Purchasing a cell phone in Italy

Has anyone purchased a disposable cell phone upon arrival in Italy? We will arrive in Milan on 8/13 and would like to have the ability to make dinner reservations, etc.


  • There is article on Rick Steve's website about SIM cards and prepaid phones.
  • edited July 2015
    Surely the concierge at the hotel can make dinner reservations for you? Once the tour begins, your tour director will also help with booking noneTauck included dinner reservations.
    Purchasing a cell phone----on our recent independent trip to England and Spain, we called AT and T and arranged a one month upgrade for international phone and data, it cost $30 and worked well for all our communications.
  • habu wrote:
    Has anyone purchased a disposable cell phone upon arrival in Italy? We will arrive in Milan on 8/13 and would like to have the ability to make dinner reservations, etc.

    You should keep your celphone and buy a simple prepaid SIM card then you can save your money ^^
  • You need to have a cell phone that is unlocked to replace the sim card and make sure you same contacts to phone not the existing sim card if want to call home.
  • I agree with the folks who said to buy a phone ahead of your trip and just get a SIM in Italy. The phone should be a quad-band GSM phone and UNLOCKED. Cheap used phones can be bought on EBAY.
  • I don't know which carrier you use, but Verizon has several plans to be used with minutes and texts. Most phones today are dual and can be used in Europe. Your provider will tell you what you have to do to unlock your phone. I have an iPhone 6s and it works well here. No extra phones, no extra SIM cards, no extra bills or prepayments that you may or may not use all of. I am pretty sure all of the major providers have plans for international calling on smart phones.
  • edited July 2015
    There must be some out of date information out there about phone compatibility. As I already posted, use your regular phone and just get a one month international plan. With this, I was able to call and text my British friends and my husband who was in the UK and Spain with me but using his regular American phone--- we spent a lot of the time apart, so were texting and calling each other with no problems. Our calls were short, so it barely amounted to any significant charges. As Ndvb says, SIM cards and extra phones are not necessary. On a regular Tauck tour I never even turn my cell phone on but use my iPad to text and email, even in Africa you are rarely without wifi for long and trying to find time to make a phone call to the U.S. When you are not going to be waking someone in the middle of the night because of time changes is a major headache I would think. Even from Europe, the five or six hour time difference is a challenge when Tauck have a no cell phones rule, which I heartily approve of!
    I notice there has been no feedback from 'habu' to say whether he/she has found any of this discussion useful or not.
  • British-

    Sounds like your short term international roaming plan is great for you. However, this option is not available from all carriers.

  • Thanks for all the responses. Our phone is stupid (not-Smart) and our prepaid Verizon plan does not allow purchasing any international minutes. I like the idea of waiting until we meet the tour director and seeking his or her advice. Although we do not know the exact times some of the on-us lunches will be scheduled I think I will make lunch reservations via the web before we leave guessing what time will be appropriate and then changing the res if necessary when we arrive.

    Thanks again.
  • If you're using an Apple product (iPhone, iPad, etc.), IMessages sent through wifi go everywhere with no charges to you and are just pretty darned slick. You can send photos, short videos, etc. without a problem and it's like being able to chat for free. We enjoyed using this feature throughout our tour in May and were delighted to see no charges on our phone bill when we returned. And -- at least it was our experience with our oh so wonderful tour director -- he would make dinner reservations for us whenever we wished. As well as offering some terrific suggestions about great places to dine!
  • I love my food, but sometimes there is so much food on a Tauck tour that I barely have room to eat much for lunch at all.
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