan to use it to make calls while in Europe?
Yes. Even if you don’t plan to make calls or texts while abroad, you will want it at the airport before we leave, and to call home after we arrive back in the US.
If you have a smartphone, you will be able to use the WiFi features (email, messaging, etc.) when there is WiFi service. Apps like WhatsApp and Viber are excellent ways to communicate with people back home. These will also work if you have a data plan, but be very careful – some data plans are VERY EXPENSIVE!
You can also use it as your camera, but make sure you have enough memory, as you will be taking many, many pictures. If that is your plan, be sure to transfer all the photos currently on your phone to a computer or a hard drive, and then delete them from your phone so that you have enough memory to store your new photos.
IMPORTANT: Using a cell phone in Europe can be EXPENSIVE and distracting. You are spending a lot of money to visit and see new things. It would be a shame to miss seeing the alps or not to meet new friends on the bus because you were playing a game on your phone for the entire tour. Use it sparingly (unless you are taking pictures). Enjoy every moment of the trip!