Hotel phones notoriously have outrageous rates and hidden charges. Public phone booths have almost completely disappeared.

Mobile Phones

Travellers can easily purchase prepaid mobile phones (from £20/€30) or SIM cards (from £5/€10). GSM phones can be used throughout Western Europe. Mobile shops are everywhere.

You can bring your mobile phone from home and buy a local SIM card to enjoy cheap local calling rates if it is both unlocked and compatible with European GSM networks. Check first.

A great option is a Toggle ( multicountry SIM card. It allows you to have up to nine numbers in countries across much of Europe, allowing calls, text and data at local rates, plus you receive free incoming calls in some 20 countries. Purchase SIMs online or at certain phone shops; topping up online is easy.

If you plan to use your mobile phone from home:

  • Check international roaming rates in advance; often they are very expensive.
  • Check roaming fees for data/internet usage; smartphone users can get socked with huge fees. You may be able to buy a data package to limit your costs.