Phone companies: Global data plan with Verizon 100 megabytes of data for $25/month (cannot be pro-rated). This is okay for sending emails but not for photos or for video calls
TMobile’s “simple choice” plan: $50/month unlimited talk, text, data on home network and in more than 100 countries at no extra cost. PLUS there is no annual contract. With this plan phone calls to the US are 20 cents/minute and to landlines in some countries are free.
T-Mobile also sells high-speed data passes: $15 for a one-day 100megabyte pass, $50 for a 14-day 500 megabyte pass.
You can buy a SIM card which gets inserted into your phone to get a local phone number and local calling charges. Be careful—often the instructions on how to use it are in a different language! Your phone has to be “unlocked” in order to do this by your carrier, or you can buy an unlocked phone through amazon for under $50. Plus anyone who calls you with the new local number will get charged international rates if they are not in the country you are traveling through.
Hot spots: Turn off your data roaming and buy an umlimited pass for citywide WiFi. For example Boingo gives one-month unlimited mobile WI-FI access for two devices at more than 700,000 hot spots across the globe for $7.95. You can do this for as many months as you would like, with no cancellation fee. You can get city maps with hot spots at Boingo.com
With this free Wi-Fi you can make free voice calls (download Skype on your phone) and text for free with WhatsApp.
In some cities such as Paris, you can find free hot spots so that you don’t need a Wi-Fi pass. You can find them with an app like Free Wi-Fi Finder, which you can use even if your data roaming is turned off.\
**Don’t forget however that free public Wi-Fi leaves you open to cyber attacks.** So never use Internet browsers to log onto Gmail, Yahoo or Facebook. Use the apps directly instead.