Mobile Phone Coverage In Europe: A Few Answers

My old-model Droid didn't work in Europe.

My family vacation this year is to Europe (in fact, our three-week trip is one explanation for why the posts on 200kfreelancer might be a little thin for a while).

The lands of castles and scones, kilts and chocolate (we’re going to England, Scotland and Belgium) are beckoning. My preparations for the trip included getting a fair amount of work done early, so that I could take a real, entire week off.

But I still needed to be available for the people I’m working for, and for any phone calls from new clients that come in. Here are the steps I took to make sure I’d be able to receive calls:

• Not all smart phones work in Europe. So first, we had to ascertain whether my original-model Droid (about three years old now) would. That required a call to my carrier, Verizon. It doesn’t. Apparently, some mobile phones work in Europe and others do not.

• Verizon does, however, rent phones to you that do work. The company sent me a Blackberry via mail that is mine for two weeks. It’s even possible to download contact information from your old phone to the cloud, and then into your new phone, though that didn’t work with my particular Droid. (Three years old is just to ancient for that).

•  Once we had the hardware in line, we turned our attention to the plan. For $50 ($25 for two weeks), I was able to get a data plan that approximated my monthly usage, which isn’t high.

• Where does this leave me with the actual phone calls? Well, they cost $1 a minute. No way to avoid that expense. So I sent an email to my clients, telling them that I was available by mobile but would prefer email or Skype contacts.

Jonathan Blum, another well-traveled freelancer, suggested that if Verizon hadn’t been able to set me up with a phone and a plan, that I buy a pre-paid phone in Europe and send the contact info to the people who might need me.

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