Author Topic: Budget travelers: Phone calls from public phones (booth)  (Read 1217 times)

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Offline BikeFreak

Budget travelers: Phone calls from public phones (booth)
« on: February 09, 2013, 06:37:54 pm »
Hi,

This is just a bit of info for those going budget:

Back in 2000 when I did my first cross country solo tour I used public phones to call relatives. That worked very well. Last summer (2012) I did another cross country tour and was not able to make any public phone calls any more, because:

1. Most public phones were removed
2. If a public phone was present, it did not work

I was only able to make phone calls because local people out of kindness let me use their phone.

Now, some people might ask why I did not carry a cell phone: I'm from Europe and I'm not interested in:

1. Buying a brand new US phone on arrival - and waist my time on that instead of cycling  :)
2. Using my own European cell which becomes crazy expensive to use.

plus, you need tri-band.

Lucas

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Budget travelers: Phone calls from public phones (booth)
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2013, 10:57:07 am »
FWIW, many of the big-box stores will happily sell you a pre-paid cell phone at a pretty reasonable price.  Walk in to a Walmart, Target, or Best Buy, to name a few, plunk down $100, walk out with a cell phone and a couple hundred minutes.  Most are either big-name (Verizon, AT&T), or use the big-name networks.

Offline BikeFreak

Re: Budget travelers: Phone calls from public phones (booth)
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2013, 05:33:19 pm »
Can you do this without leaving any home address, social security number etc?

Lucas

Offline indyfabz

Re: Budget travelers: Phone calls from public phones (booth)
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2013, 08:13:56 am »
During Cycle Oregon last year we stayed two nights in Ashland. There, we saw an honest-to-goodness phone both. The door was missing, but the rest was in tact an working.

Offline DaveB

Re: Budget travelers: Phone calls from public phones (booth)
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2013, 08:59:56 am »
Those no-contract, prepaid phones are very reasonable.  You can buy a selected number of minutes or buy unlimited minutes for a defined time period like 30 days. They are by far the cheapest way to get a US cell phone for a limited period of time. 

Offline mucknort

Re: Budget travelers: Phone calls from public phones (booth)
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2013, 12:47:11 pm »
Yes, as someone that grew up B.C. ( Before Computers or Before Cell phones) I also lament the demise of pay phones.

But, as mentioned, the cheapest/most simple option is to buy a Pre-paid phone/minutes. There are many available, but I have been very happy with Tracfone. They are available online or from many U.S. department stores. A basic phone costs around $20 and then you buy a minutes/time length card. Typically they give you 90 days of usage and 60 or 120 or 200 minutes of talk time. If you use up your talk time (or your usage time) you just buy another card for more time/minutes. The cards cost from $20 to $40 and you can get bonus minutes if you google "tracfone promo codes". If you are traveling from outside of the US, they don't ask for any personal or citizenship questions. Pretty simple and I found their coverage is very good over most of the U.S..

http://www.tracfone.com/get_a_tracfone.jsp
http://www.google.com/#hl=en&sugexp=les%3B&gs_rn=2&gs_ri=hp&cp=11&gs_id=16&xhr=t&q=tracfone+promo+codes&es_nrs=true&pf=p&tbo=d&sclient=psy-ab&oq=tracfone+pr&gs_l=&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&bvm=bv.42261806,d.dmQ&fp=b10553b1cd972faf&biw=1373&bih=855
« Last Edit: February 12, 2013, 12:49:24 pm by mucknort »

Offline BobG

Re: Budget travelers: Phone calls from public phones (booth)
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2013, 05:18:36 pm »
I've had good luck and good coverage with Tracfone also. Study their phone choices carefully. I bought the LG800 that includes triple minutes for the life of the phone ($20, 60 minute time purchase buys 180 minutes, etc...) without looking up a promotion code.

Offline mucknort

Re: Budget travelers: Phone calls from public phones (booth)
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2013, 03:05:45 pm »
I've had good luck and good coverage with Tracfone also. Study their phone choices carefully. I bought the LG800 that includes triple minutes for the life of the phone ($20, 60 minute time purchase buys 180 minutes, etc...) without looking up a promotion code.

The LG800 is my current phone. It works great and I love the triple minutes. Looking up a promotion code always gives 30-60 minutes of additional minutes.